Boz Skaggs, John Coltrane and A Toddler

DSC_8532 *

Brent has this theory that Toto, on their own, make self indulgent music. Music that is not for listeners, but for those playing in the band to enjoy. In other words, “crap.” If you stick Boz Skaggs as the leader,  Toto are constrained to be the amazing musicians they are and create great songs like Lido Shuffle. Even if you don’t want to like this song, it’s too late. Your toe taps. Your head Bops and things begin to feel pretty good. Trust me, I’ve tried to not enjoy Lido Shuffle for many years. I admit defeat. It’s good.

The girls are whirling around with the small music playing device these days. They love to sing and dance ( I feel a 401k coming on ). When I get it back, I start where they left off and play something to cook to beginning with that letter. Today was the letter ‘j.’ Here in France, we’re most of the way through the chocolate-palooza that is Easter. I picked John Coltrane, Love Supreme. I remember enjoying this one.  As the toddler’s happy, happy, joy, joy approached its peak, John ( can I call you John? ) really let loose to levels of eleven. A saxophonic fractal battling a two- year-old on the verge if a chocolate melt down. This is where I have a Calgon moment and think of Miles. He has paved the way for the Bozes ( can I call you Bozes? ) of the world. Miles kept John in line. Kind of Blue is a perfectly folded towel.  If John or the toddler or Toto start self indulging, fast forward to your happy kind of blue. Or a little shuffle.  You’ll get back on track changing this world one steak or one pasture or one toe tap ( technically two  toe taps ) at a time.

* Zélie is demonstrating the face I make while attempting to eat a white chocolate bunny in its entirety with coffee at six in the morning.  So good it hurt.  I love it, but I cannot continue.

The Casualties of Easter

DSC_8588

Two, innocent chocolate bunnies devoured in the name of Easter. I tried hard to finish Mr. White, but I just couldn’t do it. I’ve lost my touch.

DSC_8523( photo by Mr. Curtis )

Minty the night before staying up for the Saturday Night movie. It always ends this way.

DSC_8594

Otto made me take this photo. I remember when Easter was about candy. If a chocolate prize egg is the result, toys sneak in as winners. Yes, that’s a jellybean, pooping chicken. Candy and poop, a “must have” for any eight-year-old boy.

DSC_8597

This is “the look.” Lucy has perfected this look. We love her so.

The three phases of Z. You can loop that and get a feel for my day.

DSC_8573

DSC_8577

DSC_8580

It’s Rainy, It’s Sunny

20130330-135014.jpg
It’s rainy, it’s sunny. The girls went out between showers to catch some fresh air and sun. Then it began to rain. Then the wind came. In between gusts, it hailed.

20130330-135133.jpg

It’s sunny now, but I see a big, black cloud coming our way.

The flying bell will pass us by as we wait for the bunny to arrive via the magic American express. Otto wants to set up a camera to catch this bunny in action. Lucy told him that he can’t do that because it’ll run out of batteries. That’ll hold him for this year.

Happy Easter!

Meat Box A-Go-Go

20130326-223752.jpg

Z and I drove off to Bordeaux today to drop off some boxes of beef. I gave her a freshly baked chocy chip cookie and a yogurt pouch in hopes for a fine mid-day sugar crash ( did I mention she’s over the whole nap thing? ).

20130326-223834.jpg

We drove straight to the observatory. There, very smart astrophysicists who enjoy a tasty steak picked up their boxes.
20130326-223816.jpg

This place was gorgeous and had a very calm feel to it not unlike our farm ( except for the gorgeous part … still working on project tidy!). Though our farm is far away from the hub-bub of big city Bordeaux action.

Our Bordeaux beefeater said that this place is on the fast track for abandonment. Once a state-of-the art science research center with fancy pants telescopic zoomage, now an old place that is better left dead. It’s a darn shame. I don’t live in the big city anymore, but one step on this astrophysical playground and you feel quiet and out of all that unnecessary noise.

20130326-223852.jpg

On the way back I noticed two things. One, there is a very large river in Bordeaux. It’s quite arresting.

Two, when you drive on the big, fast roads in France, there’s a certain absence of roadside eye-sores. You go and you go and you drive yet never once, not even a tiny hint will you see an atheromatous plaque of fast-food restaurants. You see, I’ve driven to paradise and back on the I-X of America. You can’t scan the local radio quicker than seeing a Taco Bell or Burger King flapping eyelid ready to take your money and give you blech.

20130326-223910.jpg

The “area” stops are your only chance for a break. I’ve been to these before. Showers. Clean. Places for a quick sandwich ( say it with me now, “sahn-dweech” ). Or a prix fixe menu of some description. And I’ve heard, there is an Aire in the Haute-Garonne on the way to Spain that is worth eating at as a destination. America can do these rest-stops, they just need to try.

Ah, That’s Better

20130326-085155.jpg

It’s not ours. We’re trying it out. It’s beef box day today. The customers who reserved a box come to the farm directly to start their way to yummy beefdom.

We have a customer a few hours away who lined up enough boxes for us to do a delivery.

Enter “frigo camionette.”

Just about every farm in the Gers and even friends of farmers in the Gers drive a little, white camionette. We love our two vehicles, but I must admit, when Brent drove up in the white camionette, there was completion in the air. Add a dash of local red wine to the morning coffee* and we’ll be real Gascon farmers.

*drinking and driving is bad m’kay. Just a little humor with the wine joke

This Old Gascon Farm House

20130323-194452.jpg

Some not too ancient wiring has triggered intermittently for some unknown reason. The dishwasher must carry on, so we’ve plugged it into the new wiring.

This is what it looks like to reduce sauce without task lighting. All good.

20130323-194920.jpg

Sauce reduced, dinner served, another calf born. We’re not certain to which cow, but Brent will work it out after dinner, after sleep and after the morning move.

Which ‘i’ will it be? I can’t wait for “Inseminator.” And “Intendo.”

No, Mom, There’s A LOT Of Clover

Photo on 2013-03-23 at 14.33

Evidently Lucy has been looking for a four leaf clover for weeks. Me? Years. She ran in today with her found treasure. A big shout out to Brent for seeding clover, but who knows, this beauty may have been a volunteer.

I look at this as some good luck for a good season of nitrogen to fuel our pastures. Good find, Lucy!

Tag, You’re ‘i’T

DSC_8517

It’s what separates the men from the women. Namely me, the women. If I were to run this farm all by myself, there is NO WAY IN HECK I would tag a calf in the field. Why? Oh sure you mortals thinks cows “chew and moo” all day, but in reality, they are animals. They are domesticated animals with feelings for their offspring. All calm, I could get ‘hold of a calf and quickly tag it, but the minute that little calf does a little “meh,” the herd is on it. They swoop in, right at you ready to deal with any trouble. They’re a herd, after all, a village, they look after each other. Should some farmer go tagging a calf in the field, they’ll let you know what they think about that. So, we try to do it safely. To tag a calf at all is an amazing result of regulation. I’m sure in the old days, tagging calves and the danger within was a non-issue. But, in these days and times, it’s what you have to do to make great meat. So the farmers, mainly men, have their strategy. Since Brent moves the girls each day, he took an opportunity to close off the fence when the girls went through ( and the calf did not ) to drive the tractor in and tag the calf. It turns out, the roar of the tractor muted any “meh” a calf would make, but this girl didn’t really make a “meh.” Brent tagged the calf then radioed in that he had done so. Good move. If he had said, “I’m going to tag the calf,” I’d be completely worried and vulnerable as I have my toddler running around and dealing with husbands tagging livestock, isn’t easily accesible. But he did it. “Infinity and Beyoncé” has her ears pierced. She’s happy and milking Luna, her mum. This is the type of task on a farm that separates the girls from the men. I’m so impressed this went well without any stress to the animals. She’s a great, chubby calf that may be around awhile breeding lovely, grassfed beef.

DSC_8513

Our pasture must be fenced. We had some help to get the Yukon paddock ready as quick as possible for the herd to munch and crunch. It’s wet, you see, so we need to push in as many posts as possible before the dry, hot sun makes this feat impossible.

Okay, so it’s an ‘i’ year. We have a HUGE list of ‘i’ names. But if you come up with something grasspunk-worthy, we may have to use that name (with credit of course ). ‘i’ is not easy, but this limitation leads you to amazing paths. Trust us, we’ve done a few sessions.

With Socks, I Go By Thickness

20130321-201139.jpg

I haven’t worn a matching pair of socks since Otto was born. It’s no big deal really. Most of the time I don’t even wear socks. I grew up a beach girl. This whole sock thing never took shape until I moved to Eugene Oregon. And only then did I need socks when Eugene was covered in ice during the great freeze of 1991. I’ve never wished or hoped for socks more than the time I was waiting for a bus, the LTD, to take me home after my shift at The Emporium during a freak blizzard. I, in pantyhose, cream and fellow LTD riders in state-of-the art Northwest fleece. My California roots were upheaved. I made it home okay, but it wasn’t without clinging to the bus shelter like a kitten tossed on curtains so the wind and snow would lay off my sheer fashion choice.

Today, I hit a new low. I grabbed for mismatched socks, but came up short. I didn’t even notice until I sat down on the doorstep to watch Zelie navigate the fig branches on a small rock wall ( she likes to keep me on my toes … all day long … without even a short nap for a break ). One foot is feeling great, the other is a bit left out. All in the name of great beef.

As a side note, my kids and husband are fully equipped with proper gear. It’s Tosca and me that jog up behind. Now that the sun is shining, my socks will be washed and accounted for. Though, it will be too gorgeous to bother.

20130321-201255.jpg

In other news, the kids came home to a gorgeous sunset. Lucy and Brent checked the heifers.

20130321-201221.jpg

Then, Brent rolled the hay bale while Lucy fed the boys. Would you believe they escaped castration a third time?! The tricky bull babies blinked at Brent convincing him to give them some hay when, in fact, they were not to be fed the night before their procedure.

We’ll catch you next week, cheeky monkies.

20130321-201238.jpg

Z and Minty played on the old wine press. Then we all ate beef curry and broccoli.