Tuesday, July 7, 2020

What's missing from this picture?

This is a terrible nightime picture, and we need to fix the shelf and actually arrange things but the answer is "the television ". The television is missing. It's about time. Husband and I determined the other day that probably 99% of the household bickering and stinky attitudes were related to the television.  Or rather what the television was not providing; physical activity, imaginative play and reading. Granted I think we did mostly ok with limiting what the kids were watching but let's be honest a person can only handle so much Paw Patrol. I had already banned Curious George, my own personal Hell. 

So while the kids and I were at my dad's the other morning (the oldest and I had another creature adventure in the creek) my husband put the television somewhere.  Possibly the garage. Don't know and don't care. 

My husband and I went for years without a television and were perfectly happy. It was by choice not poverty. If we really, really got the urge to watch Jeopardy we went to my parents house. But the thing is when people notice the lack of a television in your house they try to hard-sell give your their old ones. Maybe out of pity. We refused several before we allowed this one in the house and I don't remember whose hand me down it was, possibly my in-laws. 

So the television dissapeared.  Guess what happened? After a minor tantrum the oldest got over it and we read, no joke, over 20 stories yesterday.

Today we sat on the porch in the rain and when it was done the kids went outside and spackled this tree stump with mud for over half an hour. They were wet and dirty and happy.  I mean, we do this kind of stuff anyway but now we'll be doing more of it. 

Plus! I also have this little corner for my "after the kids go to bed" stuff: a sewing project, Postcrossing supplies, journal, current book and a deck of cards.

Who knows how long this will last. Hopefully for awhile.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

A gosling, a birthday, journaling & the story of Bee

We had a baby gosling hatch on the little guy's birthday. It was the only one of her many eggs to make it.  The gosling is absolutely adorable and all three adult geese are acting like fussing aunts over it. So far the adults have also stayed well-mannered and their behavior has actually improved now that they have a "job" to occupy themselves with.

Here's a video of mom and baby the day it hatched. The area had to be quickly "baby-proofed" with a tiny step to get in and out of the area, bricks in all of the water dishes and a shallow baking pan set out for the baby to drink out of.

For the little guy's birthday we spent a fun morning at the lake. There was a ton of swimming and sandcastle building.

He's adorable. And two already! Later that evening we had a little cake but the the "big" party came Friday. My niece turns 6 next week so the 2 of them had a joint party here with just family. Social distancing precautions are really starting to get old.

Here are the cakes.

The kids had so much fun together. They were all so glad to see each other. There was also a tiny baby in attendance which our two just cannnot get enough of. The birthday boy mostly just wanted to be with her saying things like "Where bebe go?" any time she was out of his sight.

The town usually has a big to-do for the 4th of July weekend with fireworks and a huge car show. Of course all of that was canceled this year and I was really sad about it. Even more so coming home from my dad's last night with the kids in the car and they could see the random small fireworks people were putting off in town. They were so interested and I felt terrible. HOWEVER.  Our neighbor across the street saved the day. This guy put on a fireworks show for over half an hour with professional grade fireworks. It was nicer than what the town puts on. I don't care if it was legal or that we haven't had rain in a week and everything is bone dry. 

It was such a gift to see the kids just beside themselves with excitement. The youngest did not fall asleep until midnight. 

I've been keeping up with my bullet journal and it's become a big part of my day.

Here is my tracking page for June. Just holding myself accountable in this way has completely changed some of my behaviors.  For the first time I'm doing things like consistently taking my medications and eating enough fruits and vegetables.  Before this I could go days without taking my zoloft or eating a vegetable.  The good side it's totally changed my diet and I've actually lost 3 lbs. The bad side is that the better I treat myself and my diet, the more disgusted I am with how overweight I am. Which would be a good motivator but 6 months pregnant I'm not sure what I can do about it.  So, there's that. I also need to really step it up with reading to the kids apparently. 

Tracking my activities is a good motivator for fitting in activities not normally given time. I read a book this month! In bits and pieces, late at night, but still.

This is a good summer read.

Here is the back.

This holiday weekend was our Bee anniversary. It was 10 (I think?) years ago that we found her as a tiny kitten while we were canoeing in a swamp in the middle of nowhere. The nearest house was over a mile away. We have no idea how she ended up where she did and it was a million tiny choices that led us to her that day. But she found us, crying from the bank of the swamp and following the canoe.  Bee was so little I could fit her in one hand. We took her home and fed her cat food and tuna. We already had enough animals so we tried to find her another home.

 Then she spiked a fever of 107, which I didn't know was possible.  It turned out she had a really disgusting parasite from being at the swamp. It had burrowed into her neck and she almost died from it. They removed it at the vet and gave her antibiotics. For a week she was so weak she needed to be held up to eat, drink and use the litterbox. Then tucked back into bed. After that I wouldn't hear of her leaving. And here she is all these years later.

She makes our lives better every single day.

This week is going to be very hot, mid 90's, so I'm not sure what our plans are. Not much of anything probably. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A week of life

Here are some of the pictures collected over the past week or so as I sit in the TSC parking lot waiting for the lady who is buying these two goofballs*

That lid isn't very secure but I ran out of duct tape. Also they definitely just pooped in the car :(

These tiny wild berries are starting to ripen. The oldest and I eat them by the handful. It looks to be a good berry year. The cardinals have gotten most of the red currants. I did put up fencing and netting this week to protect what was left and also the blueberries. The youngest loves to grab handfuls of green berries off of the bushes so now they're protected.

Quail eggs are still in the incubator and puttering along.

I butchered a rooster Sunday that was just being miserable.  He will be dinner Thursday. 

One of the chickens was quite literally scalped yesterday morning by another hen. It was the whole back of her head down to the bone. I doctored her up while trying to keep breakfast down. It looks horrible but I think she'll be fine. She better be as my son has named her "little peep".  If things go south there is conveniently another hen who looks identical to her. L, if you read this, that's what was going on when you called yesterday morning.  Chicken carnage.

What else... I crawled under the chicken coop last night and took up all of the goose eggs.  That was so gross and not fun. Out of 11 there was only one good one but it looks close to hatching! I hope we have a gosling in the next day or 2. So... instead of getting rid of the geese we may end up with another one. Go figure. 

 I found the missing hen out in the shed nesting in a laundry basket we use to cover the squash transplants. I don't think this bird has ever in her life actually laid an egg in a nest box. This is her 5th hidden nest so far this year. The others I've taken so she didn't get eaten by some predator but I give up. She wins this time.

That's a ton of eggs.

We finally have a porch swing! The oldest  and I painted it an my husband hung it this week. We all love it. We need a real outdoor pillow.

It's hard to get a shot of the whole garden but here at least is some of the kale.  The garden looks so pretty this season. 

Here are some lillies by the tiny shed. Which has a massive snake living in it. We have so many snakes this year, 4 different types so far. I don't mind them.

We took a nice walk as a family on the rails to trails path, I forget what day.

Here are the kids chucking rocks into the swamp.

Right by this massive water snake which took us awhile to notice.

Here is a hatched snapping turtle nest in the railroad bank.

Friends invited us over for a pool party last night. We got to see their new house, meet the puppy and hold their beautiful smells-like-milk-and-powder baby girl.  I am grateful that our youngest is not put out by me holding a baby. Yet.

There was a day when we were all outisde and got caught in a downpour. The youngest refused to get off the trampoline and here he is in the pouring rain having the time of his life. It was a great unexpected gift to stand in the warm downpour.  He turns two years old tomorrow. Time goes fast.

Here is a picture the oldest took of me. The baby and I have officially hit the 6 month mark. We are narrowing down names for another little boy.

Woke up before everyone else this morning and made doughnuts from scratch. They took no time at all and made everyone happy.

It's going to be another hot day with us hiding inside. We may go to the lake tomorrow morning.

*The little bantams went to a nice lady from the next town over. We are 2 chickens lighter and $25 richer.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Cast iron chocolate chip cookie

I've seen these big "baked in a cast iron skillet" cookies a couple of places recently. They looked super easy and yummy. Today the oldest and I made one for a Father's Day treat. I used the recipe from the website Modern Honey. Here are the ingredients:

You're supposed to melt the butter in a cast iron skillet, add the sugars and dissolve them in the hot butter then stick the whole thing in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool. Then you mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Frankly this seems bizarre to me unless you're really willing to risk warping an heirloom quality skillet to save washing a bowl. And isn't it difficult to mix in the rest of the ingredients with the now hardened butter in a shallow sided vessel? Anyway. So we did it the regular was with the mixer, using the wisk attachment to blend the sugars with the melted butter and the paddle attachment.  We hand cut the dark chocolate chunks and folded them in with a spatula.

Here it is in the skillet. The recipe made a thick batter as opposed to a dough.

And here it is at 325 for 27 minutes.  I overbaked it. It was supposed to be gooey in the center but is definitely more of a dipping cooking. But very good. 

Especially good with vanilla ice cream.  It was wonderful after the great steaks my husband did on the grill. He's a good cook and a wonderful husband and father to our little guys.

The oldest and I will absolutely make this cookie  again. Regularly.  I cannot bake a chocolate chip cookie to save my life but this took all of the stress out of it. I want to remember that next time we should use the smaller iron skillet (10 inch as opposed to 14) hopefully giving us a chewier cookie. Plus it will solve the "how to store" problem as the iron durch oven lid fits over the smaller skillet. So hooray to trying new things!

Speaking of new things, this cat was staring in our front door tonight. It is not our cat. Please, God, let this be a curious visitor and not homeless.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Lake time, a very good meal and eggs set!

The oldest and I spent the morning at Pymatuning,  just the two of us. It was just wonderful to spend time out together.  

  The weather was perfect and for the first time I can remember, ever, the water was clear as glass even up to my waist. We played in the sand and spent most of the time wading around in the sun. 

We had some trouble leaving of course but he was such a great little guy. I can't believe how much he's grown. Afterward we met Papa for lunch at the little restaurant where Papa's friend is a waitress.  It was the first time the oldest has been in a restaurant in about 4 months. Later in the afternoon we went back to Papa's house where he had picked up a box of plastic animals for the little guys at a sale. They were a hit.

Dinner was awesome.  It looks like a head on my plate but that's a small 0chicken breast.  Or in this case, rooster breast. People say the meanest roosters are the tastiest and boy was this one ever. Here is the recipe we used;

I'm not too good at reading directions in advance so the chicken wasn't marinated,  my husband basted the marinade on as he grilled. And apparently I got the wrong kind of couscous. But it was a big hit and definitely a "make again".

Here are 37 quail eggs in the incubator.  I want to remember that this is day 1 of incubation so we are looking at a hatch date of  July 8th. We don't need more birds but I'm bored and it's fun. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Unwelcome raccoon

For awhile now we've been seeing signs of young raccoons around the place. So far their crimes have included:
1. Knocking over our garbage can and pulling everything out. Not a small trash can, we have one of those chest-high big totes on wheels that the garbage company issues.
2. Pulling the camper birdhouse off of the shed and killing the wren family.
3. Killing a quail by pulling it out from under the pen.
4. Destoying the suet feeder and stealing the bird food.
5. Pooping in our yard.

Last night I fell asleep reading on the couch and awoke around 3 a.m. to the sound of pitter-pats on the porch.

Here he is sliding the old milk box across the porch.

And pulling out the container of fish food we use for the little pond on the porch.

I rapped on the door. He ran off. Came back. I opened the door and yelled at him. Ran off. Came back. At this point I really wished I could have just shot the stupid thing. The elderly opossum that visits the porch is cute.  Raccoons are just destructive assholes.

 Decided not to shoot it because of 1) waking up the house 2) we live in a neighborhood 3) husband just pressure washed the porch and would not be pleased. So I went in the kitchen and found a potato, opened the door and threw it at the raccoon. And missed. I went to bed. 

This morning I found this:

My water lillies all torn up, the kids pet fish missing and the remains of pet snail Gary strewn across the porch. Plus he ran off with the potato I threw. Not like I wanted it back, but still.

War has been declared. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Waiting and the week in review.

It's been announced that my OB is running 20 minutes behind. In doctor office speak that probably means 45 minutes so here I am blogging while waiting to discuss my "geriatric pregnancy ".  We are here to review my ultrasound results and the fact that I still can't use my right hand most days. Typing is fine but it is difficult to close my hand to use things like a pen or toothbrush.  Plus the numbness. 
A pregnancy perk are these new sandals bought yesterday as my feet have ballooned to a Peggy Hill size 11. They aren't something I'd normally wear but they were on sale and the colors are fun and make me happy. And they're really comfy.  

So.. the week. It was busy. We had another dumptruck load of gravel delivered for the driveway and also picked up a trailer load of mulch. The place looks really nice.

Here is the front of the house.

Here are the rest of the peanut plants around the side of the porch. We used all of the mulch and probably need to get another scoop.

I went fishing for the first time this season with my dad and his lady friend on I think Tuesday.  We went to the watershed in Atlantic where the husband and I found Bee as a kitten years ago. It's really quiet and beautiful out there. With my numb and cramping hand, casting and holding my rod and reel was a real picnic but it was a great time.

Good thing my "sexy shoes" still fit. 

It was a very good morning. I took home 14 really nice sized sunfish. I also caught two bass but they weren't in season yet.


Most of my luck was in this overflow area where I was catching something 9 out of 10 casts. Mostly they were small but there were some good sized ones and it was fun.

Here are some beer battered for dinner the next day. My inlaws surprised us with an air fryer which made really good sweet potato fries. 

Speaking of frying, there were 2 days this week when the temperature got up to 93 degrees.  The oldest and I chose one of those days to fry doughnuts as we were stuck inside.

They were a treat.

This bantam pair got listed on craigslist. 

And the quail all got vent sexed and separated.  I butchered 9 males and they are in the freezer.

There were helpers for the carrying part.

Here are some of the ladies with a "keeper" male on the right..  I LOVE these feather patterns. 

I think the next post will be just flower pictures.  

.... just got shuffled through my Dr. visit with a new OB.... possibly the least personable doctor ever. She said it sounds like classic carpel tunnel syndrome and I should go see an orthopedist for steroid injections.  

Going to get lunch by myself and eat something I did not have to cook or clean up after. Possibly the Greek place. Cheers!