Our outing for the day consisted of going to get eggs. Now that a better option for buying cage-free eggs exists for us, we no longer buy eggs at the store. Instead, we head about 15 miles SW of Puryear to Crum Farms.
We visit about once a month or so, sometimes for a quick transaction, and at other times we have had lengthy conversations about the state of food in the US and have been treated to a tour of their farm. Today, we happened to arrive at milking time, so we got to see about 18 of their 300 cows being milked. On our first visit, we spent over an hour walking around their grounds and through their buildings.
The family who operates Crum Farms is friendly and honest, and I appreciate what they’re doing. We had lots of questions for them, ranging from things like how they raise and slaughter their animals to questions about what this is or what that does. They’ve always been kind and forthcoming in their responses, and when asked about peppers in their garden, they even sent us home with a few tasty (and quite spicy!) freebies.
After spending close to two weeks in the Chicago area visiting with friends and family for the holidays, The Husband, our cats, and I returned to Puryear late last night.
The ride down took about seven hours, so I had ample time to visualize the effects of our two-week absence; surely our uninvited guests had overrun our apartment, and might even be sleeping in our bed.
I was the first one in the door, and made a quick sweep before releasing the cats from their carriers. I was pleasantly surprised to find neither squirrels nor evidence of squirrels in our apartment.
When we first looked at the place back in August, the bedroom had a small hole in the wall and some insulation on the carpet. We were puzzled by this, and after asking our landlord, we learned that the apartment shares its walls with a family of squirrels. Apparently, they break through the walls from time to time and sometimes run the length of the house at 0300, but other than that, they’re not bad neighbors.
In the mornings, one of them often pops his head out of their exterior hole to say hello. Our cats wait on the kitchen counter next to the kitchen window every morning in hopes that the squirrel will come to the window and say hi to them as well.
I may not have read as many books this year, but a number of the books I read were quite lengthy.
These are the books I read in 2012, listed in order in which they were read:
1. Everything is Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer) *
2. Under the Dome (Stephen King)
3. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (Anthony Bourdain)
4. Stories I Only Tell My Friends (Rob Lowe) **
5. Eating Animals (Jonathan Safran Foer)
6. Throttle (Joe Hill/Stephen King)
7. A Game of Thrones (George R. R. Martin)
8. A Clash of Kings (George R. R. Martin)
9. A Storm of Swords (George R. R. Martin)
10. A Feast for Crows (George R. R. Martin)
11. A Dance with Dragons (George R. R. Martin)
I read the bulk of these books on my kindle, and now that I have been using it almost exclusively, I absolutely love it. In fact, holding a traditional book seems rather cumbersome in comparison to my slim little e-reader. I love how portable my books have become, but not being able to physically lend them out or give them away is something I miss a little.
* Everything is Illuminated is one (of two) instances in which I think the movie is actually better than the book.
** My kindle is the less expensive version that comes with ads, and surprisingly, the ads are actually useful from time to time. I listened to Stories I Only Tell My Friends courtesy of a free audio book offer that was an ad provided by audible.com.
Two years ago, we had a joint Fulbright/Peace Corps Volunteer party in Errachidia to celebrate Christmas. Last year, The Husband, my mom, and I had a quiet time at our apartment in Warsaw, and this year, my brother and his fiancée, The Husband and I, and my mom, as well as our cats, shared Christmas dinner and opened gifts at my mom’s place in the Chicago suburbs.
I’ve enjoyed reflecting on the places I’ve been and the people I have met over the years; these people and places stay with me more than one might realize.
Happy holidays to you all, in your various corners of the world!
At the beginning of the semester, a student came into my office upset because his apartment has spiders. His family found a spider in one of their beds, and it turned out to be a brown recluse. After learning that they are poisonous, his wife wanted to pack their luggage and head back to their own country. None of the other teachers seemed particularly concerned about the spiders, so despite the fact that I recalled seeing some really nasty pictures of what these spiders can do, I pushed any concern I had out of my mind.
And then, as the weather started getting cooler, I noticed more and more spiders in our apartment. Most of what I’ve read about dealing with brown recluse spiders online has said that pesticides and exterminators don’t really do much, and so The Husband and I decided to try glue traps*, more vacuuming, and shaking out blankets, shoes, and clothing items before using them. For as long as the spiders were out of sight, it was pretty easy to keep them out of mind.
One night, as I sat on the couch watching a movie and grading papers, I detected movement out of the corner of my eye. A rather large spider was silk cabling itself from one of the air vents on our ceiling down to the ground. Determined to catch and identify our uninvited guest, I grabbed the nearest glue trap and engaged the spider, trapping it and subjecting it to a photo shoot.
* We bought two types of traps. The Victor poison-free M293 seems to entice a lot more spiders than the Victor poison-free M256, and for each type of trap, it takes days, weeks, and even months to see any action. Don’t expect results overnight.