Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Down & out like a sick horse...

My dad loves turnips. And while turnips seem to have a love/hate relationship in many circles, other members of my family hate them. It is simply the nature of the hard, purple and white, benign looking root. In my case, I got the turnip loving part of the gene and enjoy the orange little beast in both it's brighter cooked form (with some brown sugar, that is) and its raw, crunchy, duller coloured form. Every year that I've lived here, my turnip crop has failed due to wire worms and/or root maggots and left me a bit wanting, but too cheap to buy them very often. Buying a turnip from the grocery store seemed like a crazy idea when I knew that I could source them locally if my cravings got too strong. So when I bought one for my beef stew last week, I was delighted when one half of it was all I needed for the stew and the rest could be saved for another time. Or as a snack, as it turned out. Between Mark and I, over the next 24 hours, we devoured the rest of the big turnip, raw, crunching away like toddlers having just discovered our sharp little teeth. With every slab I'd chop off, I'd offer up some brilliant little confirmation that turnips are the work of angels; "Turnips have more vitamin C than oranges even!" Lucy had a couple bites, but soon tossed it aside for the alternative of a softer, arguably sweeter apple or banana.
Then it hit us. Like a tsunami, suddenly Mark and I were laid out flat, as sick as we've ever been. It got to Mark first, who initially blamed the seafood pizza I had made for supper the night before. I indignantly claimed, "But I feel fine!", but began to regret my accusatory tone when my stomach began to churn later on. The kids had both been sick a few days before that, short bouts of stomach flu that came and went over night. The only casualties had been a few extra loads of laundry that got lost amongst the usual loads and the cloth diapers. So proud of our carefully honed organic immune systems and sure that we would never succumb to any sort of 'bug' that might the bother of the mere mortal population we searched our diets for the culprit. Then I remembered a story about turnips and a horse.
As mentioned, my dad loves turnips and lovingly fails to see the more undesirable characteristic of the round little beast: gas. One time, he took some turnip peelings up to our horse for a bit of a 'treat' only to discover that a few hours later she was laid out in a state of near-death. That's not even exaggerated, as my sister-in-law who is a horse expert and vet of sorts, was called in for a pre-autopsy on the barely living creature. Evidently, turnip peelings were to blame and after a day or so, the horse came around again, only to have soiled the pristine reputation of my dad's favorite vegetable. I can still hear my turnip-hating brother ranting victoriously about the poisonous qualities of the vile things, with the sickness of the horse as final proof, once and for all, that turnips should never have existed in the first place.
So as Mark and I were laid out for 36 hours each, racing each other to the bathroom, moaning and heaving, I felt just like that horse and maintained that if I ever actually fell asleep I would surely, "wake up dead."
We agreed in the end, that we couldn't blame the turnip, it wasn't fair and didn't really make sense, with the kids having been sick two days before. I noticed however, that the last slice of turnip in the fridge is untouched and slowly making it's way further and further back in the corner, only to be uncovered, I'm sure, weeks from now when I'm looking for salad dressing, or cheese or a snack of some kind. How will I feel then? I wonder if that horse would eat another turnip peeling given the chance?

In other news, with each day we walk into the sheep barn with just a little more expectation as lambing time could begin ANY minute. They are officially due to begin on the 14th, but it could happen anytime. There are a couple of the older girls showing lots of signs, but I've been fooled before and they'll probably end up going last, now that I've verbalized my predictions out-loud to Mark. So hopefully one of these days you'll check this blog to find a picture of a new lamb, rather than stories about turnip-induced gas. :)
And for those asking, Yes, we have decided to go ahead with getting a milk cow. Mark is a little worried about infrastructure, although I think we have everything we need. I am a little worried about everything we don't know, and Mark thinks we'll just figure it out as we go. Mark's parents think we're crazy and they may be right. I guess, like most things in life though, we can always get rid of it if it's not what we thought. We shall see. The next step is finding one and getting it here. Will keep you posted.

Hope this flu doesn't find you!



  1. Rent a cow for a week or two to see if you really want one. The skill of milking is not one which comes easily.... Perhaps you can buy a gallon of milk evey few days straight from a farmer. You see ,I've been down the dream road you are thinking of and there are alot of bumps and hidden curves...even in the backwoods...

  2. hi guys
    don't blame the rootabegga they smell bad but taste great and they last good in a lunch box for aleast a week in the heat.i never heard the story about the horse ,,i used to eat them like an apple ?? good luck with the cow ,,we just got into the beef industry and had my first emergency call 2 nights later,,HH called and sayed i had trouble ,nothing serious just a cow down and can't get up but after an hour of rolling her and me and HH in the sh t all is well. the cows are named carolyn and abby!!!

  3. "Don't blame the rootabegga!" This coming from the man who wouldn't touch an onion with a ten foot pole!! Well...I guess it's a good thing that he'll eat other vegetables..otherwise he might have grown up to being the smallest Wilson of the lot.
    Hopefully the lowly turnip doesn't go the way of the onion.
    And I definitely liked the suggestion of getting an icecream maker to take care of excess milk posted in your last blog.

  4. Yes April, I believe that 'anonymous' tip came from our very own mother. I don't recall a whole lot of home made ice cream with all of our excess milk however. I believe that was put to use in numerous potato scallops instead. Hmmm...

  5. There you go Sal, start cooking! .....then you can be Freetown's very own agricultural Scallop Queen..... (I know you always secretly wanted to enter that pageant by the same name..)...hee hee...you could ride a tractor instead of a fishing boat! I can see it now...all that's needed is Marge and Betty as 1st and 2nd Princesses!