Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OMG!! It might be winter!!

  But I'm not gonna get too excited yet.  The weather has taken a turn for the nasty....43 degrees and rainy.and almost 11 AM, so I think we can be pretty sure it won't get much warmer. Although the rain is supposed to stop. 

  Just for today, for right now, I am content to be in my warm homey house, surrounded by yapping dogs and trying to figure out if I can get my bread starter made. I have to go to town early today, and that always messes up my schedule.

  My son came today and took my car in for a new front tire. He's buddies with the guys at the used tire place. They got him a really nice tire and it only cost me 30 dollars.  The front end on the car was shimmying so bad I could barely hold the wheel. See, we live out on a county road and they never have the money to properly repair the roads.  Potholes and washboards are the order of the day, and this mess EATS tires. So I never buy new ones anymore, it isn't worth it. I do get gently used ones that come off wrecked cars. The Irishman was worried that it was the tie rods, but number one son says it rides smooth as glass now. Thank goodness--the car repair gods have already punished me enough for one year.  lol


  I'm going to start a batch of the artisan bread here in a minute, altering the recipe slightly. I'm adding a half cup of Bob's Red Mill 6 grain cereal to the mix. I had some of my friends bread made this way and it was awesome. She told me today that she just made some with raw quinoa added to it and that I should really try it--it was great.  Maybe next time.  When I stopped to buy the cereal last night, I also picked up a bag of flax seed and a bag of corn grits for making polenta. I love polenta...


  Not much going on around these parts. I did just get a call from my neighbor telling me that the church's pecan sale started and that pecans were up to 9.00/lb this year. I think that's still cheaper than the stores.  And they're beautiful nuts, I bought some last year.  So, I ordered 3 pounds. That might get me through the winter. I'm going to talk to my brother in Georgia too...maybe his wife can get me some nice ones (she owns a restaurant there). Pecans are my favorite--a versatile nut that can be used in a thousand different ways. I'm on the verge of needing walnuts too...


  I am lazy today. Not really doing much of anything besides the bread dough, which I only have to stir together and leave out on the counter until tonight.  Thought maybe I'd vacuum, but....maybe not. Going in to MissB's early today, and not looking forward to that. She is keeping her house at about 84 degrees all the time since it got cool. We all go in and change it and she goes back and changes it again. I keep mine at 69. I can barely breathe in her house, it's so hot. It makes me sluggish and tired and cranky. She is 82 and refuses to wear anything on her feet or a sweater. sigh...I'm going to be as stubborn as she is when I'm that old, I just know it.  lol


 Okay. I'm off to make bread and then go shower. Or...maybe a little nap.....I only got 5 hours sleep again last night and I'm suddenly pooped....

  It's all about priorities, right??


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Late night ramblings...

It's Sunday night--oops. Monday morning, technically. I am tired and should be in bed, but I started reading blogs and now I'm awake enough to stay here in this chair being annoyed by this damn fly that keeps crawling over my monitor. A fly.  In late November. Hrrrmmppphhhh.  Unheard of.

 I like this.  I seized the opportunity to can some pinto beans (6 quarts, to be exact) yesterday.  Looking at the jars, they look awfully dry, like the beans soaked up ALL the liquid in there.  I swear--I followed directions this time. I don't usually, but I have never canned dried beans before.  I soaked them for about 10 hours too. We'll see how they are, I guess. I wanted to can another batch of pints too, but....maybe on Tuesday I'll be brave enough to try it again.

  It's been a slow and  quiet couple of days since the end of Thanksgiving. I have puttered around and not done much of anything. Hurray for me!  lol I almost vacuumed this morning, but decided to let it wait until Monday morning. Instead, I watched the Sunday Morning Show and played on the computer for a couple of hours before going to MissB's.  The Irishman was back home from his meeting by lunchtime, so we ate up some leftovers in the form of a hot turkey sandwich...turkey layered on stuffing and covered in gravy, with cranberry sauce on the side. It was good and filling, and a nice touch of comfort food on a cold and rainy day. The weather never did clear up and  temps tonight are down in the low 30's and moving into the mid to high 20's the next few days. If the weather service is to be believed, it appears we are finally moving into some more typical late November weather.
    We have a Jack Russell Terrorist with a tummy ache tonight... seems the Irishman took her to the reservoir and let her run and she found something nasty to chew on. He never learns...

   This morning he opened the fridge and our quart jar of popcorn fell out and broke. So I spent a portion of my early morning vacuuming anyway.  A post feast problem...too much food and too little room. lol  I think I may be out of popcorn now.  THAT is a disaster in this house.

   I think I'll spend tomorrow cleaning out the fridge and relegating stuff to the compost bin.  I'm  SURE there's stuff in there that needs to go. Not my favorite job, certainly, but one of those ones like cleaning toilets that you have to do if you want to stay in your house. I try to be careful about how I cook, and it's only the two of us, but this just gets like this from time to time, no matter what.  Are there people out there whose refrigerators are always spotless? That never have icky science project type foods in them?  Not at my house.  lol

  This weather is bringing me a lot of achy joints and neck pain. I might actually be calling a chiropractor tomorrow morning. I got word that my favorite chiro in the world is winding his business down, and only opening 3 days a week now. sigh...You could barely get in to see the dear man when he was open 5 days... I am feeling really tired of feeling crappy, and some days can barely walk. I am going to get this darn MRI soon on this knee and see if there's something can be done. I'm only [almost] 59 years old, but if it's time for a knee replacement, then I have to get one. I tell everyone it's an old rugby injury. (Most of them believe me without question).  LOL
    Alright. I need to go to bed, it's after 1:30 AM .  I'll be up early probably, and I need some sleep. One of my cats just went out, against my advice, and one came back in.  Bella came in and wanted to get in her kennel and go to sleep. I checked the furnace because it felt cool to me, and the damn thermostat has reset itself again and was set at 60, so I jockeyed it back up to 69 and it's running like it's supposed to and warming the house considerably. It's one of those programmable ones and we have never figured it out. But it will run along just fine for weeks and weeks, and suddenly start resetting the temperature. arrgghhh...

  Sweet dreams all...


Friday, November 25, 2011

Such a day I have had...

  I could live in a house like this...

   It's been a wonderful day after Thanksgiving.  I finished off the turkey stock today and canned 11 pints, 7 of them with meat, 4 plain broth.  The Irishman worked outside a big part of the day, coming in for little turkey sandwiches made on leftover rolls with cranberry sauce on them. We also had some kimchi on the side, and a little of this marvelous salad my SIL brought called Pretzel Salad.  I'll post the recipe for it when she sends it...it's one my cousin made at the family reunion last year and is remarkable.

  It was a gorgeous day, sunny and around 60 degrees. At about 4 o'clock, we took Miss Roxie and Miss Bella to the park for a walk. They had a ball. When we came back, he took Molly the Jack Russell Terrorist out to the reservoir where she can run like the wind.  They came home to find me and both dogs asleep on the couch, lol.

  I made a shepherds pie for supper, using turkey, of course. I also used dressing instead of mashed potatoes, and used all kinds of little root veggies in it that himself brought in from the garden. Had turkey gravy and some green beans in the fridge, so those went in as well.  It was delicious, even if it was a little magenta colored from the baby beets. Then he had some lemon meringue pie and I cut into the peaches and cream pie. Let me tell you something:  I kinda invented this pie because when I was making pies the other day, I didn't think  I had made enough peach filling for a deep dish pie. SO I ADDED TO IT.  Then, naturally, I had too much for one pie, but not enough for 2.  sigh...I looked in the fridge, found some cream cheese and some sour cream, whipped them together with a tiny bit of sugar, spread the concoction across the bottom of a prebaked pie crust, poured the peach filling on top of that, and then piped the remaining cream stuff around the edge of the crust.  

  OH. MY. GOD.

 It is magnificent. My husband was laughing at me, because with every bite I said, O, God. I am brilliant! O,God-this is sooooo good!  He laughed until I spooned some into his mouth, at which point his eyes got big and he said..O,God--you ARE brilliant!!  lol  Peaches and Cream Pie. It's the bomb, people. lol


  SO now it's midnight and I'm ready to join my honey in bed for a good nights sleep...I did a good job of balancing R&R and accomplishing a few things today, so it feels like it was a very good day.  I love days like this...I get to stay home and  be grateful for my little home and my big family and my critters and my life.  I didn't have to go out and join the madness (not a shopper) and spend money I can do other things with. I have decided to do a completely hand made Christmas this year...not that we usually buy a lot, because we don't.  But I am going to try my hand at some dolls and some other little things for the few I do give gifts too. I have a book of handmade gifts that I'm going to go through and see what I can find.  My grandson wants a fleece blanket (and Pizza Hut gift cards, lol), but my 2 little nieces would love a doll, something simple that they can carry around and sleep with.  I used to do a lot of this stuff, but haven't in years.  I'm also gonna try my hand at a shirt or two for the Irishman, he loves that stuff.  I have an old shirt of his that came from South America that he always loved that I can use for a pattern. It's very simple, with straight lines.lol  Even I should be able to do it.  I guess I'd better get started, eh?

  BTW--the kimchi is still fermenting, and several of my nephews tried it yesterday and loved it. One wanted some to take home.  I am loving it...it tastes great, esp. since I so love ginger and garlic. lol

  I am soaking some pinto beans to can tomorrow, since I still have the canner out from the turkey broth. I've been wanting to can some for awhile, for convenience sake.  Also a good protein source to get to easily in the case of power outages. I have a lot of pinto beans (our favorite) in the pantry, probably 2 gallons of dried beans. Canning in the off season is almost fun  :)

  Alright then. I'm going to feed some fish and get ready to head for bed. (I just realized I haven't fed them yet tonight). The kitchen is clean, the animals have all been outside, and  I am ready for some sweet slumber.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sigh....it's over.....Thanksgiving at Honeysuckle Hill, 2011...may it R.I.P.

  The line starts HERE.  lol


    Well, when it was all said and done, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There were 25 people in attendance, enough food to feed a starving country and the ages ran from 4 months to 63 years.  We had a really good time, and no one was offended by the dirtiness of my house. lol   The 8 children in attendance had a ball seeing the chickens and playing with the dogs and cats and the bird.

  Everyone was shocked that I didn't have paper plates or paper napkins. I did have to pull out a few pieces of plastic cutlery. lol  It was really nice. My brother's (who .lives in Georgia) 3 boys came, and they usually don't. So that was a real blessing.

  Folks started arriving around 11:30 and the last ones left around 6 PM.  I am exhausted--in a really good way.  I can't believe I'm still  awake. lol  I woke up this morning at 4:30, got up a bit and then came back to bed and slept another 45 minutes, woke up again.  I was really not feeling well...my heart was racing and I was nauseous...worried me a little. I laid back down at 6:30 after the Irishman got up.  Crazy. I took some Pepto Bismol and got myself dressed. Forcing myself to get up and get busy helped, but I was icky  for a few hours.  Feel like it's catching up to me again and so I think I'll go to bed.

  I'll be back tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving and hope yours was filled with food and family and friends and lotsa love...


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm in trouble. The High Holy Day of Gluttony is upon me.


  I'm so far behind and it's almost the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVNG !!!!

  I had such a grand master plan and had convinced myself that it would all fall effortlessly into place and the house would gleam and sparkle like nobody's business. The food would all be perfect and my granny would be looking down on me and nodding her head in approval from heaven on high...


It dictated my every chore, timed perfectly, and spread out over 2 weeks. I don't know what happened, because 2/3 of the stuff isn't done and it's the day before Thanksgiving [officially].


They did get me all fired up by putting up the Xmas decos in town 2 weeks ago. Ad 2 of the radio stations I listen to have gone completely Xmas already. And even the freaking Dollar store has jilted me. I can't find any Thanksgiving stuff, because the store has been stuffed from floor to ceiling with Xmas.

  It all started when my son came over to help me with my kitchen cabinets, which was one of the first things on my list. 

    1. Clean and reorganize kitchen cabinets.

Somehow, it turned into, scrubbing all the cabinets inside and out. Putting new hardware on all 23 cabinets and 26 drawers (or something like that). Replacing or lining all the cabinets with a lovely self stick oak parquet floor tile, which, of course, had to be cut and fitted in every single one. (But it is awesome).  Then he saw the leak under the sink and had to repair that. Repairing meant buying and installing a whole new faucet gizmo and blowing a window fan into the opening under the sink for a day and a half to dry it all out. Then I had to clean all the drawers and vacuum up all the wood shavings from the drill used to install the handles. 

 So, my one day job turned into 4.  Now, mind you,...I am not really complaining here. Because I did want this stuff done [eventually] and it does look really good. But as you can see..I was NOT off to an auspicious start.


 2.  Clean bathrooms, touch up paint.

    Once again, it turned into a 3-4 day ordeal. Convinced that it wouldn't take any time at all to just go ahead and repaint the 2 bathrooms, we set off to buy paint and make ready. It took me a good 3 hours to get everything off the counters and walls, and brush down cobwebs.   The master bathroom was a nightmare because it has a stupidly textured ceiling that was impossible to clean and made a mess every time you touched it. It was also mildewed beyond belief.  The only solution was to paint the ceiling as well. With a foul smelling mildew retardant in the paint.  On the bright side, I found a calm ocean blue paint on sale that matched the seashore wallpaper border around the ceiling. It looks great, now that it's all done. Thank you Jesus. Today I cleaned the toilets and floor behind the toilets and the sinks and it's all ready to replace  the counter junk now. In the front bathroom, we took out the medicine cabinet and replaced it with a giant mirror in a wicker-ish frame that I got for nothing from Freecycle.  It covers up a goofy wall and looks awesome.


  Somewhere in between there, I managed to disassemble and wash both living area chandeliers and glass panels, AND clean the ceiling fan.  I got the mudroom all straightened up and swept out and sent the Irishman to the recycling center with a ton of stuff.

  Today I worked on cleaning the kitchen. Not finished, but better. I put the leaf in the dining room table and got out some pretty tablecloths. So now, the cats think I've made up their bed in a most lovely fashion.
  Tonight I was going to clean this office. But you can see where I wound up and now it's almost 1 AM.


  I still have to shampoo the carpets, massively clean our bedroom (you have to go through it to get to the master bath, and with 30 people coming for Thanksgiving, trust me...somebody's going to be walking through my bedroom).  I need to take my little upholstery shampooer to the couch cushions.  I need to burn the paper garbage in the mudroom.  I need to mop the wood floors.  I will be up late tomorrow (today) baking pies.


  OMG.  I have lost my mind. Tonight I had a jolt of an epiphany that there is no way in hell I am ever going to get all this done. I tried to get somebody to work for me tomorrow, but no luck. (Did I mention  that I've had to work every day too?)

  The Irishman's truck is in the garage again (another part of this sad story--this is the second time in a week, and it cost 735 dollars the first time. Not much of a charge after we took it back to them, 75 bucks, but it's the time and effort in all this!!!) So now, I have to go to the next town where the truck is also tomorrow and at least pay for it and get the keys, or better yet, have someone take me there and pick it up myself. It's about a 20 minute drive each way.


  SO.  I went to the store after work today and bought frozen deep dish pie crusts. That will save me several hours of work.  Today I seasoned and toasted all the bread for the stuffing, so that is done.  The turkeys are out of the freezer and thawing.  At one point when I thought of all the stuff that isn't going to get finished on time, I almost started to cry. Then I realized how ridiculous it is, and just looked around me and sighed.

  I have washed all the shower curtains and liners. I have washed all the slipcovers for the chairs and loveseats. I have a ton of laundry to do, but it may or may not get done. At the very least, I will spot clean the carpets (and of course, just in case it wasn't bad enough, it has done nothing but rain all day, making the animals be inside and the yard a muddy mess).

  I will fly through this messy office with my feather duster and move all the dirt around. I'll pick up books and straighten my desk and it will be fine.

  BTW--did I mention my vacuum cleaner is making a weird noise??????  It better hold out until Friday, that's all I can say.

  Well, I'd better go to bed so that I can get up at 5 AM and get busy. I am way too tired tonight to do much of anything, even though I told myself I could clean this room tonight....it ain't happenin'....

  I hope you all have  a happy Thanksgiving, shared with friends and family and everyone you love.  I hope you all have lots to be thankful for in your lives.  I'm filled with gratitude to know that I have a cyber family of bloggers out there that mean a lot to me. Even if we've never met or hugged or eyeballed each other.  You all help me more than you will ever know.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Adventures in life

Awww...no I'm not.  LOL

************  I need to go check Linda's blog about the post on kimchi.

 Yesterday, I chopped Napa Cabbage, kale, garlic, ginger, carrots and grated turnip. Covered it with a brine of salt and water, and am getting ready now to go drain the brine and get the spices into it.  I'm very excited about this endeavor.

 Today I cut corn off the cob that I had frozen whole in 2010 and it's in the dehydrator now. I needed the freezer space for the 20 pound turkey I brought home on Friday.  It's all about the juggling, baby....lol

 So I have been staying busy and trying to get my house readied for the onslaught of family that will arrive Thursday morning. I have kitchen cabinets all done, a new kitchen faucet installed (and no more leaks!!!!).  I have the ceiling lights all sparkly and the ceiling fans cleaned. Tomorrow I will work on my bedroom and the big closet. It was on my list for Wednesday, but...oh, well. I am flexible if I'm anything.  :)   Whatever gets done will get done and whatever doesn't will probably not even be noticed by anyone but me.  lol

  I sent an email to my new hero Sharon Astyk tonight. I am as giddy as a schoolgirl.  Just asking a question about something.  I really think she will reply./\../\

   Went to a birthday breakfast for my now 15 year old grandson this morning. Can't believe he will be driving next year.  It was nice. He wanted Pizza Hut gift cards, so that's what he got. 40 bucks worth of pizza.  lol
He was bedazzled.

   The weather has been seesawing back and forth here. It was very chilly this morning, but by the time the wind stopped tonight it was back at 59 degrees. Might get rain, but it's warming back up. We had a couple of good frosty mornings where the temps were down in the high 20's. But now it's warmed up again.

  I made a lovely tofu stir-fry last night for supper...lots of garden stuff in it like kale and turnips and carrots and asparagus..and ginger and garlic and red onion...and green beans and snow peas. Life is good when you get to eat things you've planted and nurtured and harvested with your own two hands.

  I'm gonna go get that kimchi drained and spiced and into the jars. I'll make sure to take a picture of it's prettiness...

  Oooooo...ain't it purty????   It really smells good too...we'll see how I feel after the fermentation starts. lol  I ate a bite and the cabbage was nice and crispy.  I'm going to use Linda's recipe next time.  I also need to find some Korean red pepper flakes, as I used a potent cayenne this time.

  Alrighty then...I am pooped and it's 1 AM here in the breadbasket. Time for sweet dreams and some good rest. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

 I probably used this picture recently...a steamy bowl of lentil soup with fresh baked bread and melting butter... But, I can't remember. And I'm too lazy to look.  It's very chilly and foggy tonight, and a hot bowl of soup just looked good, dammit...


  Been a busy couple of days. My list for Monday and Tuesday was to clean and rearrange all the kitchen cabinets. I bought cheap (translates: thin and flexible) vinyl self adhesive floor tiles to use to line the cabinets with. It works great. Cleans easily, is durable and looks good. (Oak parquet).  I'm not entirely finished, still have a couple to go and will knock those out tomorrow. What did happen though, was my son came over and is helping, and put all new hardware on my cabinets and drawers. Not new, really, but new to me. There were no handles or pulls on any of my oak cabinets. A month ago or two, my neighbor gave me a whole box of cabinet hardware as she had replaced hers. They are nice and heavy, bronze or brass.  There's also a leak under my kitchen sink from a bad faucet, and he's coming back tomorrow to repair/replace that. It turned out to be quite a job, those cabinets....all 21 doors and 13 drawers. I've been scrubbing down the inside/outsides with Spic'n Span, getting rid of all the ooey gooies that collect on kitchen surfaces, no matter how careful you try to be. (And I do NOT try to be careful...I'm like the freaking Galloping Gourmet in there, splashing about all willy nilly.)  sigh..... Tomorrow's list includes a thorough cleaning of our master bedroom and the big walk-in closet, buying paint, and finishing up the cabinets. Then I'm off to Miss B's at 3...


  Craziness here...in St Louis, a baby was snatched from it's crib and later found murdered and the body left in a cemetery near a park.  Good Lord...what madness....People are in shock in the quiet little suburb...


   I am tired and should be in bed. My nano writing is so far off the mark that I'm thinking of throwing in the towel. I just have not had the inclination to write much...not sure why. This would have been my 4th year...I might have a sudden burst of inspiration and write like a madwoman and make it, but it's not looking too good.  Oh well.  My biggest complaint about NaNo is that Thanksgiving takes such a big bite out of your 30 days of writing...but since no other month starts with N, I guess we're stuck with it.  lol


    I dehydrated the kale and it was interesting, to say the least. I found a recipe that called for lemon juice, olive oil and salt. I used that (followed directions and everything!) and I liked it well enough./ The oven dehydrated stuff was far inferior to the dehydrator dried stuff..  I'm going to make some kimchi...one recipe with Napa cabbage (traditional) and one with kale. I found a recipe that says you can use any kind of greens. I think I'll put carrot and daikon radish in it too.  I'll mix that up on Thursday, I think. I was thinking....I'll bet I could use grated turnip in place of the daikon...most of the things I have read about kimchi said that there are as many variations as there are Koreans that make it. My kind of recipe.  lol


 My darling chickens have started laying again! I am thrilled. They haven't given me one egg for over a month....they were molting AND traumatized by the coon that killed the other 2.  I have sorely missed my fresh eggs.


  Busy day tomorrow and I need my beauty rest.  Especially since I [think] I have decided to stop coloring my hair, and am letting it grow out some as well. LOL  The grey is already coming in like gangbusters. 
So, I'm going to bid you all adieu, and make my way towards the bedroom, hoping I don't fall over the stack of pots and pans  and glass vases on the floor. lol  

  Never mind.  I'll finish cleaning things up in the morning.....sweet dreams, waterbabies....


Sunday, November 13, 2011

A beautiful day in the neighborhood...

 These are the pot of artificial flowers in the metal pot at the end of my driveway. I change them about 2 times a year, when they get all faded out and raggedy looking. lol  I had to put them there, because when we first moved here, I kept passing our driveway. (So, if I try to kid you into believing that this senility thing is new, don't believe me. It's been going on a while now). lol

  Some kids just came down the road with 2 big dogs, one of which came into my yard chasing my cats and then when the Mad Doxie went flying after them, 2 of them chased her up the hillside.  Naturally, my tied up dogs went berserk and were absolutely beside themselves. I was around back emptying some compost bucket stuff n checking my chickens and ran around the house to catch all this. I yelled at the kids to keep their damn dogs off my property...they just looked at me. They live somewhere up the road and do this every weekend. It's bad enough right now because it's deer season around these parts, and all the hunters are chasing deer and shooting guns and  generally making my life a living hell.  I really NEED to live out somewhere on about 40 acres, surrounded by a national park or something where hunters and kids with dogs are prohibited....sigh...

   Had a nice 2 days off and got lots done. I've been dehydrating kale and putzing around, cleaning house and making lists for the next 2 weeks. Things that I need to do to get ready for the big family Thanksgiving here. I want to paint the bathroom and clean the carpets and clean and rearrange the cabinets (you know--that stuff you always want to do, and MEAN to do, but need some really good motivation to actually DO.  lol)  Having about 30 people for Thanksgiving is a really good motivator, in my book.

  I have a 17 pound turkey in my freezer, and one of the local markets had whole turkey breasts on sale for .99/lb, so I bought 2 of those as well. My sister in law is doing a pork tenderloin. We'll have plenty of meat. lol  So far the menu is sounding really good...cranberry compote, home made rolls,  green bean casserole, sweet potatoes in various forms, mashed potatoes, a big garden salad. That's just so far, lol.  For my part, it'll be turkey and dressing(s)...I'll make one dressing with wild rice and wild mushrooms, and one regular sage dressing [for the faint of heart]. I'll get my big roaster out and cook the turkey and the 2 whole turkey breasts.
I'll make a sweet potato pie, a pumpkin pie (or 2), a fresh peach pie, and a Waldorf Salad. I'll put out a plate of pickled vegetables that I've put up the past couple of years...baby beets, mixed sweet peppers,  okra, garlic cloves, dilled green beans, and a plate of the kimchi I'll be making this week.

  Have I left anything out?  lol

  I have some chicken breasts thawing out to make a Sunday dinner for the Irishman and myself. He's gone to a meeting and I have the house to myself. I cleaned out my car, vacuumed it and got all the garbage out. I still need to take the cleaner in there and wipe it down...it was a real mess. And the HoneyBadger (our affectionate nickname for the venerable Miss Roxie Doxie) had mud all over her  a couple of times when I let her into the car after a walk at the park, or when she had just been doing major excavation in the back yard. So there's dried mud to be cleaned up in there too.  sigh....it's my life people...cleaning up after dogs, cats, birds and men.  Constantly.

   I better finish up out there while the weather is good. It's a glorious day, feels more like May than the middle of November. Sunny skies, a little breezy and about 65 or 70 degrees I'd guess. Crazy....

  I'm off to make a lovely dinner. Not sure just what yet, but I know it will include chicken ion some form or another. A part of me is thinking a good old fashioned fried chicken dinner (well, sort of--it's only chicken breasts, not the whole chicken).  Some mashed potatoes and green beans too, and we have some apple crisp leftover for dessert. With vanilla bean ice cream.  If we still have room.  lol

  Have a grand Sunday, y'all....


Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Human kind cannot bear very much reality." ~T.S. Eliot

True words.  This explains our constant need for political debates and television.


  I had a lovely day cleaning and cooking and having my sister and my sister-in-law to lunch today.  I made the most lovely Vegan creamy carrot soup and then a gorgeous salad of greens and red onions and bell peppers and radishes and carrots. I topped it off with a heart stopping pile of roast beef, ham and smoked turkey with Provolone cheese, on 15 grain bread and grilled. We talked and laughed and ate like big dogs. I am really blessed with a pretty wonderful family.

  After they were gone, I had a conversation with the electric company which resulted in cutting my bill nearly in half for this month and next. Yea....me!

  Then I ran to the post office to mail said check and stopped at the local market that was having a sale. I got chicken breasts for 1.39/lb...ground chuck for 1.99/lb and  country pork ribs for 1.89/lb.  I spent over 50 dollars, but stocked the freezer nicely.

  I've been home ever since. 

  It's cold out there, about 28 right now.  Expecting a hard freeze tonight...we'll see. They said there would be one last night too, but it didn't happen. Then the temps are supposed to steadily increase and get back up to the 60's and 70's later in the week. it never got above 50 today and the wind was pretty fierce, so it felt even colder. Good day for soup, and we had enough left over from lunch to have for supper too. 

   We've got the garden covered, but I'm afraid if it gets too cold we may lose most of it. I have turnips that need harvesting and a bed of kale to dry. Anybody ever do that?  Not sure if I want to just string it up somewhere or  use the dehydrators or what.  The kale needs a good freeze to bring out the sweetness. I have a bunch of green tomatoes out there too and I meant to pick them today to pickle, but I got way laid by my company and then forgot about it. Oh well. We'll see about them tomorrow morning. If  they're lost, they're lost. I hate it, but not much I can do now after midnight.

   Gonna cut this short and go to bed. I've been up since 5:30 this morning and am starting to run out of gas.

 Plans to make an apple crisp tomorrow and find other fun stuff to do, which  (as usual) will include chickens and food and love and happiness. The Irishman has a 10 AM appointment to get his tooth crowned and I don't really have any plans at all besides finishing the laundry I started today.  Gonna be a "seat of the pants" kind of a day, I'm guessing. Sounds great to me.

  TTFN. Sleep well and have a great weekend...


Monday, November 7, 2011

A rainy cool Monday--

 Apropo for a day like today. I am loving myself enough to take it easy today.  The house is a mess, there are apples to process, dog hair to clean up, dishes to do...but I am moving a little slower than usual due to this darn back again. Instead of pushing my way through it, I'm going to go slow,  take it easy and try to learn something today about the relationship of my body to my state of mind. Sigh...life's little lessons...


 Seriously, this kind of weather makes me want to go back to bed. lol I slept about 7 hours last night, so you'd think I wouldn't be too sleepy, but I am. And then I decided I needed to have a big bowl of whole oats with raisins and pecans and butter and molasses for breakfast. Comfort food at it's finest. It was good, but it put me to sleep.  lol  Serious as a heart attack...At 10:30 I went back to bed and slept until after 1. My body must have been in need of rest, because I slept like  baby.  I'm not much for naps usually...only because my body has a hard time sleeping during the day.


   Now I'm home and it's about midnight.  Husbandman brought home a desk chair from work,  all the office people got new chairs and were throwing the old ones away. It's quite nice actually, with a coffee stain on the seat, but otherwise apparently unmolested. I was thinking the other day that my old one might be part of the cause of the back problems...it's VERY comfy, which probably means it's shot. It's kind of a slouchy chair, if you know what I mean.  I'm sitting in the new one now, and it's quite straight and tight. We'll see...

   We have some major thunderstorms coming our way. Warmed up nicely today, even though it was rainy. Tomorrow is supposed to be something crazy like 50 and then it's going to hit 74 and then back down again.  A person can't keep track of temperatures like that--lordy, you don't know how to dress from one day to the next. lol The rain has been good though, we were getting pretty dry.  And an earthquake in Oklahoma??  Wonder what Rubye Jack had to do with that???  Did she bring earthquakes with her from California ???  And now I see a big one has hit Turkey, 7.2, and at least a thousand feared dead right off the bat.   Yikes.  Tomorrow morning I have to get out there and pick beans and peas again. Maybe some turnips too. Have to see. I have to bake a couple of pies and make the Irishman some mobile supper since he has class again this Tuesday.  One of the pies is going with him to class...a lemon meringue, all made from scratch. There's a certain nun there I need to impress.  lol  They're talking about the possibility of a pie workshop, though they may have been kidding. I really like doing these.

   Have a couple of friends who are having some troubles, and as much as I feel bad for them, there's really nothing I can do to help, except be a friend. A shoulder to cry on, and a sounding board. I can do that. Prayers and healing thoughts going out to all.

   I ordered an apple corer/slicer from Amazon and a book for himself that are supposed to be delivered tomorrow. Hope so. The apple appliance was only about 8 dollars, and it's a stainless steel contraption with easy grip rubber handles on it. It cores and evenly slices the apple in one fell swoop. That will be perfect for drying apple slices.  One of the problems I have dehydrating sometimes is that it's hard to cut all your slices of ANYTHING  all the same thickness when you're slicing by hand. My son gave me a deli slicer last summer, and I was thinking that would work for slicing apples into rounds, if I decide to go that direction too. I just might....  If I still had 2 freezers, I would make and freeze some complete pies, but I don't, so I'll not be doing that.  To be honest, I make more apple crisps than I do regular pies anyway.

  The book is by a man named Jeremy Rifkin and is called "The Third Industrial Revolution".  I'm looking forward to reading it myself. Mr. Rifkin (an internationally renowned U.S. economist)  is a social critic and author who advises the European Union on climate change and energy security. He has some interesting things to say about peak oil and the world economy.

  I'm still knee-deep in Sharon Astyk's book, Independence Days. It's an amazing read and I'm loving it and learning new stuff all the time. I want to read "A Nation of Farmers" next.  Might put that book on my Christmas wish list.  :)

  Alrighty...I'm going to bed now so I can get up early tomorrow for a day of writing and baking and cleaning and gardening (if the timeline on the storms doesn't change). It's midnight and I'm not all that tired, but the yawning is starting and so I should be able to fall asleep quick enough.  

  sweet dreams, my darlings...



Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday is my favorite day of the week now...

  And this one was particularly good.  We started off the day with a late breakfast of a delicious veggie scramble, with carrots,onions,broccoli and cauliflower and kale and tomato in it. After we finished I cleaned up the dishes while the Mister went out to the garden to start harvesting turnips. He pulled up roughly a dozen plants, cut the tops off and brought me in a laundry basket full of greens. Then we cut them up, washed them, blanched them and froze them. I got 2 quarts of turnip greens off those plants. We have about another 35 or 40 plants. I'm going to try making kim chi with some of them, and we'll feed the chickens some of them and we'll compost some probably. I'll probably freeze at least another 3 or 4 quarts. Then we'll start on the kale.  :)

 After we finished and cleaned up, our plan was to head for the hills of apple country, about 45 miles from here. Calhoun County is our local apple and peach district... a floodplain area of beautiful Mississippi  River alluvium where the best fruit grows around here. It's really beautiful there and we figured we'd catch some fall colors and eat at one of the fish restaurants on the Illinois River for a late lunch. 

   We did actually see a lot of brilliant yellows and blazing reds too, but I never seemed to have the camera out at the right time.  lol
 The weather was a balmy 60 degrees (maybe) and clear and sunny. Really nice after yesterdays drizzly cold day.  After we had lunch we took the slow road back down the river, stopped at a roadside stand and got some pumpkins and apples and then took the ferry back across the river. There was a bit of a delay as the river was full of barges today.

Here's the view out the windshield of our car, we're right behind bicycle lady.

  And here's one of the big barges that went by.  

The Mighty Mississippi was as smooth as glass today.

We drove on down the River Road and stopped for a minute to take a picture of the Piasa Bird, which was recently touched up and is looking good and ferocious. You can learn more about this native American dragon here :http://www.altonweb.com/history/piasabird/

So, all in all it was a good day. We stopped at the big grocery store in Alton before heading home to pick up ingredients for the 4 soups we'll be making at my workshop tomorrow.  When we got home we hauled everything in and dropped onto the couch and watched some telly like the old folks we are.  lol

  Yesterday my son came over and installed the new sink in my bathroom. It was the typical male plumbing job, complete with much swearing and gnashing of teeth.  I told him I usually leave the house anytime the mister is doing any kind of plumbing work. It was a dismal day, grey and cold and rainy. When he finished up (almost) I suggested he take a ride with me to Rural King, where he could carry some 40 pound bags of dog and cat food to the car for me and I'd buy him lunch. So we did, and then hit the Chinese Buffet.  On the way home,. I asked if he wanted to stop in and see his grandma at the nursing home since we'd be driving right by it and he said yes, so we stopped and visited. She looked much better than last time I saw her and had company...2 old ladies that I knew from my former life being married to her son.  I know he has a hard time seeing her like this, she had a stroke and she just wants to go back home to the farm.  And they can't take care of her properly I guess, or they think they can't...so in the nursing home she stays.

Well, it's only Day 4 of NaNoWriMo and I'm already behind in my word count. LOL


 I should go write some and then go to bed.  It's already creeping up on midnight....sheesh.

  Have a great weekend all!!