Saturday, December 29, 2018

Hello there. It's me, Lovey. Virtually.

The Boss (so she thinks) is asleep.  Finally.  All this lights on, lights off stuff is wearing on my last nerve.  I keep trying to tell her - it's simple.  Fleece blankets, couch, sleep.  I've been curious about this blog stuff, so I thought I would attempt a mind-meld with her laptop.  OMG, what an antiquated piece of junk!  I'd mind-meld with her and let her know that she needs an upgrade, but I'd rather she spend all her money on our food and treats.

You won't be hearing from the Pat.  There is no way that small cranium can mind-meld with anything more complicated than a squeaky toy.  Too much chaos and noise.  He's not a bad brother, given the hot mess that he is, but he is entirely too twitchy for any serious concentration.  Speaking of concentration, no one could concentrate like my late brother, Scrappy.  He transferred his will upon the Boss, constantly.  She was putty in his paws.  There will never be another brother like Scrappy,  but the Pat isn't bad in a pinch.  He is awfully warm.

I'm not sure what the Boss has been saying about me/us, as, although I can mind-meld with computers, I can't read.  And telling me about it won't work either.  When I listen to Boss-ese, all I hear is "blah, blah, blah, blah, treat, blah, blah, blah, food, blah, blah, blah, outside."  You get the picture.  Where was I?  Ohfernatsake, I'm starting to turn into the Boss!  I go into another room to get a toy and totally forget why I'm there.  So, I have to sit, scratch and think about it.  That sends  the Boss into conniptions and she drags out that flea comb!  Doesn't she realize that is how dogs gather their thoughts?  We sit and have a nice scratch.

I better make this short - I can hear tossing and turning in the other room - the one with the really comfortable bed and closed door.  If she really loved us, we would be in there, on that bed and under that down comforter.  Instead, we are abandoned to our fate on the sofa, under six fleece blankets.  It is so unfair.  We should be hand-fed treats every fifteen minutes, just to make up the difference.

Before I un-meld from this dinosaur, let me add that it is NEVER, my idea to appear in clothing.  N.E.V.E.R.  The Pat has an advantage of being eel-like and able to squirm out of his sweaters.  I cannot.  And it has nothing to do with the fact that Grandma says I look like a loaf of bread.  Nothing whatsoever. 

Good night.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The time, it flyeth!

It's all a blur.  I owe a ton of thanks to my dearies out there who kept me perked up and feeling mightily blessed over the holiday (as they do throughout the year).  I will do a separate post on the particulars.

Let's see.  After the insomniac bear, I thought I should be proactive so that I wouldn't keep losing sleep (imagining him/her discovering the quail and ...) so I rigged up a very high-tech first-line bear defense system (FLBDS, or flubeds).  Voila!
Night vision version

Day vision version
It also had the added benefit of keeping the hoards of mourning doves off my feeder.  For a day.

Then it was time for Christmas!  I think I must have baked over 20 dozen cookies this year.  And they are all gone.  Some to family, some to friends.   A big box went to my postman, as he is retiring this year.  Darn. 

In my ongoing battle to keep waste at bay, I had to come up with some creative ways to wrap gifts.  This was for Marianne - three types of cookies (in cellophane bags), cowboy candy and spiced plum jam, plus a little something I picked up for her at the NH art fest.
Before 'wrapping'

After 'wrapping'
I had been given this vintage Mirro cake carrier and, since I am not a cake-baker and can't eat them anyway, it had been collecting dust on top of my cupboards.  I brought it down, washed it thoroughly, and bobsyeruncle!  The bow was collected from an old wreath.  I was quite pleased at how it turned out.

I did not finish the sparkly mitts that I was knitting for the young woman who cuts my hair, but they will be finished before my next appointment in January.
It's hellish, knitting dark yarn.
Luckily, I did finish the wrist warmers for Con and leg warmers for Cynthia, and socks for my auntie.  Speaking of socks, as is my tradition, I cast on my Christmas Eve socks.  And socks for Connie and socks for Cynthia's boyfriend.  I am so glad I am sticking to me "do less" goal for 2019.
Project bag line-up for morning knitting.  I need
an intervention...
The Saturday before Christmas, I dropped Marianne's gift off, then picked up the sandwich platter for the mechanics' lunch (another tradition) and, while I was there, mentioned my brakes were a bit spongey, could they adjust it?  They did.  And they found a broken stabilizer bar.  Well, of course they did.  However, they fixed it and didn't charge me.  I have visions of a newish, non SUV car dancing in my head, right along with the sugarplum fairies.

I made it home in time to whip up a batch of red lentil hummus (yummmeh!) and had a friend in for a glass or two of wine.  Then I fell into bed, was up bright and early on Sunday and cleaned the house.  My sister, Con, came to spend the day and night, as our youngest sister had come up to spell her for Christmas.  A good time was had by all.  Especially the dogs, who LOVE their Auntie.  I was very happy to have her company, as it was the second anniversary of the loss of my heart dog, Scrappy.  She made the day much more bearable.

Lovey giving in to all the Auntie
She came up with a fun way to break both of us out of our To Do List slump - the job jar!  We are going to fill a jar with jobs and choose one a week.  We must complete it in one week.  I think it will be a way better method of tackling my to-dos, as I tend to get mind freeze when I look at my three page, single-spaced list.  When she left Sunday morning, I was so energized, I cleaned my toaster until it shone.  I refuse to tell you how long it's been since its last cleaning...
I got a half-loaf of charbroiled crumbs
out of this baby.  And two twisty ties.
Monday was a slow day, relatively speaking, and I fixed the molded fruit salad for Christmas dinner and baked myself (and the barn guys) a gluten free apple cranberry cake.  It was delicious! 
After going through quality control.
I brought my youngest sister back with me on Christmas and she spent the night.  I took her into the city so she could catch her bus home, then I went to the office to rest....

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  It's alarming how fast this year came to an end!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Antifreeze of the Gods (and Goddesses) and Hibernation, Smibernation.

Another whizbang weekend.  Saturday was the usual shenanigans - as in, I went back to the mechanic because of a 'faulty sensor' (my diagnosis) and, when the garage owner came out from the bay looking a bit green around the gills, I speed-dialed my sister to pick me up.  Sigh.  Apparently, what I had self-diagnosed as a faulty sensor was my car's attempt at telling me my brake lines were leaking and I was headed for Flatsville.  As in brake pedal to the floor.  I suppose I should delete "auto mechanic" from my resume.  While I didn't actually cry when he told me that all my brake lines needed to be replaced and it would take 5-6 hours, I swear someone was slicing onions nearby.

Off with my sister to make our annual gingerbread men.  A mere three and a half hours later, my mechanic was on the phone - they decided to make their own lines and he put three guys on the job.  When I braced myself for the bill, he had knocked off 50% because I have spent so much on my car.  I almost kissed him.  In fact, I think I did.

I had invited a friend for dinner and had thought myself so clever and organized, planning a nice pot roast in the slow cooker function on my Instant Pot while I would be gone most of the day.  When I lifted the lid...the potatoes were hard and the meat tough.  Gasp.  I had put it on low, instead of high, and she was arriving in an hour!  Much pacing about and wringing of hands - until a dim bulb illuminated the one working cell in my brain and I realized there was a pressure cooking function!  Thirty minutes under low pressure and it was perfect.  Huzzah!  I think I kissed my Instant Pot, too.  Or, maybe it was Lovey.  The holidays bring out the romantic in me.

That was Saturday.

Sunday arrived with grey clouds (the norm) and icy rain, sleet, snow, rinse, wash, repeat.  Since it was a perfect day for indoor work, did I clean the house?  No, I did not.  I baked three kinds of cookies, blueberry gingerbread, GF oat bagels, and made another meal in my Instant Pot - Cheesy Chicken and Rice.  It was touted as the BEST chicken and rice.  It wasn't.  I also started a batch of Jun tea* and made a holiday family favorite - Swedish Glog (imagine the umlaut over the o).
Antifreeze of the Gods/Goddesses!
I am not lying when I say that this concoction - drunk hot - will start with the bottom of your feet and warm you right through your cockles and up to the top of your head.  A couple of times!  It's basically spiced wine and bourbon with caramelized sugar.  The two small jars in the pic are the blanched almonds and raisins that were brewed with it.  According to (our) custom, you place a few of each in the bottom of your cup.  This stuff is potent!

I also finished some gift knitting and ripped out another, but knitty stuff will be in another post.

Springing out of bed this morning, I was determined not to let the endless darkness slow me down and decided to get outside to do chores as soon as I could see where I was going.  Turns out, I must have just missed a 'visitor', who took down one of my bird feeders.
My boot print below.
Yes, a smallish bear had come browsing through the back.  He/she meandered around and ripped the bottom off one of the hanging feeders.  I know it's been almost balmy - Sunday and Monday were in the high 30s - but the temperature had dropped precipitously overnight and this morning's temp was in the low teens.  What about this hibernation business?!?  I am going to have to bring all the feeders in every night until I get a solar-powered motion detection spot light installed.  Brother.

Also coming this week is a peek at a care package that arrived Friday and put me over the moon.  It lifted my spirits and put the ho-ho back in my holiday.  I'll also try to remember to photograph my cookie packages as I put them together.  I've tried a few new recipes this year and most of them are keepers!

*Jun tea is like kombucha, but you make it with green tea and honey, as opposed to black tea and sugar, and it has it's own special SCOBY.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Mahem, pretty much as expected.

I was diligent last week, making cookie dough on allotted nights, so that I could spring into action Friday night and have everything set by Saturday morning.  Too bad I can't live totally in my mind, that place where everything goes so swimmingly.  The reality was a bit different.  *cough*  By Friday night I am toasted.  Every fiber of my being wants to vege out with a glass of wine, nachos and the dogs (and cat).  Having set myself a lofty goal in the opposite direction of 'vege', every fiber in my body revolted.  Well, at least every fiber in my brain.  I had put the Molasses Crinkles and Oatmeal cookie doughs to gradually creep towards room temperature in the guest room cum root cellar that morning and, not surprisingly, they were 'solid'.

*A little aside here - the Winter room temperature inside the estate house of the LLF, is a balmy 58 degrees Farenheit.  I am also notorious for using as little light as possible.  I don't know why and I am sure it is safer not to dive into that particular pool.*

After a brisk round of chores and bribing the dogs with duck jerky to leave me alone in the kitchen for a nanosecond, I preheated the oven, pulled up my BGPs, poured a glass of wine, put Christmas carols on the CD player, plugged in my fairy lights, rolled up my sleeves, put on my apron - and was exhausted.  Carrying on bravely (after all, this was for MARIANNE), I carved out the dough balls and baked the molasses cookies.  After vaguely sensing they might be more done than I could see (see aside above), I pulled them out just shy of overdone.  Next, the oatmeal cookies went in, to be frosted in the morning.  When those were done, the mixer bowl was washed and the coup d'gras, the Soft Pfefferneuse dough was mixed.  These are like a spicy, fruit cakey, moist dollop of deliciousness.  However, after mixing in the raisins, currants, golden raisins, chopped pecans, and candied lemon and orange peel, something seemed 'off'.  Hmmm.  I checked the containers for the candied peel, as I knew they had been lounging in the cupboard for a while.  I didn't see any expiration date (I again direct you to the aside).  As I walked the containers to the recycling bin, I caught sight of some very tiny printing on the outside rim of the lid.  Glasses donned, I read:  Best used by July 2011.  WTH?  Really?
Is that Mom I hear in the kitchen,
using bad language?
I sat down and contemplated my options.  It was now almost 10PM, which is past my bedtime and I did not have the ingredients for a second batch, anyway.  I decided to try some of the candied fruit, write my last will and testament (just in case) and leave the container lid on the counter, in case evidence was needed.  Or....I would live through the night and briefly contemplate actually baking and serving innocent people these expensive duds.  The good news was that I suffered no ill effects and decided not to experiment on the innocent citizens of Marianne's home town.  I made sugar cookies instead.
Some of the leftovers for
my neighbor - sprinkle sugar cookies
and frosted oatmeal.
I dropped off my cookies after my haircut and visit with my parents, but did not get to stay for the main event - which went without  a hitch and was a community hit.  There was the official tree lighting in the town square, followed by a school band playing carols, with a sing-along, followed by the arrival of Santa on an antique sleigh, pulled by a tractor - and then the whole kit and caboodle paraded after Santa to a local restaurant for cookies and hot chocolate.  It even snowed.  I have vowed to go next year.

Sunday arrived with .... hold onto your socks .... SUN!  Of course, it was brutally cold, but SUN.
SUN on icy trees.
I made another batch of sugar cookies for the barn, fed the farm cats and then mixed up some dog treats.  I got so tired of tripping over Lovey, that I lured them away with marrow bones (what would I do without them???)  I got a lot of little jobs done - none of them on The List, of course - and then binge-watched a BBC program on Wartime Farm.  It was a quite satisfying evening.
If you bigify, you can see all the bird feeding
stations - deck feeder, large hanging feeder, smaller
hanging feeder, two suet holders and a
thistle feeder.  We're covered.
I'll leave you with some lovely things and some chicken videos.
My lovely surprise card from

Fritz, in all his frizzle glory.

Morning coffee catch-up

Big Red
P.S.  Llamas and sheep love Pfefferneuse cookies, dodgy peel or not.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Who knew and randomness.

In all of my adult life, I have never tackled a pomegranate.  I have coveted them - but was secretly terrified of their uniqueness.  Star fruit?  No problem - you just slice it into neato little star shapes.  I have purchased pomegranates every winter.  And used them as part of a center piece.  It is pathetic.

Well, no more.
Virgin arils!
This winter started as all the rest - the lure of the deep red orbs was too tantalizing to pass by, and I bought three of them.  And they sat, as always, in my green glass bowl.  As I noticed that the top of one was turning brown, the guilt overcame me and I pulled up my well-worn BGPs (the elastic is starting to show the strain of too many energetic pulling-ups) and turned to my source of all things I need to learn - YouTube.  While it was not difficult, it was tedious and time-consuming and I have a new and healthy respect for the pricing of pomegranate juice.  And, something more - I love them, these brilliant arils!  I have put them on everything and I still have two more to open.  Geezlouise.


Under the category of, "If I Ruled", there is nothing that fries my grits faster than supposedly, 'green' products that have outrageously non-green packaging.  Case in point:
Spare me...
I am drinking a cup of turmeric-ginger tea every day to help with stiff joints.  I cannot take turmeric capsules, as they rip through my system in a very unpleasant way, but the tea does not and does very much make a difference.  I had run out of my favorite so took advantage of doing some shopping at a reasonably local natural grocery co-op.  Although this tea was on the precious side - precious name, precious box, precious description, it was touted as all natural, best thing ever, yada yada.  I paid twice as much as I usually do (the price was precious, too), but felt rather virtuous with my ultra-precious "Green" purchase.  Then I opened the box.  WTH.  Giant PLASTIC wrappings on every, single, precious tea bag.  If it hadn't been such a schlep to go back (think carbon footprint - I was cornered), I would have returned them.  Now, every time I want a cup of tea, I steam right along with my kettle.  Avoid this brand at all costs!  If I Ruled, there would be mandatory packaging information on every box, bag, crate, or can.  Not only would all ingredients have to be listed, but a detailed inventory of the inner packaging.  In this case, it would read:  Outrageously unnecessary large, PLASTIC, wrapping on Every.Single.Precious.Bag.  It's as bad as Amazon, sending non-reuseable plastic bubble bags, ten times larger than is necessary for its contents.  Don't get me started.  Oops.  Too late.


Tonight the cookie-making commences.  There are two cookies that can be mixed up ahead of baking by a few days.  I am taking advantage of that opportunity.  If I can stick to my schedule (oh, hahahahahahahahaha, I kill me!) I should be able to arrive in the late afternoon on Saturday with six or seven dozen perfect cookies on trays.  Snort.  We all know what the reality will be - a hot mess on trays, along with the baker.  I hope they are spiking the punch.


On a happier note, I received a little ray of sunshine in my mailbox this weekend.  A very lovely woman who reads my blog, sent the loveliest card!  She said it reminded her of me.  What a wonderful compliment.  There was no return address, so I can't respond in writing with my thanks - if you'd care to email me, I would love to thank you, virtually, in person.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Strapping in for the weekend.

'Tis the season!

I don't know what I'd do without my dry erase boards.  As long as I remember to list what I need to make, I am relatively sure I will be able to focus on the task.  Relatively.  Since we got 10 inches of snow on Tuesday into Wednesday (a 'little' more than the two inches predicted - where do they come up with their forecasts?  An Ouija Board?), I opted to take a snow day.  Other than shoveling my little arms off and dishing out the birdseed, I managed to make a half gallon of yogurt:
Have I mentioned how much I love
my Instant Pot?  Now that I fixed it?
And a batch of Mama Pea's cottage cheese.  The cookie list is for my holiday baking.  Marianne somehow (without trying on her part) got me all excited about a local town's tree lighting ceremony that she is spearheading.  Let me just add here that, if you want something done, call Marianne.  There is no stopping her.  She needed a list of local businesses and was given a handwritten list by the town clerk that was at least eight years out of date.  Yes, handwritten.  So, notebook in hand, Marianne visited every single business in her town and created an Excel spreadsheet, which she gave to the clerk.  I didn't even bother to put up a fight when she mentioned there would be a cookie table and visit with Santa afterward, nudge, nudge.  I am bringing seven dozen cookies.  Sometimes it's enough to be in the same room with her, to reenergize my batteries.

Almost all holiday gifts this year (and there are very few, thank goddess) are being handmade.  I have narrowed my list to people who appreciate them and my family, who have no choice.  Of course, my youngest sister has requested leg warmers and that kid has the longest legs in the family!  I've already given my mother a wool shawl in vibrant colors to brighten up our never-sunny weather, and a pair of socks.  I figure, since I refer to all gift knitting as 'seasonal' and not holiday, I can stretch the creation of same into February.  Crafty, ain't I?

I'm going to mix up the dough for a couple of the cookies ahead of time and then bake the whole mess next Friday night and Saturday morning.  The tree lighting is on the 8th, so I will try to remember to take pics - in the dark, hmmm.

Wednesday, when I was at the peak of morning shoveling, I heard a "kerthunk!" in the area of my sliding glass door.  I hurried over and there was a tiny White Breasted Nuthatch on the deck, stunned.  I gently picked him up and went to put him in a sheltered spot until he caught his breath.  He wouldn't loosen his grip on my glove, so I ended up doing chores one-handed, while having a lovely, one-sided chat with the little bit of wonderfulness.  It was totally enchanting.  After ten minutes or so, he perked up, yet still sat on my hand for another ten minutes longer.  I think it was because of the warmth of my gloved hand.  Whatever the reason it was pure magic.  He gave a little flutter, I lifted my hand in the air and off he went.

 I have a lot to do this weekend - sauerkraut, applesauce, making and canning vegetable broth, mending a gate, more shoveling, etc., etc.  I also need to pick up the ingredients for my famous Glog, a potent brew that will warm the cockles of your everything.  It's going to be a weekend of lists and more lists.  Much of my work will be inside because, well, they're predicting rain.

I mean...why not?

Monday, November 26, 2018

Little bursts of consciousness.

That could be the caption for most of the drivers that I follow into the city every morning.  They seem to navigate via little bursts of consciousness.  In the case of this post title, it is perfect for my memories of the past four days.  I always laugh when someone asks if I have enjoyed my mini vacation.  Whazzat?

I could beat you soundly around the brain cells with what all happened during the holiday season of Plan Bs - yes, some things never change - but, instead, I will give you a pictorial account in little bursts.

Wednesday - 2 degrees above 0.  Worked until 3:30, as the Nobs let us leave 'early'.  Then...
GF Pumpkin pie, made with Marianne's

Irish Oatmeal Cake with
Butterscotch frosting. 

Italian Ricotta Pie in an apple
slice 'crust' with rum-soaked raisins
Thursday - 5 degrees BELOW zero.  Pulled out my long underwear and found this attached:
Poor guy
I brought dessert (see above) and an appetizer.  Besides the dessert, there was not much I could eat, thanks to the fact that most of my family seems to forget that I am gluten intolerant.  Every. Single. Time.  So I had turkey, canned cranberry sauce, instant mashed potatoes (gark) and mashed rutabaga.
I didn't starve.  My dad was having a very bad day, so it was pretty much lacking in festivity. 

Friday - 19 degrees all day.  House cleaning and a futile drive a half-hour up to the vet to pick up Binkie's* sedative for his nail trimming/allergy shot Saturday morning.  I arrived to find they were closed - a little detail that was not shared with me when I called the day before Thanksgiving.  I was not pleased.

Saturday - RAIN.  Back up to the vet at 9A with an unmedicated pup to find that, because of the aforementioned holiday, their supplies didn't arrive and there were no meds for his allergy shot.  But they would do his nails for free.  I then spoke to them (probably through gritted teeth) that they had more than enough time to call me and give me the option of a free nail trimming OR waiting for the inevitable reschedule (during my work week).  Served them right that he ripped through his muzzle.
With his naked mouse ears and his warm,
stylish sweater from his cousin, Mandy.
He accompanied me to my oil change which, no surprise, ended up being a $850 oil change-cum-front-end-wheel-repair that took three hours instead of a half hour.  I think it's a bad sign that I don't even flinch now.  My sister picked us up and we entertained my parents during the ensuing wait.  I will say for my Binkie that he is an absolute delight and was very patient and loving with my demented father.  However, that shot our entire day and the only thing I managed when I got home, was to open a bottle of wine.

Sunday - WTH?  Made GF Applesauce Spice cake for the barn group.  It drizzled and rained all day.  The world must be grinding to a halt.  What is with this weather?  I cleaned the house, more or less, but just didn't have the oomph to get much done.  I did unload my crate of organic apples from Marianne, which didn't freeze in my car, thank goddess, and spent an inordinate amount of time knitting and letting the end-to-end episodes of Miss Marple wrap my aching brain in pink wooliness.  Bless her heart.  I could kiss the feet of Agatha Christie.
Still with the clay spray, but very delicious!
There is applesauce in my near future.
Monday.  Geezlouise, that was fast.  I thought you would like to see my 'wards' at the farmhouse.  I feed them every morning.
Boy Kitten on the left and Gracie on the right.
Just can't wait for the next holiday weekend.  (Can you hear the drip, drip, drip of sarcasm there?)

*Peanut Butter/Butter Pat/Pat seems to respond better (as in actually comes when I call him) to Binkie.  Go figure.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Leaving Ma Nature to her own devices.

I don't know how many times I have tried - in vain - to wrestle my garden into submission.  I suppose it is the arrogance we humans have, thinking we have control over all that goes on around us.  I am foiled every single growing season.  This past season was no different.  Even though I greatly downsized my garden - due to apathy and poor planning - I still tried to will my tomatoes to flourish.  I bullied my kale.  I cajoled my beans.  I pleaded on a daily basis with my peppers.  Pfft.

While I was wheezing, whining and windging away, two volunteer yellow pear tomato plants, from at least two years ago, popped up next to the old tomato bed.  I was too busy carrying on to be bothered yoinking them out, so they went on doing what tomato plants do when they are left alone - they grew.  And grew.  Pretty soon, not only were they the largest and healthiest plants in my garden, but I didn't have the heart to yoink them because they at least gave the outward appearance that my garden flourished.

It's really amazing how easily one (I) can manage to ignore something so large and invasive.  They ended up sprawling over two raised beds and all the pathways between.  I didn't give them the time of day.  There was no blight.  There was no disease.  I wish I could have said that about the tomato plants I DID plant.

After the relief of the first light frost, I couldn't clear the beds fast enough.  However, while preparing to give the volunteers the old heave-ho, I realized that they were covered with little green tomatoes.  I did a quick mental review of all my pickling recipes and decided that I would pick them all, green, and then pickle them to serve with martinis.

I picked two gallons of little elongated orbs.

I brought them inside and pulled out my pickling cookbook.  Then I got distracted and they sat in their buckets for weeks.  I happened to look down after a couple of weeks - and actually focused for two minutes - and realized that some were ripening.  So, I made it a habit to pull out the ripening tomatoes and leave the rest for pickling.  Ahem.  I am sure you all know me well enough to know that I never did pickle them.  Instead, I have been enjoying handfuls of ripe yellow pear tomatoes for months.  I just reached the bottom of the second bucket and I feel rather bereft.

I believe, this next year, I will just toss over-ripe tomatoes here and there and see what develops.

P.S.  Kale takes quite well to bullying...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Welcome to the House of Liver!

This past weekend was pretty much 50 percent high frustration and 50 percent satisfaction.  That's not bad, given my usual percentages.

On Saturday, I was scheduled to pick up my latest foster dog (I know, I know), so I headed out to meet him at a halfway point - about an hour and a half away.   An hour and a half on the highway.  Have I mentioned how much dread befalls my heart for every second I have to drive on any road with more than two lanes?  We met, moved the old gentleman from her car to mine, exchanged paperwork and then off I went.  C was 13, had been found as a stray - later found to have been adopted many years prior and then dumped when he was old, tottery and was tested positive for heartworm.  Don't get me started.  I figured it was worth the trip, as I have a very soft spot in my heart for senior dogs/cats and he had been deemed good with all animals, large and small.

Within 10 minutes of being introduced to the kitchen - the "introduction area" for all fosters - he peed on the floor twice, on two beds and left me a 3 lb 'package'.  After having been walked outside for 15 minutes.  This was without starting his prescription for Prednisone.  Gah.  Still, he was a sweet boy and had a friendly, low-key interest in L & P.  Then Slimmie sauntered by to see what all the hubbub was about.  C went into laser focus and, had I not been physically nearby, would have taken down any barrier to get at him.  Sigh.  I keep forgetting that, when dogs are assessed in a kennel situation, they are usually a) shutdown or b) super-hyper and are not their true selves.  I am very lucky that the rescue I foster for are very responsive and sensitive and jumped on the problem right away.  A spot was found for C at the kennel they work with - and not an hour from me - so back into the car we went.  By the time I got him there and settled and got back home, it was almost dark.  I poured myself a healthy measure of an adult beverage, sat on my chair and a half and was covered with much-relieved furry bodies.  Other than that?  Nothing got done.

Which led to Sunday's madness.

Remember this?
As of Sunday night - and, since I
only half-cleaned the gardens, I didn't
check it off.  I'm virtuous that way.
Full disclosure:  I didn't do everything on that list on Sunday.  I just built the quail hutch stand, cut Lovey's nails, put metal flashing over all signs of entry and other flat surfaces that the rats have attacked on the chicken coop, ran the extension to said coop, set up the bird feeders, cut the tarps off the hoop house and took down all the wood sheathing, moved the hoop house (slowly and painfully) back to its original position, baked oatmeal raisin cookies for the barn, made a pot of lentil/quinoa soup, another round of GF bagels and....

Made liver treats for the dogs.  My friend who raises Randall beef cattle had given me an entire beef liver (7+ lbs) and a beef heart, along with 30 lbs of marrow bones.  Just to show you how much I love my dogs, I processed 2# of beef liver and 6 cloves of garlic in my food processor (totally gross), then mixed two cups of organic, GF oats into the mess, spread it in a pan and baked it in a slow oven for two hours.  There are many baking aromas I love, but baked liver is not one of them.  Pfft,  However, these make great, healthy treats and you can't beat the cost.
Finished product
My friends, S & C, dropped by to help me move the quail hutch onto the new, sturdier base, and I gave them a bunch of treats for their huge crew.  I also gave my dairy farmer neighbor some for his seven rescue Chihuahuas (don't even knock on their door), as he delivered and stacked the rest of my hay!

While I was stripping down the hoop house, I let Lovey and the Pat tear-ass around the double fenced enclosure.  What a ball they had!  The Pat was airborne most of the time and they romped and rassled and had a grand time of it.  After days and days of rain, it was nice to have a second day in a row with no wetness.
Out cold.

There's a Butter Pat under that
pile of blankets
We all staggered in around 4:30 and collapsed.  The dogs were roused briefly for dinner and then returned to the sofa, where they stayed until breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, this is my new breakfast du jour - roasted Delicata squash with a butter pat (not of the furry variety)!
Delicata Delicioso!

Monday, November 5, 2018

It was like Wizard of Oz, but not as entertaining.

As with most of the country, our weather has been...challenging.  It seems as if any change in temperature must come in violently.  No pussy-footing around, when it comes to the weather.

We have had two such incidents, where our balmy October/November temps (!!!) have been temporarily swept through by a cold front, bringing with it raw, wet weather and high winds.  A week ago, the Saturday of the undone Halloween party, we were under a wind advisory.   I battened down everything I could think of (as in tied down the bright, new cover on my fuel tank enclosure to within an inch of its life), weighted or moved buckets, etc.  Then went inside and tried to ignore the howling.  After delivering the meals to neighbors - and getting buffeted across two lanes, to and from my destination, I came home to this.
You may need to bigify.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo - there has not been any sunlight with which to properly light anything.  We have had over 5 inches of rain in the last three days - never mind the weeks prior.  One does not walk, one squelches.

I took the tarps off after it was lifted and moved (wind howling and me hoping a flying branch wouldn't finish me off) so that the wind wouldn't further toss it onto my newly stretched fence.

I am now up to 6000 units of D3 a day.  Enough about the weather.

The one bright spot during the past week was a quick and wonderful visit with Sylvie!  I took a day off and we crammed enough culture into it to carry me through the month.  She is the cheerleader of my finer self.  We walked for miles through MASS MoCA, a fascinating museum that houses all manner of contemporary art exhibits - some massive

Parts of the massive exhibit by Liz Glynn,
a very thought-provoking, poignant
Afterwards, we dodged the inevitable pelting rain and had lunch in a nice little pub-style cafĂ© in North Adams, MA, hit a local Goodwill - where they had tons and tons of jeans (what I need) but none of their clothing was arranged by size.  Needless to say, we were in and out in minutes.  We then bought dinner ingredients and a frame and...
Sorry for the blurry pic.
Sylvie has an uncanny ability to look at a space and be able to visualize objects within it, in a perfect layout.  Her friends take advantage of her skills unabashedly.  I apologize for the blurry photograph - we were totally knackered by the time we finished and we still had to make dinner!  I will take a better pic later.

I am working on another pair of socks - for me - and I am very happy with the pattern.  Once these are finished, I am on to holiday knitting.
Since I took this photograph, I've finished #1 and started
on #2.
I woke up Sunday morning (oh thank you for the time change, whatever idiots were in charge, those many years ago) to...NO RAIN!  As a matter of fact, the sun actually came out a few times.  I hung a load of laundry on the clothesline - be still my heart!  I also got a little giddy and made a list for the day.
I know.
However ridiculous, I did managed to check off half of the list, do three loads of laundry, do three things NOT on the list, clean (as in vacuum and sweep) the house, and make a pot roast in my Instant Pot.  I will squeeze in the rest as I can this week.  If it doesn't rain this coming weekend (pleasegod), I hope to get the sheep all set for winter.  This will put me in good shape - at least for the critters.  Then I can sit inside, watch videos and eat bon bons.

Quite so.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Scary things. Sweet things.

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I have flounced into the office with my very special witch's hat firmly in place.  To hell with protocol.  I am secretly hoping the traitors have a client in the office so I can parade by....(insert evil cackle).

Let's start with the sweet things.

I could eat her with a spoon.
I don't know how people get such great photographs of their dogs in costumes.  Of course, it is difficult to hold a treat in one hand and try to click a pic with the other.

Pat the Bat
The only costume that will stay on the Pat (aka Peanut) involved a harness.  But he is so wiggly that the wings were constantly askew.  Still, he is a dumpling and as sweet as one.

Meringue 'ghosts' for the Barn guys
Mummy meatballs
I had so much fun recreating the party that was not.  Since I had gotten all the supplies, I figured I'd go ahead and make it all and spread it around.  It turned out to be a very good thing to have postponed the party - we had rain and gale force winds all day on Saturday.  It did a Wizard of Oz number on my hoop house, but that's another post.

Main course
I did a Meals on Wheels gig to my second parents and neighbor - the recipe was from Martha Stewart but I realized, early on, that Martha must have had special Martha Pumpkins.  I tried to get the smallest pie pumpkins I could find and they still were too big!  Luckily, parents no. 2 managed two meals out of the delivery.  The pumpkins were filled with a sausage/bean stew that took two days.  I believe we can count on this being a one-off.

Speaking of pumpkins, I am steadily filling the freezer with roasted pumpkin.  Thanks to the cancellation of the party, I have five more to process.  I should be set.  For the millennium.  This was the second Long Island Cheese pumpkin I roasted:

From Marianne's farm.  Even the stem is perfect.

Beautiful dark orange goodness.
These are not mine, but some of my very creative youngest sister's creations:

This is as creative as I got:

My party centerpiece
I imagine that it would have driven my poor, old dad out of the door.  I don't think he can grasp Halloween anymore.  I'm looking forward to tonight - my bestie is arriving for a two-night stay!