Monday, September 1, 2014

It's Been A Long While

It's been a long while since I posted last. What has kept us so busy is that we plant gardens in the Spring. This year, it seems they occupied our time more than usual. The problem is weeds. Lots and lots of weeds. Here in SC, we can have no weeds one day and the next day they start shooting up. I come home from work and pull some. Hubby, who is retired, pulls some during the day when he's not doing a chore or two. It's constant and unforgiving work. However, the upside is that we get veggies and fruit. Yeah!

First, let me say that we had a really wet Spring. We got a late start on planting and we didn't do too bad considering we couldn't plant when we wanted to. Some of the veggies couldn't recoup from the water and some died. That was our luck this year.

Here are some pics of what we started with this past Spring. I have a cage that I made for sweet potatoes. I didn't plant any this year, but I put my daikon seeds and a couple of potatoes that were sprouting in the house. I got only one daikon. The heat came and the rest bolted quickly. No potatoes. They died.
Daikon and Lonely Potato
 My hubby called this the "Indian Burial Ground". The teepees in the foreground are for pole beans. The teepees in the background are for cucumbers. The story here is our weather was really weird this year. We go rain and the cukes drowned, except for two plants. Those two plants gave us a few really nice cukes this summer. The pole beans, green beans and carrots were mowed down by rabbits in one night. They were only about 6" high and they were gone. Them pesky wabbits!
Indian Burial Ground
 Some of the best tools I own! Hubby had a broken rake that he was going to throw away. I asked if he would make me a 4-prong rake on a stick so I can get between plants. One day, he cut and welded and made these two. Boy can they yank weeds out of the ground with little effort!!!
Hubby's Hand Rakes
 Radishes and more radishes. I didn't think I'd get any because we have moles. The moles must not like radishes. We were grateful for these.
Radishes
 Here is one of our strawberry patches. We did really well this year with them. We had some slugs, rabbits, squirrels and birds getting to them. We managed to get about a pint to a quart every night when they started bearing. They bore clear into July. These are Ozark Beauty everbearers. Love them!
Ozark Beauty Strawberries
 My herb patch / nursery. Foreground large green patch is oregano. I harvested, dried and froze a lot for this Winter. Garlic chives looks like hair. This stays pretty much just like this all year 'round down here. Back right corner is thyme. I didn't get anything much from this this year. I don't use much thyme.
Herb Garden

More Radishes
We planted tomatoes, lettuce, yellow squash and mild banana peppers. The tomatoes are being scorched by the heat and the stinkbugs are mating and sucking the juice from them. Yuck! That really ruins the tomatoes. We got very little lettuce because of the heat scorching the leaves. The squash did well. The peppers are still bearing.

That was our Spring and Summer in our food garden.

Take care.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Angel

This morning, another Angel earned her wings.

Sweet Girl

This little girl passed away some time between 2:30 am and 5 am this morning. She had been getting older and older with every passing day. She was 15-1/2 years old.

Daddy's Seat is Best!
What a sweet girl she was! She posed for photos without even knowing what a camera was. She chased buzzards in the sky, running in circles as they circled overhead and barking all the while. She used to hide under my hostas at night and I couldn't find her. She loved laying on the cool tile on our hearth. She loved her treats and telling us when to get up, eat, snack at night and when to go to bed. I could go on and on with the cute things she used to do.

I'm a ham. Belly rub, please!!!
She was a mixed breed, long haired, black and tan little ball of fur. I called her 'fox face' because she reminded me of a fox with a pointy snout. We called her 'Little' because she was so tiny and because she was a 'Little s***', being a real stinker with her personality. We also called her 'the Shark' because her lower jaw was much shorter than her upper jaw, which made her profile look like a shark.

Got me a toy! Got me a small space! I'm happy!
It's really hard to imagine you could get so attached to a little creature like that. I don't have children of my own, so I can't comment on that kind of love. So I've poured all of my love into my furbaby and featherbaby children. Of course, my Hubby gets a good share of the lovin', too! We're both not taking this passing very well. You'd have to have known her to understand.

Cuddle Time with Daddy

The biggest blessing was that she only had one really bad day, which was yesterday. I asked God to take her quickly and He did. GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

Will we miss her? YOU BET!!!

We will always love you, Angie!

Love your babies while you can as nothing is forever.

Take care.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

More Ice - February 12, 2014

As if the last ice storm wasn't enough, we had another on February 12th. It was one of the worst I've ever seen down here.

Here is a picture of our front willow tree. It is a 15-20 foot tall tree which is bent under the weight of ice here. The top is actually touching the ground. To the left you can see branches from the Loblolly pines that iced, froze and broke off.
Front Willow
We lost power for 36 hours. It was very cold with the temps going between 20 and 35 degrees F. Luckily we had a generator and a wood burning fireplace. That didn't cut it too well, but it was something. We need to get a bit more off-grid or get a few more items to help us out. We lose power a lot, here.

Here is a pic of my beautiful Eywa-ish willow in the back yard. It did not fare too well, as you'll see.
Back Yard Willow
She lost three large branches. You can see two of the broken ones really well here. I need to get up there and cut them off. She bounced back pretty well, but she'll need a good pruning after this.

One thing that was really weird was it was SO quiet. We had no noise except for the snapping and breaking off of tree limbs. It sounded like small grenades going off everywhere. It was really loud when a whole pine would break in half and crash to the ground. We're talking 10" and larger pines. Luckily they were nowhere near a building.

Here is a shot of what happened behind our barn. The fence is about 4-5 feet from the barn. It's a property boundary fence. A whole lot of large branches fell as you can see the whole way to the top of the picture. The fence, which is the whole way around our property, is dented everywhere. The smaller branches fell with such weight and force that it crushed the fence in a lot of places the whole way around. We were fortunate nothing came down on our house.
Limbs Behind the Barn
Here's a decent shot of what went on in the Back 40.
Limbs in the Back 40
Limbs just kept breaking off and breaking off. It wasn't safe to go outside while this was going on. You never knew which tree would let go next! It looked like a bunch of squirrels went crazy back there.

 Here's what happened behind our driveway. The saplings on the other side of the fence weighed down little by little with ice. Our one shed seemed to disappear little by little as the trees bent. We watched them lean under the weight. There wasn't much to do other than stand at the windows, watch and listen.
Behind Driveway
At least I had a few things I could do while I waited for electricity. I hemmed pants and worked on my quilting that I put aside. If this wouldn't have happened, I wouldn't have gotten that stuff done. There is something good to be said for things which make you slow down, sit back and take it easy.

I've been watching the weather up North on the news stations. I can feel for them because I used to live there. However, this has been the worst for them in years. My stepson told us they're expecting another storm in DuBois. They've had it pretty bad.

Recently, our weather has been nice...50's to 70's. Now it looks like we're in for another cold snap this coming week. Oh boy!

I hope all of you are warm and safe during this winter weather.

Take care.

Monday, February 3, 2014

FYI...Just for Fun

Today we had 72 degree F weather.

Go figure!

Take care.

Super Bowl Sunday

Yay! It's Super Bowl Sunday! I don't give much of a hoot for the game, but I sure do LOVE to make foods for the occasion. Today's menu is for one of the unhealthiest meals of the year. You have to do this once in a while, right?
Super Bowl Sunday Repast
I started yesterday with coleslaw. Actually, I made enough slaw for about 3 meals. I didn't want to have to repeat making it today. I chopped my celery, carrots, bell pepper, onion and cabbage. Then I made my slaw dressing. It is really yummy and puts the store-bought stuff to shame.

Slaw Dressing Recipe

1/2 jar salad dressing or mayonnaise, your choice
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 or 2 tablespoons white sugar, or to your taste

Mix all together and let set for about 10 minutes. This will give the sugar enough time to dissolve and you'll have to mix again. Refrigerate until ready to mix with the chopped cabbage mix. I mix only as much as we are going to eat at a time. Otherwise, it will get runny if you have leftovers for the following day.

Note: Do NOT substitute anything for the lemon juice. I tried vinegar, thinking "It's an acid. It will be just as good." WRONG! It was not good. Also...do NOT put salt in the dressing mix. Salt will pull the juices out of the cabbage and make the whole thing really runny. You don't want that.

Then I was going to make potato skins, but Hubby mentioned twice-baked potatoes. So I blended the two recipes and spiked it up a bit. No booze in here. Just extra cheese, garlic and sour cream are the ingredients to the 'spike'. I started these this morning with baking the potatoes.

Twice-Baked and Spiked Potatoes

Potatoes
Bacon, cooked and drained, one slice per potato half
Sour cream
Garlic, minced
Butter
Salt & Pepper
Yellow cheese(s) of your choice
Oil and Fryer

Wash and bake your potatoes. After they cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half longways. Hollow out the halves with a spoon until you have about a 1/4 inch of skin and potato shell. These should look like little boats and should lay by themselves on a flat baking pan. Save the potato you dug out of the shells. Set aside. Set the potato shells aside.

While still very warm, take the dug out potatoes and add a minced clove of garlic to the potatoes. Add butter, salt and pepper. Mix these together using a mixer or blend by hand. Put some sour cream in to make them creamy and set this potato mixture aside.

Take the potato boats and deep fry them at 400 degrees F until golden brown. Remove and drain. Place on a baking tray or dish that will go into the oven. You'll have to fry a couple of the potato skins at a time. Don't worry about keeping these hot. They will get baked again later.

Now fill the potato skins with the cooked bacon, a dollop of the potato mixture and top with the yellow cheese of your choice. I used two different kinds of cheese...smoked gouda and sharp cheddar. I put the gouda in after the bacon and sprinkled the cheddar on top to make them pretty.

Bake at 350 degrees F until the cheese melts on top. Or, broil and watch them carefully so they don't burn.

Lastly, I made the fried chicken. I began this first thing this morning. I pre-boil the chicken before I fry it. The chicken went into the fryer after the potatoes were put into the oven.

Needless to say, we pigged out on this meal. We each ate two halves of potato skins. I ate one piece of chicken and Hubby ate two. Add coleslaw and we're stuffed! I definitely have to get my seven miles in on the stationary bike tonight!

Our next snack will be sugar-free pumpkin pie I made the other day. We'll eat that at kickoff.

I hope all of you have a great Super Bowl Sunday.

Take care.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

After The Ice Came

Here are some pics of what our place looked like after last Wednesday's ice storm. As you see, it was just under 30 degrees. For us, this is cold.
Just under 30!
Here is part of what we got on Tuesday night.It was icy rain, sleet and some snowflakes. It was more icy rain than anything else. It was enough to shut down three major bridges, cancel schools and work and a lot of other things came to a standstill. There are no winter treads here. Everyone thinks they can drive on the ice. Well, I hate to say, I stayed home from work because I'm VERY familiar with trying to drive on ice.
Porch on Tuesday Night
Here is what we woke up to.  Here is a picture of what we had. Everything has about 1/4 inch of ice on it. Everything is crunchy.
Doesn't Look Bad.
 Here are the chickens.
Clueless Chickens
The chickens don't really care too much about what is going on as long as they get their feed. I made them a special treat of plain oatmeal while it was warm. They weren't too sure at first, but they finished it all off. Their waterers are frozen solid, so I had another waterer in the coop under the heat lamp. These are all of the chickens I have left at this time. Loren is coming out of the door. (Sophia just died a few days before) She's a Buttercup. Tigger is the roo. He's the color of Tigger on Winnie the Pooh. I don't know his breed, but he's a good rooster. Ethel is the big brown leghorn. (Lucy died last year) Ooma is the white Lakenvelder. Don't ask how I got that name. It just came to me.

Trixie in the Back 40
I had to go and check out the Back 40. Of course, it's not 40 acres, but it is a haul to go back and forth from the barn or house to here. Especially to the garden which is by that big plastic container way in the back of the picture. I'm afraid my worm farm probably solidified this night. Maybe not. It was protected from the elements pretty well. We'll see when I change out their container for a new one.

Lovely, wasn't it? It was a nice mid-week day off for me. I did laundry, cooked, read and watched a marathon of one of my favorite shows...Haunted Collector.

Right now, at 6:56 pm, I hear a hooting owl outside of my window. I don't usually hear them this early. But it's out there. I just got the measurements for a Screech Owl box. We have at least four of them screeching at 2 am every night during the summer. Good for another post, ain't it?

Take care.

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Been a While...

Sorry about that. It's been a while since I've posted. The holidays came and went quickly. Then January came and went. My, how time is flying!

Thanksgiving we had a house full, like I mentioned. What I didn't mention was that we had a power outage the day after Thanksgiving. So, we ate dinner outside the following night because we had to. It was REALLY cold. My niece and nephew brought tamales from Florida that they made. You can't beat homemade food! This was a real treat for me to eat fresh tamales. I've never been invited to a Latin home for dinner. That is kind of hard to believe since I have so many culturally diverse friends.

Here is how we cooked the tamales.
Tamales Cooked Outdoors
We started to cook them on the grill my hubby made, but the water didn't boil fast enough or hard enough. My nephew brought over parts of his turkey fryer and my canning pot served us well. I had enough cooling racks to fit inside to hold the tamales while they steamed. Yummy stuff! I got the recipe!

Then, we went to Florida to visit these relatives for Christmas. We had a really nice time. We took some very small gifts this year. I made dish towel angels and they turned out really nice. I can't find my original pattern on the internet. When I do, I'll link it here. In the mean time, check out the internet for your own. There are several styles to make. I should've taken a picture.

Here is a picture of the whimsical part of my Santa Claus collection.
Whimsical Santas
 OK. There are a few snowmen in there, too. They are still cute. My porcelain Santas are on the other mantel and I didn't get a pic of them this year.

Here is the village we set up on our buffet.
Christmas Village
I have a small collection of porcelain houses that we usually put under the tree. The tree needs a bit of a hike off the ground to fit these under. I don't want to do that with the dogs traipsing around. I also collect aluminum ware. I love the stuff. Most of it is from yard sales. I like using these to serve dinners for company. Sometimes just for us, too.

The new year came and Hubby and I sit and wait for the ball to drop. This year we had a cheese tray, spread with crackers and doggie biscuits. I was in the kitchen getting our small snack tray ready and Hubby asked me to wait while he set up the living room. He put a tablecloth down and our pillows up against the back of the couch. I didn't know about the table (stool) and cloth for the table. He's so sweet!
Trixie Eyeing the Goods!
Well, the ball dropped in Times Square and we woke up at 12:04 a.m. We missed it! We must be getting old or something.

Our weather has been really up and down this year. One day we'll have 70 degree F weather. The next it will be in the 30's. Up and down and up and down. Today was in the 60's. It was nice and sunny. Tomorrow, we're expecting 30's and freezing rain. Wednesday may bring 2-3 inches of snow. I need to start planting my garden and it's hard to figure the weather out this year.

If we get the weather, look for pics. It is a novelty down here to get snow and icy rain.

Take care.