Mundane Monday

The title is borrowed from my friends at Union Homestead, and suits the day perfectly.  Mondays are often my catch up day, as my official work shifts at the library are Thu/Fri/Sat.  I usually have at least one other work day as well, so even my “weekend” is not always 2 days together,  It can make it hard to stay focussed on larger projects, hence my marathon 5 day challenge with the chicken house a while back.

So, how did my mundane Monday shape up?

The morning was not too bad for outside work – the sky was looming a bit, and there was the odd spatter of rain, but by and large it was not unpleasant working outside.

My current project is taking out the fence that is between run 1 and 2 of the hen house.  If you were around for my 5 day challenge, I repaired the fence between run 4 and run 3.  After the challenge, I just kept going on fences, and managed to get the fence between 3 and 2 repaired fairly easily.  The one I’m working on now is a different matter – the wire was down in one or two places and grass, thistles and brambles were growing through, making it difficult to remove.  All the posts but one have to come out as they’re leaning so badly, and part of that fence is actually part of an old “temporary” cattle chute put in about 20 years ago by the guy who used to do our hay before Hay Guy took it over – the other guy used to put his dry cows on our field after the hay season was over.  The posts for the cattle chute have rotted underground and the whole thing wobbles when chickens land on the top bar before flying over – clearly a piece of fence that is not doing it’s job.  I’ve done about 2 mornings on this fence so far, and this proved to not be the final day.  The wire is off as far as the cattle chute, and the T posts are all out.  I’ve started hacking the blackberries away from the wooden part of the fence, and there I’ve had to stop. I still have to remove the cattle chute and quite a bit of blackberry before I can start putting fence up again.

IMG_4483 small

Fence 1/2 before I started work this morning.

 

Mid-morning, a customer came to get the last three of the point of lays hens I’d advertised last month.  She had come a few weeks ago, and asked me to reserve some for her, as she wasn’t ready to receive them at her end – she has an existing flock, and was worried that one or two of them might have an infection, and didn’t want to bring home new birds till she knew her birds were clear.  Last week, she made contact to come and fetch the three I’d held back for her.  Gillian and her husband have a small acreage in a community just north of me, and have a cottage bakery business called Willowtree Bread, from which they make and sell artisanal breads, veggies and plant starts, and honey…and probably, if my hens are up to scratch, eggs as well!  We had a good chat while catching the birds and stowing them in their dog crate in the car, and later, when I’d had glanced at her website, I realized my chickens don’t know how lucky they are to have landed up there – they will be free ranging, and living out their days to a ripe old age with a great deal of TLC.

Lunch with a book was blissful – melted cheese on bread with the scrag ends of some pancetta left over from some fancy hors d’oeuvres the high school teen had made a couple of days ago as her contribution to the finger food at the fundraiser for her Global Perspectives class.  I don’t mind leftovers like that one bit.  I could see it was doing a bit more than spattering out, so I had a second cup of tea while I turned a few more pages in my book (Restorative Agriculture – Mark Shepard), and when I looked up again, it had settled down to a steady rain, so I got out my duster and started on house work.  An hour of that was more than enough, and I was rescued around 430 by the arrival home from school of the 16 yr old.  A cup of tea and a chat later, she disappeared to do homework, while I nipped out to get the last of the eggs and shut the hens in.  Have I mentioned we’re finally back in eggs?  About 13/day, all tiny pullet eggs – it’s a bit like russian roulette cracking them open – some are mini double yolkers, some are yolkless altogether.  We did our first egg sales on Saturday in fact, and hubby took a couple of dozen to work today.

Thanks to hubby’s cooking effort yesterday (a magnificent crockpot meal of smoked pork hocks in cabbage and ale, with roast veg and mashed potatoes on the side), there were tons of leftovers, so  today’s supper was a no-brainer – hash. While I was slaving over that, I remembered belatedly that I was supposed to be contributing baked goods to a staff bake sale tomorrow, a fundraiser for United Way.  So I got going on some cranberry muffins and swotted up a recipe that would make a lot of cookies with the ingredients I actually had on hand, so I could dig into that after supper.  Only two of us home, so it  was a casual meal and some convivial washing up. She stuck around till the first batch came out of the oven and then settled into more homework, warm cookie in hand.

The cookie factory wound down around 9 pm, and the kitchen looks normal again.  Hubby and the university girl (he was with clients, she was studying late) are finally on their way home, so we’ve packaged up the ones for the bake sale, stashed the remainder in a cookie jar and kept one or two out for the latecomers.

And that’s the kind of day it’s been here at gloomy, wet, Sailors Small Farm. Definitely a good day to be in a farm house kitchen baking cookies instead of out at sea, with frozen fingers, water dripping off my nose, and damp coming through the seams of the wet weather gear. I don’t miss some of the good old days at all.

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13 thoughts on “Mundane Monday

  1. Cindy says:

    A whole lot of times a gloomy day outside is a present.

  2. First – thanks for adding me to your blogroll! I am honored to be among my favorite blogs.
    I read your post this morning but then decided I needed to come back to it with a cup of tea and give it another read. My Mondays are also a catch up day – usually because we’ve come back from the farm late the evening before and there is much to be done with unpacking, getting the chickens and cats squared away after their weekend alone, etc…
    Good for you for keeping on with the fence project. I fear I may have rested on my laurels a little longer after the Five Day Challenge! It is even more impressive that you are doing it during the wet season. Squish, squish, squish…
    I read Restoration Agriculture – great book – and also had the pleasure of hearing Mark Shepard speak at the Permaculture Voices conference last spring. It’s a good thing that he is doing – incorporating permaculture on large ag scale. If he can’t convince a lot of big ag farmers to rethink their methods, I don’t know who will.
    My egg count dropped down to a dozen a week but just started to creep back up to almost two dozen. Looks like everyone finished their molts and decided to get back to work. This is the first year I’ve seen that happen.
    I have one more smoked hock I actually forgot I had in the freezer – found it when I was unloading the 135 lbs of pork I picked up Saturday. The hock, cabbage and ale dinner sounds delicious – I think I’ll get the crockpot going first thing in the morning so whenever M gets back from the farm tomorrow night (electrical inspection on the well) dinner will be ready. Let me know if there are any other special ingredients hubby tossed in there.
    Well, I’d hardly call your Monday “mundane” – it sounds like a lovely day. Thanks for sharing it and my cuppa.

    • Oh – and thanks for introducing me to Willowtree Bread’s website – they are living my dream life!!

    • I can just imagine how exhausting this commute on the weekends thing must be, and the frustration level with contractors/inspectors booking and not showing, or not being able to book when you can be there, etc. And the short daylight hours and all the wet making it hard to get things done. And home still to keep in order, too. Still, short term pain for long term gain, right?

      Using the bones from the hocks for split pea soup today – in the crock pot. If there’s one good thing about this time of year, it’s that I get time to cook all the hearty stuff again. In the summer, I tend to do other things to the last minute and then throw a salad on the table and grill some sausages and call it dinner. Also this is hubby’s favourite time of year food wise, he loves the root veg and the big cuts of meat – his Newfie roots I suspect, as his Mum would have raised him on such fare.

      Hubby used a recipe from the internet and didn’t save it. Head of cabbage chopped, 2 carrots chopped, an onion chopped, and two stalks of celery chopped (he skipped that, we don’t have any). Half a bottle of ale (he used IPA, it’s what was on hand) and the hocks. A couple of bay leaves, some thyme and pepper.

      I did a freezer clean out before I put our side of pork in a couple of months ago and found a chicken from 2010!! and another package of meat with no marking on it – I have no idea what it is/was or how old (I’m guessing old).

  3. LOL!! There HAS to be a better way of organizing a freezer – I haven’t figured it out yet and now that mine is jam packed – I have to take everything out every time I need something. Another rainy day project I suppose…

    Thanks for the recipe – I happen to have everything except the cabbage (which I consider to be one the main attractions) and I just realized M took the truck so he could head down to the farm after work with the filled propane tanks (can’t have him freezing tonight in the camp trailer without a source of heat). I suppose I could hop on the motorcycle… but I am such a fair weather biker.

    We both love the foods of fall and winter. I love the convenience of one pot meals especially! and yes – let’s hope the pain turns to gain – soon!

    Hope you have a tantalizing Tuesday SSF –

  4. I hereby declare Mundane Mondays are only to be thus called if containing a luncheon of cheese on toast…it’s official!
    Loved what you got up to, good luck with the rest of the fencing, yay to good books and warm cookies and no-brainer dinners. Loved hearing what’s considered mundane in your place 🙂

    • Tantalizing Tuesday also had melted cheese for lunch – smoked cheese on a bun with red onion chopped over it. 2 cookies with coffee to round it out while reading the next book – Perennial Vegetables – Martin Crawford. Time to head back out the fence though – in my slightly leaky rain gear.

  5. df says:

    It sounds as though you had a wonderfully productive day, even though the pace of it seemed extremely agreeable in the way that you wrote about it…that second cup of tea, a bit more time reading. I really think that bad or gloomy weather is a great gift, especially when the outdoor presses for jobs to be done.

    The fencing work sounds like it has been pretty huge – are you sick of it yet? I find fencing satisfying, but aspects of it can be really hard and frustrating.

    I love my crock pot, but a husband who uses it and makes such a great sounding meal? Wow, that’s awesome!

    • Yes, having a husband who enjoys cooking is a great blessing. Yours bakes, which is also a blessing – and something that my husband feels he doesn’t do well – and it is true that the only time he made apple crisp, he rolled the crumble mixture into a ball and asked me what to do with it next.

      I’m not sick of the fence yet. Each fence that I’ve worked on so far is only about 80 ft long, so that just about the time that I start thinking the whole thing is too much work, I get to the end of the line and get to switch from taking it apart to putting new wire on (far more fun). I felt almost euphoric today when I hit that point because it was just that much harder to achieve. My next fence is going to be a bit daunting, as I will have to remove quite a bit of honeysuckle and a LOT more bramble before I can get to the wire, but it is probably the fence in the worst shape, so it has to be done. The good news is that the school just down the road is about to start a metal recycling fundraiser, and will take all this scrappy wire I’ve pulled off – I’ve been wondering what to do with it.

      Finding a working pace that works for me is a work in progress. I’ve always been a bookworm, so in my youth, good books were what kept me from my tasks. Nowadays, the computer is also a big draw on my time, and something I’m trying to limit during the day. I also stopped reading fiction during the day some years ago, and stick to non-fiction at lunch so I can put it down relatively easily.

  6. Bill says:

    As a poet put it, “These are the good old days. Just wait and see.”

    It’s good that you’re tackling those projects that are well-suited for this time of year. I’ve got a long list of them and I’ve been slow in getting started on some of things. I spent most of the last two days in town waiting while my truck was being serviced, thinking of all that time I could have been doing farm work (but enjoying a good book while I waited).

    Now that its dark early I plan to spend those new found leisure hours working on the long list of books I’ve been hoping to read. And maybe I’ll find time to work on our fences too. 🙂

  7. I admit, I almost look forward to appointments that involve waiting rooms, as I always have a book with me “in case”. My problem is that I get distracted too easily by all the people around me. Good luck with your fences.

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