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!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

The past week

Here is a bit of what's been going on.

My frined L sent me some pictures of wonderfully decorated focaccia breads on Pinterest awhile back and today I made a trial run. Here are asparagus,  onions, radish, calendula and some greens all from the garden.  It was so much fun and I could see us having this with cheese and fruit for a lunch.

We have wrens building a nest in the tiny camper that M gave me. It's adorable and I hope we see babies. 

I started a bullet journal after seeing a bunch of examples on Pinterest.  People call them "habit trackers" but to me they seem like sticker task charts for grown ups. It's mindless fun and helpful too. Here are some pages from mine:

When a book is finished I will color one in and write the title.

Here is my daily mental health list.

Book suggestions for boredom. 

I'll label and color a flag when I finish a project. 
This type of journal is fun and clears my mind. There are also pages for trips and long term goals. 

Here are some plants:

Fell in love with this unusual and fragrant orchid at Lowes and had to have it. It's in a hanging basket and in the shade of the porch. Fingers crossed because I love it.

Irises from my mom are blooming.

The peanut plants are doing great in pots and since we still haven't figured out how to deer proof them they may all be grown on the porch.

Here's a random picture of Bee, sad because the table has been cleared.

These two little roosters are bunking at my dad's until I get the male quail sorted out as they were picking on them.  The little guy was thrilled to ride in the car with all the chirping.  "Bebe chicks!" he exclaimed. 

The new house beer. Busch non-alcoholic.  It tastes awful. 

Tulips and a taxidermy skunk.

That's about it. Lots of playing outside, housework and the usual routine. Considering all of the terrible things going on in the country right now, boring is good.