Sunday, December 9, 2018

Happy adoption anniversary Elyse

Happy adoption anniversary to Elyse, brought home from the shelter 4 years ago this month.  The cause of her adoption was two-fold; 1) she was a birthday gift for me and 2) when Bee's elderly friend Moses was put to sleep Bee went crazy for awhile.  They had been pals since she was a tiny kitten and she absolutely lost her poor little mind with sadness when he died.  We agreed the best thing to do was find her another friend.

Elyse was not adopted for her personality, it was on account of her adorable little perfect mustache. She is so shy and afraid of everything that my husband had to retrieve her from under a piece of furniture so we could adopt her.  When we went to pay the fee to bust her out of the shelter we were told that it had already been paid anonymously so we passed on the kindness by paying the next cat's adoption fees.   We brought her home and she wedged herself under the dryer and hid in the basement for a solid week.

She and Bee became best friends and partners in crime.

She's a total klutz.  She did catch that fish once with her paw but then panicked and fell over backwards.
I have personally witnessed this cat fall off of a pillow.  And fall off the side of the bath tub.

 She's never really gotten her adult voice and still talks in kitten squeak. She's terrified of everything, demanding, sweetly adorable and totally our problem now.

Happy adoption anniversary.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Happy Saint Ambrose Day!

 A fine day to raise a glass of mead; today is the feast day of Saint Ambrose, patron Saint of Bee Keepers.  It is also my birthday.

Let's celebrate with some pictures.

Me and my dad.  First ever honey harvest.

Checking the hives.

In her lifetime a single worker bee will produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.  Her life's work; one twelfth of a teaspoon. 

My grandfather was also a beekeeper.  I remember a story in which my mother was very little and helping him hive a swarm.  She was afraid of the bees, who wouldn't be.  He told her that they were very gentle, to be calm and quiet and not afraid.  And then accidentally dropped the entire damn swarm on her head.  She held still, probably out of terror, but didn't get stung.   

And so it goes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A babysitter for the evening

I really had a craving for a lemondrop martini tonight and we had a big bag of meyer lemons on the counter.  No superfine sugar in the house (seriously, what does that even mean?) but it was sour and delicious anyway.

I might add a bit more sugar next time, honestly.

And the babysitter? 

Bee. Who absolutely loves babies.

Just kidding. This is how he fell asleep but he's now tucked safely in the pack n play.

Happy Wednesday.  There is still laundry to do and a house to pick up. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hello December

Hello, December.  Everyone is starting to get ready for Christmas including this turkey decoy in my parents front lawn that was put out for Thanksgiving.  I made it a tiny Santa hat and scarf and dressed it as a joke.  It was noticed immediately.  

I had the bright idea to make all of our Christmas tree decorations this year as things that would be edible for wild birds; then on the 26th we could put the tree outside and let the birds enjoy it.  "Bright idea" because the oldest is really not into it at all.  Here we are making seeded pine cones.  He just wanted to eat the peanut butter and play with construction equipment.

So far we have a total of 5 ornaments made.  We left them out on the counter to make sure the cats wouldn't try to eat them and so far they've been ignored.

We had a really nice surprise this weekend - a day with the temperature close to 60 degrees.  We all spent the day outside.

My husband worked in the yard, the baby hung out in the stroller and he oldest and I planted every one of these bulbs purchased on clearance.  Around the garage, in the flower bed, around the front of the house and around a maple tree in the side yard.  We can't wait to see how it looks come spring.

Planted up some amaryllis bulbs for the house.

Purchased our gifts for the Salvation Army tree.  Husband and I have decided to do this in lieu of gifts for each other.  I chose two little girls to buy for.  It was fun picking out Doc McStuffin toys and barbies.  I need to drop the gifts off at the library today.

Dropped some books off at the Little Free Library at the township building this week.  The oldest was amazed by the "tiniest library".  He picked out two books.

This dragon book cracks me up and I insist on reading it every day.   It's about a little dragon who is excited to breathe fire on his birthday but the unexpected happens. 

Possibly the funniest thing ever written.

I got an early Birthday gift of sorts.  This was a woods find in perfect condition.  It got scrubbed last night and will start on a peroxide bath tonight to whiten and disinfect it.  This buck must have been absolutely beautiful.  I'm thinking of actually getting a plaque and trying to do a European mount.  Unless we can find the lower mandibles in which case I'll just display it.  Thrilled to have this, it's such a beauty.  I love skull collecting for all of the things I end up learning.  Somehow had gone my entire life without realizing deer have no upper incisors.   If the mandibles show up I can also try to figure out how old this guy was when he died.

Promise not to stick a red nose on it, but not gonna lie, the thought had occurred to me.

Monday, November 26, 2018

A day in pictures

Today was the first day of deer season. I didn't go, would have loved to but we don't really have anywhere to hunt anymore and it rained anyway.  I will miss the meat in the freezer. Venison dry aged and cooked rare is one of the most heavenly meals to be had.  I've been thinking of learning archery so I can hunt here.  We have 5 acres but are surrounded by houses and safety zones.  You can't buy wild game so my only options are aparently archery, hand to hand combat or hitting one with the car.  We really do like venison.

It rained all day. We played indoors.

Even Bee spent the day inside.

When Halloween costumes were discounted 90% I picked up some play outfits for the oldest for $1.50 each. Today he was a Ninja Turtle.

We were given this little ice cream maker last summer; you fill the inner container with the ingredients and the outer container with salt and ice. Then you just roll it around for awhile.

It was the first time we've played with it. It was really fun!

Jamie Oliver Maryland Chicken for dinner.  We didn't have frozen corn so I used the Gruffalo squash from the weekend.

Reading the littlest a bedtime story. 

I finally finished reading A Walk in the Woods and need to find another book to occupy myself in the evenings. Or a craft project.  There are only so many times one can polish one's toenails.  It's difficult to get used to it getting dark so early, it seems like the evenings stretch on forever.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Gruffalo cake for Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving I decided that the oldest and I would make some chocolate pumpkin bread.  He's been getting into more activities in the kitchen and loves the responsibility.

First the squash needed to be washed and scrubbed before we could bake it.  We didn't grow this squash, it came from a community trick or treat event; one of the stands handed out squash and pumpkins instead of candy. 

Then it was carefully dried so a knife wouldn't slip when it was cut open.  I tried hacking at it exactly once then called my husband in to deal with it.  The rind on it was so thick and tough that I wasn't going to cut my hand off trying.  He sawed through it but made me promise he wouldn't have to do another one.  I think the problem is that we were using a knife on the thing.  A hatchet or shotgun would have been more effective.

The youngest hides.

We learned the squash is an old heirloom called "Red Warty Thing". Seriously.
"Oh" my husband said.  "It's a Gruffalo squash". 

And with that the pumpkin bread became Gruffalo Cake.  And I'll grow this squash every year.  Not in the deep dark wood, but in the sunshine of the garden.

There must have been a hundred seeds in this thing.  We washed them all, laid them out to dry and talked about how each seed could grow a new plant.

We baked the squash.  It took forever.  Then he made the Gruffalo cake and the family Bicardi rum cake.  Today he made our sandwiches for lunch.  He's doing great and loves it.

The cake was delicious.  That squash is probably one of the best I've used for baking, both for flavor and texture.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Snow day

Well, that happened quickly.  It was sleeting with frozen rain last night and we woke up to a world covered in snow.

It was beautifully quiet and still when I went out to open the poultry coops.

It always amuses me that the first-year birds explode out from the coop and into the snow like nothing has changed.  Then they panic because WHAT IS ALL OF THIS WHITE STUFF???  Like the snow is on fire.

While the more seasoned birds (Nigel and his ladies) have learned that if the ground and ramp are covered with snow they can expect full room service; grains, leftover house food and fresh water delivered right to the coop.

Inside the house, the oldest was beside himself with excitement when he saw the snow.  He wanted to play and sled. I promised him that we had some things to do today (like finding his snow pants and his little brother's snow suit) but that I would bring some snow inside for him to play with.  He was thrilled.

He also demanded doughnuts for breakfast.  I am very, very lucky to have a kid that thinks "doughnuts' means toasts with sprinkles and the centers cut out. 

The grey car was being inspected so we took my husband to work today and went to Wal-Mart to buy the oldest snow boots.  It was my first time taking both kiddos into a store by myself: 3 year old and a 4 month old.  Talk about stressful.  It was kind of like walking on a thin layer of ice perched above the gates of hell.  Proceed with extreme caution. But the smallest one slept through most of it and the oldest was intrigued enough by the prospect of new boots to be a polite citizen.

Then we got the call that the CRV was ready.  The cost was a bit staggering (it needed new brakes among other things, along with the inspection and oil change) but we went to the bank to grab some cash and then drove down to the garage.  I feel very blessed that our mechanic is a multi-generation family friend  - he's just such a wonderful and kind gentleman my dad's age who has always given me the best service at a very, very economical price - especially when I was poor and in college - he's always tried to help out.   His father worked on my grandfather's cars.  I know nothing about cars and it's a huge blessing to know that this gentleman will do right by me.  Like having a family member for a mechanic; I kind of shrug my shoulders when he tells me what he needs to do.  I trust his judgement that the work needs done and it will make my ride safe at minimal costs. It's wonderful..

Th eldest is obsessed with all things mechanical so I asked if we could drop off the payment and look around the garage (as opposed to just dropping a check off in a mail slot and picking up the car after hours, honor system style).  It was a really sweet, fun visit.; the oldest went nuts with the excitement of being in a real, actual garage "mama! there are wrenches!! right here!!!"  The owner and I visited for awhile.  It was really nice.

We came home and I brought a couple of trays of snow inside for him to play with.  Then we went upstairs and dug out everyone's winter play clothes; snow suits, winter pants, hats.  Everyone was very excited.

Then we went to pick my husband up from work and both kiddos fell asleep.  The youngest woke up an hour ago but the oldest is out for the count. At 4:30.  We can't wake him up.  Someone is in for a looooong night.  

Still asleep beside me on the couch.  Coat on.  No amount of shaking will rouse him.

Dinner tonight was a homemade cream of chicken soup: carrots, celery, parsnips, onion with chicken, chicken stock, half & half and  pepper and thyme.  Put into the crock pot before we picked my husband up from work.  Homemade pasta on top.  Homemade biscuits.  

This guy.  I feel terrible. It's supposed to warm up the next couple of days.  If he wakes up in the middle of the night demanding to go sledding, I will totally do it.