Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Logger's House - Pawlet, VT

For Christmas this year we've got kind of a long post, but stick with it, because like all good stories worth telling, it's a bit of a long one.

Oh chicken moving day. Bonnie said it would be a crazy and funny, and those chickens did not fail to deliver.

The chickens haven't been coming out of their houses much since the snow fell and so they hadn't really been eating much either. I started giving them grain inside the chicken houses and putting the buckets of food right outside the doors, but it's still a little cold for them and they have trouble moving around in the snow. They went from laying about four dozen eggs a day to laying less than one dozen. Last winter Oliver moved all of the chickens over to the other greenhouse at the big white house. They cleared out all the old plants in there and made the soil super fertile, and stayed warm all winter. This year he has so many more chickens than last year, so he wasn't super anxious to move them.

Chickens do not like snow as much a Krysta likes snow

We had originally planned to move them at night, while they were a bit calmer and sleepy. Apparently he still did a bit of chasing them around last year, but they stacked into plastic totes pretty easily. Plans eventually got changed and we ended up doing it the next morning. The Logger and I found as many plastic totes with lids as we could, but even with so many of them, we knew we'd have to do it in more than one trip. When we were all ready to go Oliver walked up to us and said "OK, how do we do this?" No idea Oliver, you're the chicken moving expert. It ended up that Oliver and I were the ones catching chickens, while the Logger (who is also a ninja as it turns out) kept them from jumping back out of the totes. Oliver reminded me of my camera, so I took a few pictures during this ridiculous task.

Logging-Ninja skillz

The chickens were a little unsure at first, but many of them are used to being picked up so don't freak out a ton. Once they started to realize what was going on though, they all started running around like crazy. Nisi did not help the situation at all and I eventually had to lock her in the kitchen. Oliver, who is quite tall and quick, was grabbing several chickens at a time, but I could only really catch and carry them one at a time. At one point Oliver told me I was doing such a good job, considering I wasn't very keen on even touching the chickens when I first got here. It's true. Since when in my life have I even run after a bird, instead of running away? Never. Not once. And I'd like to make it clear that it's not because I think chickens are gross, it's just because they have wings and beaks and scary ways of being. It helps that they don't actually fly. I will admit that when I sometimes caught them without holding their wings I had a mini-panic when they flapped around in my hands.

Oliver with 4 or 5 chickens

Finally the totes were all filled and piled into the truck. Oliver drove it over to the greenhouse and got as close as he could in the snow, which ended up with the truck just down a small hill, but still very close. When we opened the totes the chickens were all huddled in together and looking rather cuddly. They made no attempt to climb out of the totes, so we had to kind of dump the totes over and encourage them to check out their new home. They seemed to get happy rather quickly after the ordeal. We closed up the remaining holes in the greenhouse, moved the nesting box and various chicken supplies in, and then got back in the truck to go deal with the second load.

Settled and cuddled

The chickens were unsure of this new and white tunnel

Oliver backed down the hill and backwards up the driveway of the big white house and then as he pulled forward and turned towards the street, the truck got stuck. When we got out to see what the problem was, we couldn't really tell. The wheels were on the ground, not really dug in at all and the snow was not very deep. We got some snow shovels and tried to dig the truck out, but that didn't work. So then The Logger tried bouncing on the back bumper to get some weight on the tires, no luck. He and Oliver pushed while I drove, still no. Then Max called and Oliver told him to bring the Jeep and some chains to try and pull us out. While we waited, we tried putting wood under the tires to give them something to grip to, but nothing was working. Finally Max and Bonnie arrived with the Jeep, but our angle was so weird that the Jeep couldn't do much and when we tried to put the Jeep at a better angle it ended up getting a little stuck in the snow. Finally we decided that since there were so many people there, Bonnie should drive the truck and the other four of us would push (I would like to state for the record that I only suggested Bonnie should drive because she is pregnant and falling in the ice and snow would stink. I did not suggest she should drive because she isn't tough, ok?). This crazy idea actually worked and the truck bounced forward and the wheels caught.

But why is it stuck?

Very bad angle for the rescue Jeep

But the story is not over yet! The truck now had to move backwards to have enough room to pull forward down the driveway and onto the street. The Logger got in and started to back it up, only to get stuck again, this time at a slightly less ridiculous angle. So we got ready to push again, but this time it didn't want to come out. We were able to hook the Jeep up to it again and with the Jeep pulling and three of us pushing, the truck got out of the ditch we had dug ourselves and aimed straight at the road. Hoo-ray. It's worth mentioning that Talula was asleep in her car seat in the Jeep through all of this.

What was left after the truck was finally out

Oliver then went with Bonnie and Max to the Inn to help his dad with something that needed to be done that afternoon and the Logger and I headed back to catch the last load of chickens. This should have been pretty quick and simple as well. The remaining chickens were mostly closed into one of the chicken houses and we had already brought over the extraneous stuff and gotten that mostly set up. So I ran around catching the chickens, sometimes asking The Logger to help me corner them. One particular breed of chicken is super speedy and hard to catch, but we eventually got all the ones not trapped in the house. When we went to get the ones that were in the house, that went super fast until the end when there were only a few left. We quickly realized that we could not have more than one white chicken in a tote, because those ladies are just too crazy. I started getting dizzy chasing the remaining chickens around, so The Logger took over. He's a very tall guy with a long reach, so he just kind of reached out and grabbed them like it was the easiest thing in the world. I have to practically get on top of them to catch them because I need two hands, but he just used his ninja skills and packed the rest of them up.

Then back into the truck and over to the greenhouse. Unfortunately we could not make it up the driveway even half way. It's a far enough walk to the greenhouse from where we were and those totes of chickens were pretty heavy. We carried two loads to the greenhouse when the Jeep showed up with Bonnie and Oliver. Oliver backed the truck out to the street and let the Jeep in first, then he attempted to back the truck up the driveway by flooring it with a good head start from the street. He only got a little further than we had. So we loaded the chicken totes on top of the Jeep and drove the remaining chickens over in that. Meanwhile several other people had been trying to get up the driveway, because there are more houses behind the big white house. Albert was worried that the plow would come and wouldn't be able to plow the driveway because of the truck. We got the rest of the chickens into the greenhouse speedily and then The Logger and I took the truck back to Teleion Holon, all before the plow came. Those freaking chickens better be so grateful.

Happy chickens

After we got back we threw our things together and headed out to spend the holiday with The Logger's family. We did not get stuck on the way there. Amazing.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

Last night we went over to Theo's for a winter solstice party. It's hard to believe that last night was already the shortest day of the year and that days will start to slowly get longer. It is not hard to believe that it is winter though; a two day snow storm just ended as we were leaving Theo's party.

It was pretty much just the Teleion Holon crew at the party due to the weather. It's a good thing we're a big crew, because there was no mistaking that it was indeed a party. Theo's house is pretty amazing, and there's a little space with really fun acustics where he's got his instruments set up. Guv did a little one-man rock-out on the drum set with a microphone and sang a song about people being good and doing the right thing. It included lyrics like, "listen to your mom and knock down all the junk food factories." I managed to forget my camera, as usual, but Theo took some pictures, so maybe I'll be able to post evidence of this occasion after all.

I wandered around the house a little during the musical session. It's a nice sized house and it looks like someone put a lot of thought into it. When I went upstairs the only room with an open door was easily recognized as Theo's room, so of course I went in and looked around. His room kind of reminded me of a dorm room with all its mis-matched posters and printed quotes on the wall along with a lingering incense smell. He had a hand written sign that said "Strength" above the bathroom mirror, which I thought was pretty awesome. What better way to start your morning? Anyway I think Theo reads this blog and I should stop before he thinks I'm a total creeper, which I am.

Theo's such an interesting guy and I'm really glad we got to go over to his place. I had just been saying to Oliver that I thought it was a little odd that Theo was over here all the time, but we had never gone to his place. There's so much to learn about a person from their home and I don't just mean wandering into a bedroom. For example, none of us knew that Theo had a drum set. I never would have pegged Theo as the kind of guy to have one. I guess there's a downside to this kind of intimacy as well; if people came into my room and hung out they'd quickly realize the extent of my zebra and plastic animal obsession.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

All right everyone, I'm adding some new features to this blog. I was helping Oliver create a Teleion Holon blog and was inspired by some of the features I saw in other blogs we looked at.

There is now a navigation bar at the top of the page under a pretty terrible masthead. I'm not much of a graphic artist and I don't have any image editing software, so it'll have to do for now, until I can either get some software, or find someone to make one for me. Out of love. If you know of any free (read: illegal) copies of Photoshop, I'd love to know about it.

Another wonderful new feature is that by clocking the daily photo (Foto!) you will be taken to a full sized image. This is my second favorite feature after the nav link "The People," which sounds like a cult name, but is actually a little about the people I write about most frequently.

Everything else is self explanatory. To most people.

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

I'm finally done planting in the greenhouse! The last few times I went over there were not so terrible because I brought my computer and listened to Vegan Radio podcasts. My brain just needs something to think about and react to if I'm going to be doing repetitive tasks for hours at a time.

I went back to the greenhouse yesterday to make some row-cover magic and I took my camera.

Three and a half rows of salad goodness. Can I just point out how wonderful it is to listen to a vegan talk show while planting salad greens. It's pretty sweet.

These half-circle wires, called wickets for obvious reasons, were put in about 5-6 feet apart down every row.

A double-layer of row covers will keep the plants warm. Putting the row covers on wickets will prevent the row covers from freezing to the plants and will also stop them from pressing the plants down.

And then The Logger helped me knock all the snow off the greenhouse roof so that light could come in and the roof did not get too heavy. We got a crazy amount of snow since it started yesterday so this process of knocking snow off the roof with the high-tech broom gadget will need to be repeated as often as necessary. The Logger loves this job though, so it's good thing about winter for him.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

Yesterday was more greenhouse planting. The sides of the greenhouse had so much snow an ice on them that they could not be rolled up, so we had to till with the greenhouse all closed, which made it kind of smoggy. We left it open for a few hours and I'll go back today to do more planting. No one can work in there when it's full of exhaust.

The Logger had come with me to give me a hand with rolling up the side (abandoned) and starting up the rototiller. It may be a little sad to admit, but I have never started a lawnmower in my life and the rototiller engine is the same idea. In my defense though I moved to the desert with my family before I was old enough to mow lawns, and we didn't have a lawn in Tucson, because that would be stupid.

Anyway, after much annoyance, the damn thing finally started up and The Logger started tilling. He had complained that he was moving in slow motion that day and true to form the greenhouse was already stinky though he had barley gone a few feet. So five-foot tiny Krysta took the tiller from six-foot extra-large Logger and speed-tilled the rest of the bed. Classic.

Anyway I want to put up pictures of the greenhouse once it's all planted. The salad looks so amazing and yummy. And it is.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

After years of avoiding it, I finally caved and purchased some long underwear. Long gone are the days where I would only be cold running to and from the subway. I spend enough time outdoors to justify this purchase, no matter how much I was trying to fight it. They're even nice indoors on chilly days, because Bonnie and Oliver don't heat the whole house, just the kitchen, which makes sense. No point in heating the rooms no one spends time in. It's cheaper and more efficient to just put on a sweater (and long underwear).

When it gets so cold the car doors won't close because the latch froze, it's time to think about ways to keep yourself as warm as possible. The Logger is outside right now trying to get his car door shut. I guess that one of the hidden dangers of smoking. If he had just let the chickens out and gone back to bed he wouldn't be stuck outside freezing, waiting for the car to heat up. At least it's not snowing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

When I came back from NY after my ob had ended I rented a car and made some vague facebook references to having a puppy. To clear things up, I did not get a puppy. My friend Angie, who lives in Poultney. Bella was staying in the SoBro house with our friends while Angie had a job with the admissions department of Green Mountain College. She had to be on the road recruiting at high schools for a few months, so she was not able to look after Bella. When she found out that I would be going to NY for a job she suggested that I drive back with Bella, because her job is over now. She paid for the rental and I got to hang out with Bella. The poor little puppy got carsick though.

The drive back was a little crazy. The directions I got from google were not great and they were all back roads, often unmarked. I was able to get back without asking for directions or getting too lost. Four hours is not bad time. Returning the car turned out to be a bigger problem because no one knew where the Budget was. The Logger and I drove around Rutland forever trying to find this place. I now know Rutland pretty well. But this stupid Budget was tucked way back behind a shopping center and the sign in front was super tiny. I finally called Budget to find out exactly where it was. That's the last time I trust anyone else's directions. Poor Angie was waiting there forever. She doesn't have a cell phone, so I wasn't able to call her. Of course the place was closed when I finally got there so they charged my card for it. Gr.

While I was in NY, I took Bella to the dog park on Thanksgiving. She was kind of hilarious because she was so excited to be out, but she was also terrified. The other dogs tried to play with her, but she immediately jumped on my lap, or tried to cower behind Slocum, who had come with us.

I took her back to the SoBro house after that and hung out with my friends there while they cooked a turkey. Their dinner prompted me to go out and buy some fruit while I waited fr 6pm to roll around, which was when I planned to head over to my own Thanksgiving, which would be vegan. We had a little dance party during all of this.

And of course, the vegan Thanksgiving was amazing. Because really, everyone knows that the best part of Thanksgiving dinner are the sides.

Squash, sweet potatoes, kale, stuffing, bread, cranberry sauce, and dumplings (which I purchased from Dumpling Man). The best Thanksgivings I've ever had were the vegan and vegetarian ones.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

Snow today!!! White, beautiful, amazing snow! I took Nisi out to the meadow and we ran around a bit. That dog loves snow so much! She ran about scooping snow into her mouth and jumping on me. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Theo came over today with the Sunday Times. He encouraged a fire in the dinning room, read the paper, talked a bit about blogging, attacked me with magazine perfume (ugh) and then took off. I guess it's hard for anyone to want to work when it's so cold and quiet outside. At least the chicken fence got fixed today and the eggs got washed. I guess since Alex left I've been less excited to work because I end up spending hours working alone, which makes me feel a little sad. I'm just so used to working with a bunch of people and spending down time alone, not the other way around. It's an adjustment, I'll get used to it. The days have been colder and darker, which probably doesn't help my mood.

Anyway I've decided to spend Christmas here in VT. Christmas has no religious meaning to me, but is a good excuse to be with the people you love (though it's a little troublesome that I need an excuse for that). I was going to have Christmas with my aunt in the Poconos, but the more I think about it, the less I want to go. Maybe if they were having it at home on Long Island I'd still be into it, but getting there sounds like a huge ordeal during an already nightmarish time to travel. They want to ski and make a big sport of the holidays, and I really just want to be warm and relax. Plus I don't like to ski. Of course the main reason I don't want to go is because I can't think of anyone I'd rather spend the holidays with than The Logger. I missed him terribly last time I left and I really don't want to repeat that so soon. Maybe I could ask him to come with me, but I think we'd both be happier here.

Vermont is the place to be.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

I've been neglecting my blog and my photos. I have a bunch on my camera that need to be posted, but I am being oh so lazy. My sleep pattern is still all messed up and I usually blog in the morning. The Logger and I drove this woman, who works at the inn, to the bus station in White River Junction (90 minutes from here) in the middle of the night two nights ago and then picked her up last night at the same time. There was a bit of an ordeal involving some crap-tastic cars and shortage of gas and coolant, but everyone eventually ended up where they needed to go and she was very thankful for it.

A few people made negative comments about the whole ordeal and thought that maybe we had been taken advantage of or "suckered," but I really don't feel that way. I think that helping the people around you and those part of your community is generally more important than getting a few more hours of sleep. After all, working here on this farm I get no pay, but I am given food and shelter, the minimum needed to do this kind of job. She gave us gas money, the minimum needed to do this favor. I did the driving for the second night and other than being paid back for gas, I don't really want anything extra. I don't have a ton of money, but I'm not hurting and I never feel ok taking money from someone in a worse situation than myself, especially when I don't need it. Helping people can be its own reward. That being said, I am not keen on being taken advantage of and I let this woman know that we only took her because she had no other options and was in a bind. I am not so eager to do it again and I know The Logger isn't either.

The only regret I have is that the house is full of guests renting the 9 extra rooms for the weekend and they were up 2 hours after we got back. The kids are so loud in the hallway and I was not able to sleep in like I thought I would be. Maybe if I had known that would happen my willingness to help would have diminished slightly. I'm not a fan of napping, but I did sleep for a few hours this afternoon. That helped. Early to bed tonight. I can't wait to be back to waking up naturally at 6am.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

Oh to be back in the VT. I feel like I never left, except that my sleeping pattern is all screwed up now. I knew I would miss it here, but I don't think I'd realized just how much. Some of my friends and co-workers commented on how grumpy I was and they were right. I didn't even enjoy my job as much as I usually do, and I love my job. Bradford even made fun of me for not wanting to climb the extension ladder. It's true that they freak me out, even though I love climbing ladders, but it's not like me to say no. Normally I just tell myself to suck it up and get on the rickety thing, reminding myself that I have never fallen off one, nor have I even seen anyone fall off of one. This time I told him I'd rather not. So he did it. Lame Krysta.

It didn't help that my normal "whatever" attitude clashed sharply with the "hurry up and freak out" attitude of one of my co-workers. I'm a bit spoiled by working with Bradford all the time because he trusts me enough to just let me do my job and know that it will all get done right. He also knows that if I have a problem, I'll ask for help. This other person did not know me. I guess I don't blame him for freaking out a little. He's very serious about his job and I like to goof around. It would be a little worrisome to walk into a theatre and see that your Master Electrician is 5 feet tall and looks like a kid. And she also sends silly emails and takes huge chunks of time out of hang and focus to teach interns and unskilled labor how to do the jobs they were hired for. But, it's low-budget. Not everyone knows how to focus every light and some people are trying to get over a fear of heights. I know everything will get done on time and I would never decline to answer a question just because we could potentially be done 3 hours early. If given a choice between working with people who know what they are doing but are annoying, and working with my friends who don't know everything but want to learn, I'll work with my friends every time. That's why I work for Keen company. I enjoy their work ethic of "If it's not fun, it's not worth doing." I like to keep my job fun. But not everyone find joy in the same things that I do. Some people don't care much for the process and only get something from the finished piece. I am not that person, but I think my co-worker was. At least Bradford got a laugh out of all of our bickering.

After everything though, the lights were done and I think the show looks great. And a shameless plug happens here: Go see Beasley's Christmas Party at Theatre Row if you happen to be in the NYC area. The designer folks did not even have to come in on Monday. I had hopes of leaving the theatre by noon on Monday, but I ended up having a ton of extra work. I left NY at 7:30, even though I had planned to leave at 5. Who knew that you needed a real credit card to pick up a rental car, instead of a debit card. Well too bad I had left it in the Bronx and I had to go all the way up there to get it and then head back to 43rd. Ah well. It was a nice night drive, but I was so tired by the end. I got in at 11:30. The cute freaking logger of mine had waited up.

So now it's back to Vermont farm work. I love it. I feel so relaxed again and I am catching up on all that sleep I lost in NY. I love living where I work. The subway is great, but not having an hour commute in the morning is quite wonderful. Not to mention the fact that I can not eat the lights at my other job, but I can eat the spinach I planted today. And I did. Tasty.