November 27, 2013

the chambers

I don't think I've been so excited about a project since the lockers-inset-in-the-wall incident. Or actually, even that wasn't as exciting as my new baby. My Chambers Stove.
Ahhh, my Chambers Stove! I can't even tell you how long I've wanted one of these. At least a decade. I've tried to pick one up in every city we've lived in except Dublin (where I briefly switched my longing to an Aga. Because, well, who wouldn't want an Aga?) but have always been foiled. For a long time I just couldn't convince Will that it was a good, or safe, or efficient. And then once I had (because for a 70 year old stove, they can be remarkably safe and good and efficient. You can cook with the gas turned off once the stove has been heated to the right temperature. I'd like to see a modern stove do that) they were suddenly popular and hard to find for less than an arm and a leg.
I've been watching Craigslist since we got here. Not obsessively, but just checking in every now and then, waiting. Which is how I found our friend here. Practically for free, totally rusted and perfectly located between a lecture Will was giving last week in New York and home. He was going to drive by it why not. Which is how I came to be in possession of my very own Chambers B model (although it may be a BZ, the serial number is so grotty I can't read it yet).
She is probably from the mid 40's. My guess, from looking at lots of photos of similar stoves, is 1944, but I'll be able to figure that out better when she is a little cleaner. And she's got some pretty cool features. That whole cook with the gas off, a deep-well burner that is like a built in crock pot. The griddle pops up and is a broiler underneath. Swanky, right? She needs an overhaul, but we need a new stove anyway and it will be cheaper to do that than to buy a new one. Or that's what I keep telling myself. And Will. It will take some major shifting of the kitchen to make her fit. We actually came up with a renovation plan that included one of these stoves when we first bought the house but scrapped it thinking we wouldn't find the stove. So that is possibly back. Or we may do something different. Either way it's a long term project. And if we ever leave this house, she's going to have to come with me. Unless we are going to a house that already has one. Or an Aga. Because, like I said, who wouldn't want an Aga.

November 21, 2013

it's funny

I spent a lot of year, a LOT of year, terrified at the idea of going back to work. I'm not sure why, really. I loved being a teacher. Or at least I loved teaching. I didn't always like the politics of teaching. Or the dealing with parents part. But the teaching I liked. The other teachers I loved. And then after Briton was born I started feeling panicky about leaving him, leaving the house, leaving the routine of being a stay at home mom. And every time I got close to thinking about it, I'd start panicking again and decide that it wasn't time.

So it's kind of funny that last year, just about now, I spent a whirlwind day ridding one child of lice with Nix and a very short buzz cut, bug bombing myself and everything washable in my house and then flying down to the library for a job interview.

Have I told you that I work at the library? I don't think I have. Which, again, is odd. Because after years and years of having no interest in working outside the house. I. Love. My. Job. I love it. And it so quickly became part of my everyday that it didn't seem mentionable, I guess. Or maybe I've said something in passing over the last year. I'm not sure, and the search function on Blogger is down, so...there you go. I'm going to guess that you didn't know that.

I kind of feel like being a librarian is, for me, a sort of "duh, well of course" kind of thing. I'm not sure why it took me so long to find it. I love libraries. Always have. I used to try to alphabetize my books and make my friends check them out. I took my kids to the library almost every day when they were little. And one of my first hero's other than my parents was the Children's Librarian at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. She encouraged me to write and read and her story times were wonderful and I loved her. In that way that kids love great Children's Librarians and Kindergarten teachers. So it seems pretty natural that I would end up here, now, looking back. But oh well, here I am, now. Library Lady. And I love it. The highlight of my week this week was a little boy stopping me in the hall at school and saying "Hey! I know you! You're the LIBRARIAN!"

Which is all a long way of saying that I'm not blogging as much because, well, I'm busy. I'm still freelancing and writing patterns and cooking dinner and renovating the house (oh wait till you see our newest project! Soon, soon, it's still in the back of the car) and being a mom but I'm also weeding the children's section and running makerspace classes and taking books and storytimes to preschools that can't come into the library and taking classes on how to be a librarian because, well, I'm learning on the job. And I find myself dithering about if something is interesting enough to blog about. This blog that has been cooking and cleaning and crafting and toddler raising, can it also be book buying and class organizing and hey, there's a flock of chickens that thinks the front steps of the library is a great place to hang out instead? Or in addition to? I'm not sure. So please forgive the lapses. I miss this old blog. But I'm not always sure what it is about anymore. Maybe just life. And life is full (and great) now.

November 7, 2013

the trouble with chickens

On the whole, I love keeping chickens. The cleaning out the coop isn't my favorite but in general they are gentle and sweet and often follow us around the yard, softly clucking away. And the eggs, well, you can't beat eggs fresh out of the coop in the morning. Especially, according to the kids, when they are blue. Which are apparently more tasty than the brown ones. But...


Sometimes one of your lovely, beautiful gentle Buff Orphington hens turns out to be a rooster.

A mean rooster that likes to chase people (and dogs) around the yard.

At least he protects the ladies. I hope. Actually, he's so darn mean, he would probably sacrifice every one of the girls to save his own skin.

What's a good name for a mean old rooster (who may be heading to rooster heaven soon if I have to fend him off with a boot again when we go check for eggs)?

November 4, 2013

stick season

When I was little, probably not much older than Evie is now, I wrote an essay or a poem or a story on Seattle. I remember this because in my poem/story/essay I said that Seattle had only one season, gray, and someone told me that that wasn't a very nice thing to say. I wasn't trying to be rude, it was more of  a poetic observation. I'd only been to the city a few times and it had always seemed gray when we were visiting. I thought it was kind of romantic, to be honest.

It's not true, of course. Seattle, and Portland do not have one season. They have two. Raining, and Not Raining. The Not Raining season being so spectacular that it makes up for the much longer Raining season. And thank goodness.

Vermont is the complete opposite. Instead of two season, or four, we have six. And I'm pretty sure that anyone who live here, or in New Hampshire, and probably Maine and parts of Massachutses and New York, would agree. We have summer and spring and winter and fall, and then we have two more - mud season and stick season. They are the inbetween season. The not quite one and not quite the other seasons. Mud season streches for the weeks when the snow has gone but spring has not quite sprung. And stick season, where we are now, falls after the leaves but before the snow.

Sometimes I think they are trail run seasons. Nature saying "Are you ready? Are you? You don't seem quite ready, how about a few days of frigid weather and then a few balmy ones to kick you into action on all those winter chores." And so we do. Chop a little more wood, clean up fallen trees after a storm, stuff steel wool and then insulation into crevices to keep the mice and the wind out. And then sit around the woodstove and enjoy the stark light and the snugly animals and children.

In the cold and wind this weekend we finished shingling the new room. Stiff fingers dropping nails all over the place, dashing inside for tea and to warm up by the fire before heading out again. There is still more to do, finishing touches. Paint and stain, if we get a few more warm days, trim and edging along the porch, drywall tape and mud and paint on the inside. But the big job is done. I think it makes the house look more balanced, as though it was always meant to be this way.

We still have a few more weekends, probably, to finish up the out of doors work before we move in and switch modes to winter. There are places that still need insulation, and more down logs after a big storm that need to be cleared. And the chickens need to be moved and the bees need to be wrapped to give them their best chance of survival over the winter.

The cold is coming. Although I enjoy stick season, enjoy spotting houses and views that are hidden when the trees are leafed out, I'm looking forward to the snow. But not yet. I'm not quite ready yet.