So here's the thing: I am a pretty low-maintenance gal when it comes to my hair. I literally go to a salon maybe once a year. It's usually because it's grown out too long so I end up wearing it in a full time ponytail or behind a kerchief to keep it out of my face, being that I spend a lot of time on the property, in the garden and/or working on projects around the house. So with the pandemic, it's now been around 18 months because my annual cut would have been in late spring. In fact, shortly before lockdown, when I got what would turn out to be my last massage, my LMT gave me a recommendation of who to try out (after the last one did a blowout that made me feel more like, well, Dorothy Hamill). Not that I have anything against long hair. I've worn it long many times over the years, but with the annoying combination of having a LOT of very FINE hair, it means the underneath bits, if not tied up in braids or a ponytail, will 100% of the time develop what I call a "rat's nest" underneath, making brushing a horrific thing. And add the fact that if I want to color my hair, it means two boxes instead of one (or nearly twice the cost at a salon in pre-covid days). When I was 7 years old, my favorite song was Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue by the illustrious Crystal Gayle. I loved her because her hair went below her butt and for some reason, that was the dream. Probably because when I was 7 my mom cut my hair (hello bowl...) and I looked like a boy, and therefore could only dream of having long hair like the other girls. Hell, I even wanted to change my always-misspelled first name to Crystal. I know. The bigger laugh was how I hated my always-mocked last name but that if I changed it to my mom's last name, I'd have the same name as a VERY Christian pop singer of the time, so that would never work. ANYHOW. With all of this, and my long hair and grown out layers pulling my face down and seemingly expanding my forehead surface area by the minute, I'm contemplating what many have during the pandemic. Yep, cutting it myself. Do I want to give myself bangs? Not like anyone in public would recognize me with my mask on even if I eff it up miserably. Do I want to entrust my husband to cutting it in a straight line in back? That's still a fear, considering he stubbornly chooses to shave mirror-less in the shower (resulting in random patches that I find in my "post-shower face-and-neck audit" afterwards). But as I learned as a kiddo...it'll grow back. Cheap shears at Target for $12.99? Might as well try. More on this experiment to come...!
Rendered a bag o' lard my husband brought home in the slow cooker. This is like white gold for frying in the kitchen, not to mention using in homemade biscuits and pie crusts! Whether it be leaf lard for pastry or regular lard for everything (our co-op's gets their pork from the sustainably and humanely raised piggies procured via Portland's Tails & Trotters), we always take advantage of this freebie. Ask your butcher if they have some leftover fat - most will be happy to give it away. And here is one of my favorite posts from almost a decade ago about How to Render Lard the Right Way, not only with instructions for rendering but also about the health benefits of lard and why it's a thousand times better than shortening and - ugh - Crisco.
Oh yes, and with the wacky weather we've had, our chickens have started laying again! Mid-January they usually take a bit of a vacation from regular laying, but with weather in the 50's (57 today!) the birds, both wild and domesticated, are in pretty great spirits around the farm. Hey I'll take it considering we've had some pretty insane rain and wind these past couple of weeks! These are some snapshots I took of them getting ready for bed. And yes, you can see that it doesn't take anything but scrap wood to build a roost...
On a sad note, one of our hives finally called it quits the other day. The combination of rain, wind, pesticide drift, and more makes it tough to be beekeepers our here on the North Oregon Coast, and this particular gang was showing signs of weakness fairly early on, even with treatment this year for potential mites. On a positive note, the hive you see here on the right is still doing pretty well and we are just crossing our fingers that these girls keep fighting the good fight and grow into spring happy and healthy.
Finally, I just had to share this shot I snapped of the Columbia River looking out towards Washington. At home, it was a gorgeous blue sky day, yet as soon as I got into town? This. Fog is so cool.