Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I can't believe I'm beginning this post with a picture of a cockroach. Make that two cockroaches. If you've been reading along, you'll remember that last month our neighbors kindly gave Eleanor a cage with two Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Everybody needs great neighbors like that :). Honestly, they were very careful to get my permission beforehand. Anyway, I asked them (twice) if the roaches were both male or both female, and not one of each. The first time I asked they assured me they were both boys. I wasn't entirely convinced. The second time I asked, they replied that they were "pretty sure" they were both boys.
Hmm. Well, in the picture you can see we separated both "boys". Wanna know why? Because one day two weeks ago we found a surprise when we came home from the Dollar Store (where Eleanor had gone in search of plastic cockroaches to keep her real roaches company - of course Eleanor did that! Charlotte went in search of a coloring book...).
Yup - the "boys" had left us an egg sac. Ugh.
I separated the two -pretty sure that "Minnie", the smaller of the two, was the mom. So I kept her and the egg sac together. "Crunch" - the big daddy - stayed in the original cage. Our neighbors came to the rescue and returned Minnie and babies to the cockroach colony from whence they came.
Eleanor cried at first, heartbroken and inconsolable, as her little Minnie was being taken away. I felt bad, but not bad enough to turn our house into our own Roach Colony. When our neighbors promised Eleanor that she could go visit Minnie and babies, she instantly returned to her bubbly excited self. Then she said something that brought dread to my heart, "Wow, so when Crunch dies I can just go get one of the babies and get a new cockroach! And when that one dies, I'll just get a grand baby cockroach! And when that one dies..." You get the picture. We are going to have a pet cockroach in perpetuity. That means forever. (Do I get points in heaven for this?)

True to their word, the following week our amazing neighbors (he teaches biology at BYU-Idaho, she used to teach kindergarten and loves opening the world of nature to kids) took us down to campus to visit the Cockroach Colony. I admit, it was fascinating, in a creepy kind of way.

Halloween featured a BYU Cheerleader, a BYU Football Player, a BYU Coach (Mendenhall), a Clone Trooper, and of course, a Naturalist. Oh, and I was a witch, as always. (Wait. Always? Like, even on non-Halloween days? Uh-oh. My poor kids!)

I'm adding this picture of Charlotte's eye make-up because I was so amazed that something creative that I did actually turned out! Woo-hoo! (I followed the instructions very carefully).

Jeff raced in the local cyclocross series (the Cube). On the final race, the weather began as a light, cold wind, and ended with a hail/snow blizzard. Imagine riding your bike in that kind of weather? CRAZY! But fun. We were on the course the whole race and had fun cheering him on, and then came home to a crockpot full of soup, some sourdough bread, and hot chocolate and hot cider. It was that kind of day.

Winter has come to stay. We went out Christmas tree hunting yesterday to try to beat the snowy roads, but ended up stuck in the middle of nowhere. Jeff shoveled for more than an hour, but we were high-centered. Just as I was giving the sheriff our GPS coordinates (luckily we had cell phone reception), some hunters drove up behind us and pulled us out. We went somewhere else to get the trees.

Big news in our house - we bought a cow! And a pig! And a chest freezer to store them in. Ewww - that sounds icky. Anyway, we've stocked up on our meat for the next two years and are very grateful to our friends for raising grass-fed beef and good pork.

Speaking of bulk foods, try growing a Sweet Meat squash sometime. It'll keep you fed for a very long time. You might want to invest in an axe to open it up, though. I counted that as my workout for the day. Took two ovens to cook it once I'd opened it and cleaned out the seeds. The cooked squash then just fell out of the shell and was ready for freezing (and for the soup I made).