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I hope everyone who is celebrating Christmas today is having a wonderful time. Since we celebrate the Winter Solstice today has been a quiet but busy day. Bookman has been a long time in the kitchen making stuff. Where I got stressed out on Solstice making puff pastry, a lentil loaf, cheesecake, mashed potatoes and green beans, Bookman had all the plates spinning today making a triple batch of vegan hot dogs for the potluck at work tomorrow. While he made those he also made two loaves of bread, a batch of sunflower butter, soymilk and then got our very first batch of soy yogurt going. And in the midst of all that he made us some lunch too. I don’t call him a kitchen wizard for nothing!

We gifted ourselves with a yogurt maker which basically is a set of little jars and a heater. One can make yogurt in the oven but one also needs to have the oven on for 8 hours at a constant low temperature. Why use all that gas on keeping a whole oven warm when you can get a small appliance that just heats its own little self? So I am very excited for our first batch and hope it turns out because soy yogurt is expensive and homemade yogurt is not.

Today we have had freezing rain and now we are having a thunderstorm. We’ve had thunder snow before — it’s really a thing! — but I don’t recall having a thunderstorm in the middle of winter. Because the ground is frozen and we are getting quite a lot of rain, large puddles are forming everywhere and when it all freezes tonight we will wake up to one big ice rink tomorrow morning. I wonder how the Dashwoods are at skating?

The Dashwoods got some okara as a treat this afternoon. Okara is the soybean mash that is leftover after making soymilk. They love it but don’t get to have it very often because it isn’t exactly the most nutritious thing you can give chickens (it’s kind of fattening for them). Even though it is above freezing they don’t get to wander the garden today because of the rain. They did, however, get to wander a couple times earlier in the week.

Dashwoods attacking the cabbage remains

Dashwoods attacking the cabbage remains

I let them out Thursday afternoon and because the garden is snow covered, they found their way to the deck which is free of snow. And on the deck they found the remains of their purple Solstice cabbage. They had eaten it down to the core and Bookman had taken it out of the run and left it on the deck because we had a metal hanger thingy stuck in it that needed to be removed before the core got tossed in the compost. Neither of us had gotten around to it yet. The Dashwoods on the deck saw it and proceeded to chase it around the deck pecking at it.

Waldo and Dickens both saw them and were plastered to the sliding glass door that opens onto the deck. Marianne came up to the window and gave it a peck right in front of Waldo’s face. I thought Waldo would freak out, but to his credit he didn’t even flinch. He was probably too busy trying to figure out how he could have Marianne for dinner. Dickens, on the other hand, got pretty worked up and pawed at the window a few times. Other than Marianne’s peck, the Dashwoods pretty much ignored the cats.

Waldo enjoying the new yogurt maker box

Waldo enjoying the new yogurt maker box

Yesterday the Dashwoods got to roam a bit too. Bookman and I were cleaning the coop. The Dashwoods were back up on the deck milling about. Their water needed to be cleaned and filled and I brought it up to the deck, walked past the chickens, opened the door and walked into the kitchen. When I stepped through the door and turned around to close it, there was Elinor, right behind me, halfway through the door! She had decided she was coming in with me. Um, no. So I gently pushed her out with my booted foot. She stood at the door giving me the evil chicken eye. When I came back out the door she was still right there and for a second seemed like she was going to try and rush past me into the house, but she changed her mind.

Dickens takes a turn in the box too

Dickens takes a turn in the box too

I’ve been having fun going through gardening catalogs. I’ve found some new varieties of old favorites to try, I have found some rat’s tail radish (the kind you grow just for the seed pods), and I am going to try growing some garden huckleberries — not real huckleberries these are in the tomato family. I also decided it was finally time to use grow lights so Bookman and I don’t have to continue with the ridiculous sunny window seed tray rotation madness and the resulting leggy seedlings. Grow light systems from garden catalogs are expensive when you can, for a fraction of the cost, DIY.

I wanted to see what kind of lights and stuff to use and when I googled do it yourself grow lights I discovered the fascinating world of home marijuana growing! But hey, these folks really know their seed starting and grow light options and detail all the pros and cons of various light bulbs and fixtures. But it is all gardening and their expertise on growing pot will help me grow better tomatoes. And yes, Bookman and I both had a good laugh about it.


So I had my endodontist appointment on Thursday last week. My dentist referred me because my front teeth were still not better almost six months after my cycling accident. One of the two front teeth is almost better and passed muster. The other one was declared to be at death’s door and thus, needed a root canal. I was thinking it would happen this coming week but he had an opening the very next day. Lucky me!

I am actually glad I didn’t have to wait around worrying about it. I have heard too many horror stories and I just wanted it done with. The good news is that the tooth is strong and didn’t need a crown in addition to the root canal. Also, my dental insurance was going to pay for it 100%.

I showed up the next morning, sat down in the chair, and the assistant got everything prepped. The dentist came in and used a topical anesthetic to numb my gums before giving me the novocain. And wow, even with the helping numbness that first injection really hurt! He said it would pinch a little. Ha! He stuck that needle in and tears sprang to my eyes. The good part is though that after that first shot of novocain, I didn’t feel any of the others. By the time he got started I was numbed up so good you could have punched me in the face and I wouldn’t have felt a thing.

The procedure took about an hour and went off without a hitch. My gums are a bit sore yet and the tooth is still a bit tender, but the dentist said it would take a couple days and then I am good to start biting again! He had to burst my happy bubble though by saying that since I had chipped the two front teeth and they have been repaired but not capped, that I should forever avoid biting apples and carrots with those two teeth or risk messing up the repair work and having to get crowns.

My cycling accident aftermath has finally almost come to an end. Things could have been so much worse and I feel lucky that it is mostly an annoying inconvenience rather than a permanent chronic problem that would affect my cycling adventures.