This and That Updates

I thought you might like an update to some of what’s been going on around here.

Remember the cold frames? The soil looks dry and the lettuce hasn’t sprouted, but look at my winter turnips! Even if they don’t get to full-size, the animals will greedily eat these greens up.

It was a busy week for my “actresses who play Tillie.” After her bath, Betsy was clean and beautiful for her appearance at the Walpole Public Library. Her sister, Coco, has finally stopped being broody, so I put her to work and she met over forty children at the Billerica Public Library.

Remember those Brussel Sprouts? I’d like to think that I grew a special miniature variety, but, actually, they never matured to full-size. It was a lot of work trimming the outer leaves and discolored spots, and it seemed like half of the crop ended up in the compost bucket, and I was left with a small bowl of little sprouts. I might have been disappointed, but the goats and hens were very happy about that!

I roasted the Brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt and a touch of balsamic vinegar. Roast them in a single layer in a heavy, dark metal pan (glass just doesn’t give you that same lovely browning.) Bake at 400 degrees F until they soften through and darken (time will vary with size of sprout.) Dust with a Parmesan Reggiano (the best you can get – never the powder from the can!) Delicious.

The big story here of the past two weeks has been my son’s broken elbow. Thank you everyone for your well-wishes! I’ve been in awe of his attitude – he hasn’t once whined or complained, despite the pain, the surgery, the boredom of sitting, and the inability to play his favorite computer game because he can’t use a mouse. This is what he’ll be carrying around for the next four weeks:

Doesn’t it make you itchy just looking at it?

Scooter has been doing a very good job doing what he does best, sitting on a lap. Jacob spent much of the last two weeks in a zombie-like drug-induced haze in front of the TV. Scooter was right there with him. Lily, however, has not wanted to sit around. She’s under my desk as I write this, and she’s very clearly communicating  that we need to get out. Walk!

Okay, Lily.


  1. I hope your son’s time with that dreadful thing on his arm goes by quickly!

  2. I would have expected to see his cast covered in paw and claw prints by now! Or is it one of those that you’re not allowed to write on? You need to furnish him with a long knitting needle for the itches.
    The sprouts look good – have you tried them with some pancetta?

  3. Poor boy! My own boy had surgery this summer, and was in a brace for 2 weeks, when we discovered that the repaired tendon had reruptured, so no more brace (slight reprieve) while waiting for the 2nd surgery to get scheduled. Then 6 weeks of SERIOUS immobility. And another 4 of just plain immobility…and then 4 more of limited mobility….but now he’s allowed to do whatever he wants, and the finger in question is slowly regaining its use. Hard on 16 yr olds.

    I hope your boy’s goes as well as mine’s 2nd surgery. The good hospitals really are good!

  4. Have your son learn to use the mouse left handed! It’s a great brain exersize.
    And I too know that roasting brussel sprouts makes the best tasting dish in the world!

  5. OK..I am really going to try and like the brussel sprouts and make them like you did Terry! I saw some on the stalk at Trader Joe’s….do you have those stores? I didn’t want to buy them until I saw your recipe….I will let you know how it goes! Glad your son is “on the mend”!

  6. The brussel sprouts looked wonderful- but alas, I am forbidden to cook them at my house- the husband despises them:)

    Kids are amazing aren’t they? Glad you son is handling the immobility so well. Here’s wishing a speedy recovery!

  7. That picture of your son’s arm brings back bad memories. A wire coat hanger was my best friend for 6 weeks when I was a kid when I had a cast from finger tip to arm pit. NO FUN and bathing was a chore as well.
    Sending rapid healing thoughts his way.

    • Not a particularly interesting story. He had his hands in his pockets, was shoved during some rambunctious playground play, and broke his fall on his elbow. One of those freak accidents.