20 August 2011

The Burrow!

So, remember when I said, oh that place in the hollow is probably not for us, but maybe, yadda yadda?

Yeah. We're moving there. And in lieu of a traditional deposit, the landlord has agreed to let us put that money toward revamping the inside of the house. New carpet for the two bedrooms (at least) and new wallpaper for those as well (depending on what's underneath the current vomity wallpaper).

Here's the rundown on the new place:
  • 16 acres.
  • kitchen w/all normal kitcheny things.
  • a garden tub in the master bathroom (I will fit with room to spare!).
  • same rent cost, but almost twice the size of our current place. 
  • covered front porch.
  • a big open wood shed AND a small barn (“be a good place for a pony…” said the landlord.) and a chicken run.
  • the storm cellar (because tornados) has tons of shelving so i could actually store self-canned stuff.
  • a pasture (half of the huge front yard is a pasture that runs up behind the house into the forested hillside, and farther on down it’s a huge garden. i mean rows of corn huge).
  • our own private fucking forest full of deer and turkey, and a landlord who’s all about some hunting.
  • a trail leading into the woods right up to a rocky bluff in the hill that totally needs to be climbed.
  • around the corner from a gas station / market-type place and right down the road from a miniature horse/pony farm (I MEAN, COME ON).
  • nothing seemed haunted. we went back at night to sit in the road and listen to the silence and see the stars and absorb the dark.
  • my parents are giving us their old deep freezer so we won't have to go to the store so often.
I'm so excited. Also, will be making a sign that says "The Burrow," fer sure.

Here are some things I'm lusting after for the remodel.

Rad Vintage Truck Bedspread Cover for J.'s room.

Vintage Cafe Curtains

Vintage Floral Curtains
The Lovers Chenille Bedspread

Vintage Blue Floral Drapes

Vintage Yellow Tabletop Metal Enterprise Meat Grinder
Juice King 1950s Vintage Modern Juicer

Okay, time to stop fretting and start moving.

15 August 2011

the hollow road - i want to eat grandfathers

Our little clan took a long, winding, fucked-up-jeesus-lost trip way out in the country today, looking for a potential new rental home. It's a trailer, and it's located down a dead-end hollow ("holler," if yer local) between one infinitesimal town you've never heard of and another really, really small town that's not likely on your radar either.

First and foremost, everything on this trip smelled like honeysuckle and wild onions and a bit like parsley too. Sweet manure, occasionally, seeped in. If you've ever smelled "good" manure, I think you know what I mean. It's not at all unpleasant.

I like to know how places smell, and I like smelling places. I always remember the bouquet of somewhere significant, whether a kind of small comic book shop (dust, ink, cigarettes, cherry lollipops and Chinese food) or a wilderness in which I desperately want to bury myself.

Before we actually found Hollow Road, which is located off an unmarked, somewhat larger road, we missed the turn by 12 miles (thanks in no small part to a lack of street signs). We ended up trying another turn, and seriously ended up on a dirt road that was basically conjoined with a little creek deep, deep in the woods. There was a huge washout filled with water we crossed (gingerly) twice, and the forest was so thick it felt like we were the only assholes in a sedan who'd ever fucked up enough to turn down this particular trail (because it really was barely a road). We should've been on horseback, not stuck in a car pulverizing innocent minnows in a deep forest quagmire. It was so gorgeous and so green and so cool it felt like accidentally arriving somewhere else, somewhere out-of-bounds. Not Tennessee. Or maybe really, really, really Tennessee.

We were able to find our way back, after a long detour, to the road we meant to get on an hour before. It didn't feel like a lost hour -- even though we were lost.
Down Hollow Road, which begins with the strangest little short, low bridge across a close but deep washout, there's two or three "nice" suburbish-looking brick homes and well-cared-for farm houses.

Chickens putter lazily across roughly paved road, whose concrete is monstrously balled up in places, looking much like an old forest god swept an angry hand at the gravel when cheeky modernity snuck a toehold in the hollow. Everything human-made -- other than the brick home, who looks sadly out of place, like a softgoth indie tween at a Boo Boo Bunny [trigger warning for all of possible triggers at link given] show -- is grated down by years and years of floods and anonymity. Folks have carved out the bare minimum of the surrounding trees to accommodate their homes and their gardens, crops, and outbuildings for animals. The thick border of trees, cushioning the swatch of peopled dwellings, amplifies the silence.

The loudest sound -- and it is a loud sound -- on Hollow Road are the conversations chucked out of chicken throats and clicking beaks.

Right at the ass-end of the road, everything puckers into an eyeball-festival of greenery, semi-white high pickets and overgrown wire fences. A few bunched-up buildings guarded by so much fence and bush and tree suggest some kind of compound, or commune, or at least a couple of close relatives. Objects flash from trees, but there wasn't much time to notice and identify them. That property is guarded by a splendid, tough young rooster with a sprawl of red and gold tailfeathers and a big old voice telling us to get the fuck off his street.I tried to take his picture, but it didn't save -- ghost cock?

Less exciting, but still appealing, are the two unassuming little single-wides, one white and one an indiscriminate earthy color, set up just before the dead end. They're quite far from the main drag (so to speak), accessible by a looped-back dirt driveway that looks like a real pleasure to muck out of in the rain. There's a storm cellar behind the white trailer (which could be ours), built right up underneath the forest that looms behind the trailers, and a little half-barn to the side. Everything, everything, everything is at once attractive and malignant.

And so very fucking quiet.

Obviously, and not a little painful to think about, Hollow Road doesn't give a shit about us. If we live there, we better be fucking tough and work hard and keep the lamplight trimmed. We better figure out how to make friends with the neighbors. I'm sure there are ghosts in those woods, and spirits, and scrappy little bobcats and enough deer to feed us all year if we can find someone to help us prepare the meat.

I don't know if the Hollow is the place for us, especially since it may already be rented, and also because we don't know if we want neighbors that close (I'd prefer a private lot where I could stand outside naked in the moonlight every now and then). 

Of course I have some things to show you.

private graveyard

that's a huge, steep, rocky, brushy, to-yer-deathy drop off behind the sign

if anything i wear is ever not thrifted, i'll point that out.

Go, get high on grass.

I mean the kind with gnats and clovers in it.

cooking with fat and loving the shit out of it

I'm a little bit into Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon -- it's been my go-to book of cook for almost 3 years, if memory serves. It's about whole foods and enzymes and using a fuckton of butter and awesome oils in cooking. I have a few cookbooks in my kitchen, but NT is my all-time favorite. I haven't experimented with a tenth of the recipes in it, and definitely not with most of the pickling/sprouting stuff (I'm interested, but don't have the means), but it has so many basic, always-amazing instructions for gloriously simple food that it's pretty indispensable to me.

My little brother is going away this week to start art school in Seattle, so Sunday I used my parents' (bigger and thus more accommodating to the level of mess I make while cooking) kitchen to make everyone food. Food that I like, and food that I wish I could feed my family every single day. However, 3.5 pounds of fresh salmon goes for about 26 bucks in grocery stores -- not really in my weekly budget. That said! 3.5 pounds will easily feed 6 or 7 adults, so it's not too bad to buy a bit if you're feeding less people. I also tried out a recipe for baked macaroni and cheese that my mother-in-law gave me, but tampered with her instructions to lighten the blow (seriously, her mac&cheese will knock you into a splendorous food-coma) and used corn-based noodles.

For this meal, I followed the NT recipe for basic baked salmon (except used oregano in place of paprika), and used it as inspiration to make a butter sauce for the fish. I added buttermilk, garlic, and didn't really follow the recipe beyond using lemon juice and shallots. I added the strained shallots from the sauce to the broccoli and the results were well-received (by my stomach). The yams were baked, and I really just beat them up (fun!) and added butter, honey, a bit of salt and brown sugar.

boldly serving fish in sexy ass clogs

broccoli w/shallots and shredded cheese
broccoli, smashed honey butter yams, butter sauce, and salmon

food porn

four layers of cheese and noodles. FOUR LAYERS.

Everything turned out much better than I expected. Please don't make fun of my pathetic attempt to label the food on the images. I use MSPaint for everything (because I'm 11 forever) and sometimes it lets me down.

Also, here's me and my wonderful kid, posing awkwardly in front of our garage door. No make up and dirty pants. Definitely worthy of sharing. While the shoes I'm wearing look cute to me when I look down at them, peep toes always look like mouths missing teeth to me in pictures.

Stay alive!