I was fretting over the impending shutdown of Google Reader... a blogger crisis when you lose an efficient and convenient way of following your favorite blogs! All my worries are resolving though, because I noticed a few places where bloggers have announced a happy switch to Bloglovin.
So. I'm in. I am following blogs on Bloglovin', and lo! I am being followed, too! Nice. Thank you.
If are looking for a way to manage your reading list of online interwebness, I suggest you visit Bloglovin'. They make it easy, and now I'll know when there's news that's new from all of you poets, engineers, farmers, bakers, gardeners, and artists!
Every street, in every neighborhood, should have an empty lot. Not a park, or path, or plan. Just a space where nature happens, where ideas develop. Every child should have an empty lot to go to, where wildflowers come and go, where trees beg to be climbed, and puddles invite splashing. There would be butterflies, ladybugs, spiders, and gophers. There might be a skinned knee, some splinters, muddy shoes.
There would be no rules, or agendas, or obligations. It would be the ideal place to throw dirt clods, and poke things with sticks. Picnics would be lavish affairs, with peanut butter sandwiches, berries, and cookies from a jar.
An empty lot is a ship, a stage, an island, a flower shop, a laboratory.
An empty lot is a blank canvas. Children bring the paint and brushes.
Great things happen in empty lots, and open spaces.
Ada talks. She chatters, and converses all the live long day. The only time Tasha speaks is when she is ailing, or if something like a fluffy bunny has crossed her path. So, the other night when Ada was speechless, and looking particularly large... I mean even larger than she usually does after a happy day of feasting, I was concerned. Alex and I talked about her round(er) belly, but we agreed: Our chatty goat would be wailing and bleating if she were unwell.
The next day she was as big as before, and standing next to her svelte sister, it was obvious something wasn't right. Compounding my concern: Ada did not peep, bleat, or speak, she did not move... not for the open gate, the handful of molasses infused oats, not for a cuddle. She nearly retreated from my offer to brush her, but that was the only movement she'd make, no matter what. She stood, forlornly, pitifully, and I listened for healthy clues from her full belly... but there was no gurgling, no rumbles, or belches. Something in one of those four stomachs was not working.
And that is when I recalled another helpful post from my go-to guide for goats and chickens, Terry, at HenCam writes about her flock of birds, and her Nigerian Dwarf goats, Pip and Caper, she shares all kinds of tidbits, fun things, and practical advice, and I knew just the post I needed to revisit: Pepto-Bismol for Pip.
Like Pip, Ada got an ounce of the pink stuff. Or, I measured an ounce, in our baster, and that's how much I attempted to get into her!
Maria was with me. She took pictures, and said soothing things to her dear goat. Good Ada. Take your medicine. And she sighed, and fretted, and watched for any signs the dose was working.
Tasha had to have a taste, but she's not a fan. Still, she did not leave Ada's side, and kept her quiet vigil.
The pink stuff. I got it everywhere, even down my back. With Tasha, Maria and I watched Ada, almost breathless. Would she feel better soon?
The first thing we took as a sign of improvement, was when Ada eagerly took a long drink of water. Her trough was full, but she was tempted by the pitcher I was bringing to the bunnies. Maybe her tummy was responding to the pink stuff, or maybe her taste buds were! Still, we took it as a good sign. At last, she was doing something. A few hours later she agreed to eat some Timothy hay... not with her usual enthusiasm, but she ate, and she was moving around. By afternoon we heard her bleat. I cannot deny, the quieter day did have some appeal, but we were happy to welcome back our chatty goat.
I gave her a second, one ounce dose at bedtime. The improvements were gradual, but steady and progressive, and this was a relief to see. After two doses, and two days, I'd say she was back to her feeling more herself.
And by the fourth day, she was ready to resume the fun parts about being a darling Nigerian Dwarf goat, like neighborhood walkies with her besty!
Fully mended, and I think she spies something tasty she'd like to eat!
Thank you, Terry, and Pip and Caper, too. From the heart of our tummies, we deeply appreciate your help.
Confession: I have done next to nothing for our garden. One thing and another derailed a lot of plans and routines (Heart & Soul, and Art of Simple Food, are much neglected, for examples.) I still pull weeds, occasionally. I still pick fruit, now and then. I grab a handful of flowers, or herbs, when the need arises. Composting is always ongoing. But I have not tilled, or toiled, or labored, or planted. Sigh. Oh, the sad longing for sweet peas, for carrots, for beets. Pity the passing of cool weather plantings, the lettuce varieties, the broccoli, the kales.
It is silly to regret. I spent two casual afternoons weeding the strawberry bed, and those fruitful bushes are as content as can be. I pulled up the overgrown parsley, and made the goats happy. A cilantro is about to bloom, and I am happy to see it go to seed... I can use the coriander. Tomatoes are volunteering, everywhere. I suppose the heartier ones can stay put. The chives are fine, and will soon bloom, too. We have dill weed here, and there. And the neatest gift from the neglected garden? A bed of spinach! It's growing vigorously and generously, more so, than if I had sowed the seeds, and purposely tended each sprout. William took some for his omelet. I added some to a pizza. And the other night, Maria and I filled a basketful for our dinner.
Maria picked, washed, and chopped our spinach, while I sliced garlic, toasted pine nuts, and boiled water for pasta. We played arias, while we cooked.
This is a recipe I learned from watching my father-in-law, Phil. It's a specialty of his. His sister, Laura, made it for us, too. It's a tasty, crowd pleasing dish for sure! I was thinking of them as I toasted the pine nuts in a dry pan. I was thinking of summer nights in Wisconsin, the fireflies, and Grandma's house full of aunts, uncles, cousins.
I grated some Parmesan cheese to top the pasta.
Then I slowly sautéed all those lovely slices of garlic. There's no sauce for the pasta, so the garlic cooks in a generous amount of olive oil, and just as they turn the littlest bit golden, I turn off the heat, and dash in some crushed red pepper. All of this... the olive oil, garlic and pepper is poured over the cooked and drained pasta. Then I add the toasted pine nuts.
Just like the real cooks... parsley garnish!
But wait! One more thing... while the pan was still hot, with just the last of the garlic infused olive oil, I threw in the spinach from our garden. I gave the spinach just a few quick turns in the hot pan, then tossed it in with the pasta, and sprinkled all with the Parmesan cheese.
On the side: Trader Joe's makes a chicken and turkey pesto sausage that I love. Maria sliced the sausage, and we tossed those in the pan, just until they looked good enough to eat.
About the only thing that could make this any better: a house full of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to share it with.