Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Countdown to Hallowe'en - 23 days

This year I barely held on until October 1st to start decorating and I had a ton of fun. Here's some proof.

I had pumpkin oatmeal and pumpkin coffee for breakfast.  Yum.

I've so far taken down the first two of the bins from the garage and started emptying them out onto the craft room floor to see what surprises are inside.

This year, especially as I'm completely reworking my theme, I'm getting rid of a lot of props from years past. There are so many props that, maybe I put out, but I don't give much thought to. Also, I have some that are wearing a little thin.  This is also the last year I will use my cemetery columns.  I had a ton of fun building them, but they take up SO much room in my garage and I am on the verge of inheriting a very fun tool called a ShopSmith.

Those of you who are haunters and know about the Shopsmith are probably insanely jealous. I would be if I wasn't the one inheriting it!!! My in-laws are moving out of their home and my father-in-law has used his for more than 50 years and it is in excellent condition. The Mr. is certain I'm going to take off a finger, but as my father-in-law and my grandfather both lost fingers, I am determined to be the first in the line to die with all fingers firmly attached.

Anyway, the Shopsmith is coming and props will be built for 2014. I am especially eager for a new fence next year that can be stored against the wall of the garage and will surround the whole yard to keep out eager little hooligans.  I've only had one item broken in the past, but I've also gotten some more expensive props in the last couple of years and am a little more worried.

Back to Hallowe'en 2013 though, I'm going to work up a quick chain across the columns for this year to keep out the wandering hoardes.

More to come tomorrow.

I love Hallowe'en!!!! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hallowe'en spell check

Oh Target. Why?  Do you not have spell check?

Did you not have a dictionary that was from this (or last) century? I mean, if you were going for archaic, then fine, but I don't think you were.

In this particular century, it's spelled venomous.  With an "O". Just saying.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The page has turned

It's officially October and time for the Countdown to Hallowe'en to begin!

Being born and raised in Los Angeles, I've never been anywhere else for Autumn, but I hear all about bright orange and red leaves and apple cider smell and crisp cool mornings.

Here's my ode to Autumn in Los Angeles.

There's nothing like the smell the Santa Ana winds coming in and setting all of the foothills ablaze so that the sky is pumpkin orange and cobweb gray and store-bought tombstones floating down the street with each gust of wind.

The sight of teenagers wearing their Ugg boots and shorts and a plaid scarf, pretending that the mornings are crisp and cool, but it's actually 88 degrees and they're just desperate.

Pumpkin "patches" popping up on deserted corner lots with petting zoos and $30 pumpkins because they had to be trucked in from Central California. The lots will shortly turn into Christmas tree fields filled with flocked and bedazzled trees of every sort and then back to dumping spots for torn couches and stained mattresses.

Trader Joe's shelves emptied of their "This pumpkin walks into a bar" and pumpkin cake mixes. Every denizen ready for the onslaught of pumpkin spice lattes on another warm Hallowe'en night.

I personally love all of this. It is my favorite, my sacred time of the year.
I wish you all a very Happy October all!!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

6 weeks!!!

I'm getting super-excited about Hallowe'en this year. I've spread out some of my boxes and unpacked one or two of them. I'm getting nervous about having everything done in time. You know, grand plans and all.
As I wrote earlier this month, my theme for this year is "Something Wicked".

I got the cauldron I was looking for and I'm waiting until next weekend, the 28th and 29th to unbox a couple of fun props I bought last November in the post-Hallowe'en sales. Yes, they've been sitting under my desk, still in their wrapping for almost a year.  I'm a very patient woman.

I also got some eyeballs in the mail this week.  Fun!

As you can see from the sidebar on the right, I am participating in Countdown to Hallowe'en this year for my 4th year. I am represented this year by Post's Yummy Mummy!  Throughout the countdown, I am going to try to post 3 times a week throughout the month of October. We'll see how that goes. I recommend searching through the rolls over at Countdown as there are some super fun Hallowe'en bloggers over there.

In the meantime, I have had my first pumpkin spice latte of the year, though I have not yet indulged in any pumpkin snacks.  We'll see how long that lasts!

Also, in garden news, these are my 4 latest gleans. Aren't they just gorgeous!

Friday, September 6, 2013

The cutest problem

I have a problem.

I can't get anything done when I get home in the afternoon anymore.

Used to be, I would get home and start working on Hallowe'en props. Sewing. Knitting hats.

Now, I can't do any of that.

I can't even read email.

Why? You ask.

Scratch my belly, mommy! Both hands!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September is here!

And you know what that means!  It's almost Fall!

And you know what that means! It's almost Hallowe'en!

So, of course, the craft room is full of styrofoam and detached hands groping for the sewing machine and the garage is full of spray paint, glue, caulking and all manner of toxic fumes.

The theme this year at Bluestocking Farm is "Something Wicked".  First project on the docket for September is a Book of Shadows, the witches' personal cookbook of spells. I'm also embroidering a number of spells on linen.

On my current wish list is a large copper cauldron. I have a few smaller ones, but the large one will be a centerpiece.

My really big goal for this year is to get the lighting right.  Over the years I've been using solar lighting and frankly, it has sucked. First, it dies by 9 p.m. and second, it's not terribly strong. I'd love to learn how to do the LED spotlights we learned at Scare L.A. with the So. Cal. Valley Haunters, but I'm not sure I'll be able to figure out how to set it up in time.  After all, there's only 56 days...

So much to do, so little time.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New girls

The two new girls, Super and Marsala are all grown up! 
The day they came home to Bluestocking Farm!

We got them where all of our girls came from, Dare 2 Dream Farms.  We actually went up to the farm and picked them out, they were about 17 or 18 weeks old when they came home. They came to Bluestocking Farm in May as pullets and in the last couple of weeks, their combs have come in and they're running with the big girls. Super started laying gorgeous pinkish-brown eggs last week, which is a good thing because Potpie had a little illness this summer and hasn't laid for the last 4 weeks or so. Marsala should start laying before Fall.
This is Super (front) and Marsala (back) yesterday.

Last week was the first time I was able to get Marsala and Super back into the coop without having to chase them down, which, trust me, is an amusing sight and great exercise!  I've now trained all of the girls to follow me into the coop.

How? When the first four were little (and I didn't know better) I bought a bag of very overpriced treats in a very shiny bag. They recognize the bag now (really!) and I've been since filling it up with homemade treats but I only give them the treats in the coop. So they know to march their fuzzy butts inside in order to get treats. Today was the first time Super and Marsala followed the rest of the gang back to the coop. They're like my little chicken army!


Guess what?

Monday, August 12, 2013

August San Fernando Valley Food Swap

Due to the large quantities of loquats harvested and canned this season, I was super excited to be doing the San Fernando Valley Food Swap this weekend.  This is the first time it's was not at my house and while it is pretty darn easy, I was glad to not be hosting it this time around.

Diane hosted in her lovely Sherman Oaks home and among her chickens and her fruit trees she set up beautiful tables where 20 people came and displayed their wares!

There were fresh grapefruit, massive patty pan squash, figs, cucumbers, relish, eggs, jams of every stripe, peppers, BACON MARMALADE, gluten free pasta, granola, fresh herbs, dried herbs, LOQUAT BRANDY, honey caramels, creme fraiche, lavender sugar, candied watermelon rind and so much more!  Someone even brought wine. From their vineyard. Yes.
 It was a beautiful day and everyone who came was fabulous, friendly and left with an armful.
I came home with grapefruit, mint jelly, port wine jelly, figs, bay leaves, fennel seeds, brandy, and a ton of other yummies.  I somehow missed out on trading for the bacon marmalade, which Michael would have loved, but I might try to make that in the future.

I had never before tried watermelon rind.  I was anxious to try it as I had always heard good things.  I am super happy to report that from now on, watermelon rind in my house will not be fed to the chickens nearly as often (they really like it too!) as I will be finding that recipe and making some of my own!

I am such a huge fan of figs, I cannot wait to dig into them.  I really need to plant a fig tree soon.

So the swap was only the first four hours of my weekend and it was a super busy one!  More tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

12 weeks 'til Hallowe'en :)

Yes, I am back again for a number of reasons:

  1. I just got back a ton of time at work because I finally hired someone and she started and she's great and I'm not doing 2 jobs anymore!!!  Yay!!!
  2. So much has happened.
  3. I feel like writing again.
  4. Hallowe'en is 12 weeks away and I'm planning on participating in CryptKeeper 2013 and if I don't get started writing now, I'll never build up to writing again on October 1.  

So here I am!!!

Catching up:
  • Last September my in-laws moved into our house for 3 months. It was a difficult time. Let's leave it there. They moved out on New Year's Eve. 
  • 2013 started very well and all has been going along swimmingly. About the first thing we did was get a dog. Her name is Mitzi Francesca Landsman, but I tend to call her Schmookieface. Michael calls her Mitzidoodle, the Wonder Poodle. She's AWESOME! I don't know how we found such a special dog, but I think she might be the best dog I've ever met.  Ever.
  • I grew a billion cucumbers, tons of lettuce, a million tomatoes and 4 watermelons. I killed a ton of garlic and I have killed the dill again. I planted artichoke and while it produced chokes, I thought I'd give the plants some time to toughen up so I cut them off so the plants could grow. We'll see if that works. Also, I bought a fejoia tree and it is producing!!!
  • I canned 200 pounds of loquats into every form I could think of.  Next year I'm going to ask for help. Also, I'm probably going to make some kind of liquor next year, because it seems everyone wanted loquat liquor. 
  • I got two new chickens!!! Michael named one Marsala and my sister, Shannon, named one Super,
    after the cartoon.  I kept trying to tell her that SuperChicken was a rooster, but she didn't care.
  • We went to Alaska for the last week in July and had a fabulous time. I went snorkeling. In Alaska. No, Michael didn't join me snorkeling because he's bok, bok, chicken!!! He stayed on the ship and napped. Wev.
I'm attending the Scare L.A. Hallowe'en Convention this weekend, August 10 and 11. I'll be spending a ton of time working the Southern California Valley Haunters booth, which I recently joined and LOVE. I can't believe I get to dress up for Hallowe'en in August.  I plan to take a billion photos.

BY THE WAY....Did you know that cameras can become obsolete because the batteries are no longer made and buying the special batteries online costs about 1/2 as much as a new camera?  Well, it's true.  And it sucks. So I need a new camera. Before Sunday...Grrrr.

So there it is folks.  My update for the past 10 months. Whew.