Monday, September 24, 2018


Fact:  It is unwise to drink your coffee from your Calamity mug when assembling anything, let alone something made in China.

Fact:  It is unwise to try to hold your drill, screws, two large parts together, then decide to brace up one of those parts without divesting yourself of one of the other objects.  (Bruise on foot caused by dropping drill not pictured.  You're welcome.)

Fact:  You will regret speed shopping.

Fact:  Chefs from fancy restaurants create recipes that involve many, many pots, pans, utensils, and ingredients because they don't have to clean up after themselves. 

Fact:  Blatant Pollyannaism will come back to bite you on your butt.  Big time.

I started this weekend on a full-steam-ahead theme - if, for nothing else, to divert me from all the crap that is going on.  More on that later (see last fact).  I was going to TRY NEW THINGS.  Ergo:
Why is it my menu list is in
all capitals, while my shopping list is in
initial caps with lowercase?

Granted, the bagels are not new - they are a weekly staple - but everything else was new to me.  There was a new twist on the bagels, however.  Whilst going through the supermarket a just under the speed of light - having to squeeze it in between leaving home and arriving a work on time - I failed to notice that I had plucked vanilla flavored Greek yogurt from the plain yogurt slot because, you know, it was too much trouble for the previous shopper to put it back where it came from.  I did manage to squeeze out almost enough from my own yogurt, but had to make up the difference by about a third of a cup.  You could tell.

I had picked up a used cookbook entitled "The Greens", thinking it was a cookbook about GREENS - kale, chard, spinach.  When I finally cracked it open, I realized it was about a vegetarian restaurant of some renown (not renown to me, however).  There were quite a few recipes that piqued my interest, so I pulled up my BGPs and forged ahead.  After about 10 minutes, it became clear that, while obviously a talented cook, he was not one to take any shortcuts.  No pan should remain clean, no cooking utensil unused.  Gritting my teeth, I decided to inject myself into the recipe, so shortcuts were used (didn't have two days to soak and cook beans in a "special' broth) and I will say that everything I made was tasty.  But I was washing dishes almost the whole weekend.
Eggplant gratin - with canned white
beans (mine), not bathed in special
I did not take a picture of the spiced potatoes, but they were/are fab!  I served them over sautéed garlic kale and felt absolutely virtuous.

The pear crisp came about out of self-defense.  My pear tree, sweet old girl, is absolutely covered in pears!  This is the first time in 13 years under my limited care that she has produced more than four pears.  We got a good, hard wind a couple of times last week, and there were quite a bit of them scattered about.  I did a little research and found a promising recipe for gluten free pear crisp.  It was/is delicious!

If you have been keeping track, you will notice that there is no mention of the Pumpkin Scones.  There is a reason for that - I still have to make pumpkin SCONES.  What I made was Irish Pumpkin Soda Bread Scones.  Sigh.  After slipping them into the oven, I started to put away the ingredients and found - to my horror - that I had made them with 2.5 teaspoons of baking SODA, not the baking powder required.  I baked them - they were quite puffy...snort -- and cooled them and added the maple glaze.  Then I trotted them to the barn and confessed.  They were all eaten, which is a reminder that I should not try and pat myself on my back for my baking prowess, as these guys will eat anything with a glaze on it.

Clear as mud
I managed to find an adaptable (let's hope) rabbit hutch kit that should suffice for the quail over the winter and through the summer - I don't have hopes for much more.  But it was affordable, I had a coupon and a gift card that reduced the price even more.   At first I was pleasantly surprised - all the hardware was present and in separate packets and there weren't a million steps.  This can be both a good thing, and a bad thing.  What started out well, quickly went downhill.  I admit that at least half of the blame is my lack of patience and focus.  Ergo, the bruised foot. (See Fact 1 and 2).  I should have picked a more positive coffee mug...
but, but... I love it!
I took the assembly as far as it made sense and then stopped before even more calamities befell me.  I am switching out roosters (Mr. Bunny has attacked me once too often) with my friends of the very handy persuasion and they are going to come to my aid this next weekend.  This is where it stands (besides in my living room):
The Butter Pat (aka Peanut) continues to prove that the smaller they are, the more expensive they are.  We celebrated his 4th birthday on Saturday with me shelling out $70+ more on new meds.  He is, as we say where I'm from, a hot mess.  The good news is that his back is healing, which has him all fired up (good/bad).   His allergies came roaring back a mere two weeks after his allergy shot.  To hold us over until his follow-up appointment (in which I have - strongly - requested we start looking at WHAT is causing his allergies, as opposed to throwing meds at him), he's on prednisone for five days.  I feel infinitely sorry for him, locked in his crate 90% of the day, so we have been sharing the chair in the morning from 3-6, when I start the morning chores.  This has thrown Slimmie for a loop, as he is Mr. Velcro when I am sitting.  I've promised him evenings.  Kids.

On a bright note, I hung my stained glass sun in the window - it makes me smile every time I look at it - even at night!

Now, for the Pollyannaism reference.  As you all know from following me these..eight years...good grief...I tend toward the positive at all times.  No matter what.  I have found that it has served me well because you feel a whole lot better if you take the time to find the positive in any dire situation.  I had been reflecting, not so long ago, at how lucky I was to be working with the two other people in my office because we were all low-key and had formed a little tribe.  Well, I was wrong.  In a big way.  The day after Labor Day, I was informed by the head of this little tribe that she had quit and was taking #2 tribe member with her.  In other words, I had been kicked to the curb.  After 20 years in this job (through two mergers and countless idiots), the end is near.  The prospect of having to work up a resume, schlep my sorry ass out to interviews, where I would have to convince people that, even though I had a plan to retire in two years, I would be worth the investment.  To make things even more angsty (if that is not a word, it should be), this is what I've heard from HQ *insert crickets* so I have no idea when, where or what.  I am like my dogs - I need the sturdy underpinnings of routine to make my world right. 
It seems, however, that this Pollyannaism has become an integral part of my DNA.  I keep interjecting moments of pure, happy power that a CHANGE IS COMING, HURRAY!!!  This tends to dip into hand-wringing.  So, fasten your seatbelts.  I am.

Monday, September 17, 2018


Three days ahead of schedule

As I stood in my kitchen Saturday afternoon, listening to the frantic peep of something outside (I thought), I happened to glance down at the incubator and - a quail had hatched!  Three days ahead of schedule!  Out of the 18 eggs I received from Alchemist Farm (I can't say enough good things about them), 9 eggs have hatched as of this morning.  Two more have pipped, so there may be more.

One seems to have a problem with splayed legs, but the rest are thriving.  I had forgotten how fast they move!  The only safe way I can move them from incubator to brooder is in a little bucket with a towel laid loosely on the top.

Hot, humid weather has revisited us (will it NEVER go away?) so not much has been done outside.  We are waiting for the arrival of the remnants of Florence tomorrow. 
Sweater #1
In my quest to get things finished, I blocked Sweater #1 - my green, lace weight cardigan that I love.  I will, however, never again knit a sweater in lace weight yarn.  Sweater #2 will be blocked tonight and then I can move onto socks - my comfort knitting.

My latest obsession
I scored some donut pans and now I am doing all thing donut.  I've made GF Vegan Pumpkin donuts (pictured above) and Apple Cider donuts (not pictured but almost identical looking to the GFVPs).  I give the GFVPs a solid "meh".  They are way too 'wet', if you know what I mean.  The Apple Cider donuts were given to the barn crew and disappeared in about a nanosecond.  I did not coat them with more sugar, as they had plenty of sugar in the mix.  Next week, it's chocolate donuts!  Whee!

Looking ahead at the weather forecast, our hot weather is finally going elsewhere and I have to start thinking about moving tender perennials inside.  My sister gave me a beautiful mandevilla that needs to be over-wintered inside

and I still have to decide whether or not I will be overwintering my geraniums for another winter.  Frugal me says, yes.  It's going to be a little crowded with everyone jammed in - there's the lemon tree and the fig tree, too.  We'll be nice and cozy...

Speaking of cozy, Slimmie has reached maximum relaxed mode...

Monday, September 10, 2018

Down Periscope!

I took a couple of days off last week, both to recover from the previous week and because I had some appointments that would have made it too hectic to be here, there, everywhere and in the office. 

Peanut Butter - also know as The Pat - was whisked off to the vet on Thursday.  This is now part of my daily ritual:

The one on the left is Lovey's...
He managed to, once again, injure a disc in his mad dashing about with the Evil Fly.  We also celebrated the first anniversary of his adoption.  Boy, it seems a whole lot longer than a year - and many of hundreds of dollars under that little bridge.  He is on two pain killers and a muscle relaxer, and is confined - once again - to his crate.  The good news is that Lovey seems to be making progress in healing her torn ACL!   Woohoo!  We take good news where we can.

Since I had a little extra time off, my sister and I met at The Clark and took in a couple of new exhibits.  Our favorite was up the hill behind the museum at a lovely, new space, where we sat mesmerized for quite a while, hooked on the swaying and rustling of Jennifer Steinkamp's birch trees in her Blind Eye exhibit.  It was another hot, humid day, but we decided to opt out of the air-conditioned shuttle and we sauntered off down the trails through the woods to the main museum complex.
The Lunder Center at Stone Hill

Lovely view... :)

Trail down the hill, through the
woods and to the main museum
We then went into Williamstown and had a very nice lunch at a Thai restaurant and caught up on recent events and Dad care.  She is a treasure.

I spent the next day weeding and filing - obviously doing penance for some horrendous crime against the Universe, for which I am apparently getting my comeuppance.  Because of this new bump in the road, I will be only posting sporadically, so I thought it only fair to warn you - and it is not due to health problems, my little petals, just in case you were worried.  Oh, no.  Just a non-ending yuk-fest the Universe is having at my expense.

I leave you with my new posh, fancy-schmancy fuel tank enclosure.  It just warms the cockles of my heart to be able to reuse something of this magnitude.  I had inherited a friend's old deck awning - in perfect shape, just faded.  I've had this in storage for years and, after last year's winter beating, the cheap-ass tarps that come from China, cost a pretty penny and don't last worth a damn, had shredded off the enclosure.  My "new" one has scalloped edges!  How fun!  Excuse the dirty 4x4 holding the long edge down - by the time I finished (with the help of my trusty 84 y/o neighbor), we were both beat and just grabbed the first thing that came to hand.  I have to tell you that it just cheers me up when I go out the back and catch sight of it!
I love the scalloped edges!
Whimsy AND function!

I will pop up and post when I can - and will try and keep up with all your writings as well. xo

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Up Periscope!

Since there is a lot of time unaccounted for, I will give you the Cliff Notes version of the past week and a half:
  • Visit with BFF thwarted - but at least half my house was cleaned.
  • Week from Hell at the office - where the stress meter was off the charts all. week. long.  I believe they want me to retire or commit hari kari.
  • Gluten Free Chinese food - was not.
  • Easy Clambake on the Grill, turned into Not-Quite-As-Easy Clambake in the Oven, thanks to a faulty propane tank
  • The fun continues - Stress level with family jumps a few levels.
  • The Universe intervenes and makes me take naps all day Sunday.
  • Summer decides to revisit and the heat and humidity index does a number on us all.
  • The Butter Pat re-injures his back due to a fly-related incident.
Slogging up the front path on Saturday, I spied a box perched on my front deck.  You know that feeling - you are a kid at Christmas and there is a box that is just the right size for that thing you want more than anything in the whole world....and you are almost afraid to open it because it might be underpants....or socks....but then it IS that thing that will make the clouds part and the sun shine?

Not an injured one in the lot.
After I admired them for a while, I ate six.  Then I weighed out enough for my all-time favorite jam and will carefully mete out the rest.  OMG.  They are so delicious.  Michelle, you are an angel.
During the stressfest, I managed to make cowboy candy and a new, wonderful zucchini recipe:
My first Cowboy Candy

Zucchini cheddar scones - Gluten Free!
It's been difficult to muster up the energy to do much, inside or out.  Summer appears to be loathe to leave and our heat and humidity spiked - again - and won't be leaving until the end of the week.  I am so totally over it.  I want to take a flame thrower to my garden, but it's too hot. 
I did spend the one cool-ish day we had outside:
Freshly weeded and mulched.
I'm going to split and transplant hostas along the back edge of this bed - but it will have to wait until next spring, as it is way too difficult to split hostas that are all leafed out.
Since Sunday was a wash and Monday's humidity was of the breathing-through-a-wet-sponge variety, I turned to something on my to-do list.
Small wardrobe - Before
Hole for cords

Tightly fitted shelf insert
(notice mallet)

Second shelf in - no mallet

Wardrobe - After - Entertainment
I will have to admit that I was very proud of myself.  It's not of the Ed-Quality, but it is sturdy, fits in the space and is adequate for my needs.  I still need to stain the insert to match and I have plans for murals on the insides of the doors, but it's pretty much done.
Lovey was exhausted from helping me sort
the DVDs.
The only issue is that it crowds out the dog crate.  So, you ask, why is that a problem?  Because Peanut Butter has re-injured his back and must now be confined until it's better.  I don't know how it happened, but it had to involve an ordinary house fly.  The Butter Pat has an intense fear/hatred for flies.  I assume it is because, in his past life of neglect and cruelty, he was confined 24/7 in a crate and the urine, etc. drew flies and it must have been pure hell for him.  The irony of having to confine him to a crate is not lost on me.  I leave him out as much as possible, but he is not the sharpest tack in the box and will try to fling himself up on the sofa, if I'm not watching.  We have an appointment at the vet for his allergy shot, so we will just segue into this new pickle.  Never a dull moment.  Never.

My next dilemma?   How to preserve my bean harvest.
Can?  Freeze?  Dinner?