Thursday, December 31, 2009

sleep is wonderful, and if you get enough

you actually can function!

i took tylanol pm last night, and got almost a full night
i would still BE sleeping if bernie hadn't told me that 'the stove is stone cold' (duh it is a soapSTONE stove) and he couldn't get it lit.
i came down to a bright blaze and a stack temp of 400.
couldn't get it lit? it looked pretty damn lit to me!

so i am waiting on my coffee and watching the fire

today i am going to bethlehem with jen, who it turns out is a pretty good enabler for someone so very young
we will be shopping for (what else?) yarn!
felting yarns for me
for the boots and such

oh and my staub enameled cast iron 3 quart round casserole arrived, the box was damaged by ups, misdelivered......and i got intense attitude from the driver who i complained about the day before
i don't understand why, no matter what we do.....UPS can not find us, we've been here 22 years
they only seem to find us if the package is very light weight, if it's heavy........ they say we don't have a valid address!

now the weather, she is warming up..........well all things are relative no?
if you are running around outside and it's minus 7 with the windchill............ well then 28 feels warm ...right?
40 feels down right balmy and 58 will get you out in a teeshirt!

ok so it's warmish out, but i still need the energy to can ham and beans.......not enough sleep for that yet

today down at bernie's job, they are to get snow and ice......
i need to get in wood this afternoon so he doesn't have to incase he's home late
i HAVE wood incase he isn't home at all........

he hasn't had any relief in the road calls, as the guy who is supposed to relieve him, and who was HIRED to relieve him...isn't
they call that guy, but the guy doesn't answer the phone

so that is the state of my world as of today.......or at least this morning
i hope everyone has a happy new years

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

nothing much but lack of sleep really * felted boot estimates

we thought we'd get some sleep......but bernie was up waiting to find out if we had a road call to newark
however after about 1.5 hours of talking and waiting with the driver of the unit...... the driver changed his own tire and we finally got to go back up.
sleep however eluded us again

i am getting closer to the felted boots (or felted boot liners at the moment)
i am going to use the fiber trend 'family classic felt slipper' pattern for the first experiment and add a shaft
the estimate is 1540 yards of yarn
i plan on knitting the slipper first as is....just to see the pattern
and then knitting the slipper and adding a shaft for my leg.....
i plan on about a 9'' tall shaft (over the ankle measurement) for the first run on this boot
and i am planning on using classic wool as well for it
if it works
bring on the brown sheep lambs pride
i got some little boy size 5 winter boots i am going to take apart.
the bottoms are all one peice and that is the only part i am going to keep
i will replace the tops with the felted boots
now if this works i will finally have boots that fit my legs, that are also warm!

and if this works, i can always go back and do as many liner pairs as i need to!
and extra sole inserts

ok now i need to go do something
as i am not awake

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2:20 am, do you hear the wind?

i am down here stoking the stove.
i was not going to come down, in fact i had gone to the bathroom and went back to bed.
thaddeaus had gotten settled back in against my back under the covers...


i heard the WIND...........high up in the trees but not stopping.
it was sounding like airplanes revving up to take off
it didn't stop after a while
so here i am
stoking the stove and worried about buying a back up emergency tank of oil
(well duh, OBVIOUSLY i need something to worry about or it just wouldn't be ME....oye)

the good news is the stove is burning brightly, so i really should go up right now.
but am i going to...... ha, what do you think?

now on to the daily kevetch (but at least for the most part they are funny, or they are mostly*** but not always*** intended to be)
oh wait....before that
two night so far in a row with no mice
i repeat
how about that!
i was getting concerned after the third day of double dead mice........

but the one trap is still baited and set......right in the middle of the stove

you know........i forgot what i was going to kevetch about ( and i am pretty sure it was pretty funny)
oh the joys of age and sleep depravation........

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2 mice, 3 mice, red mouse............

again with a pair of mice in the traps in the kitchen
one apparently didn't go easily.......
and it's a mess, and i am leaving it for bernie

so there

my legs are killing me, i forgot my thryoid meds three days in a row
dumb ass that i am
so today i am moving a big slower.....quite a bit slower

and clearly so is the woodstove

ok so today finally we got to carol's
i have their cookie tray, a cute little tiny gift basket with plants and fat quarters (if you quilt you will know what they are)
and food of course
and two books i think they will like very much

plus my roasting oven to help out

it's warm today so thaddeaus will be ok all day, as will i believe the budgies
ducks are going to stay in today we'll sort them throughout the basement
tomorrow i sleep in
i may not have a choice in whether i sleep in or not, as the thyroid med lack may decide that
and believe me i am in pain

bernie just came down and got all grossed out by the dead mice (there was a lot of blood)
he's giving me blow by blows of exactly what happened
and i can't take it today
oh and i may have just possibly put the woodstove, THAT I JUST GOT STARTED, out........
some days.....................

Saturday, December 26, 2009

the day after

is warm apparently with rain
i am so very glad that christmas is over.
i have so much to do, as this will be the first weekend in over a month that bernie is home
tomorrow we will go to carol's, which we were supposed to have done yesterday (canceled as we had ice warnings... and we do take ice warnings seriously here)

today i have to go to the post office, pet store, food store, and a few other things, not much though

we caught another two mice, some barn cats i got.....
we're using traps
and setting two traps a night and getting two mice a night
put 'more mouse traps' on the list too for today
even with bait and traps and CATS......i got a feeling we're over run

now that it's after the dread holiday.......... i can go back to my drafting table without guilt and start drawing again....and making dolls and ornaments and all that

we did use the halloween tree as a sort of 'holiday tree'
i liked it
i saw an all white tree in town with silver, pearl and clear ornaments on it....and white lights
i loved it

now it's seed catalog season, and starting the garden with optimism season, i like THIS season
i am not really crazy about 'digging in the dirt with ticks' season....... nor 'too much produce and fruit flies' season
but i do like looking over the perfect pictures in the seed catalogs and dreaming
and ordering
and those seedman get me every single time......between the perfect pictures and the glowing (and absolutely optimistic and encouraging) descriptions....i hand over my money every time.....i got half a refridge full of seeds!
and out of that half a fridge.....i grow about 250-400 seeds a year.........hahahaha
oh man
mostly heirlooms, but this year we are getting some hybrids for some notoriously difficult in this area to grow........... like eggplants

i am going to try starting eggplants in quart sized pots and growing them a bit coolish until set out....i am also thinking of doing something like that for peppers only growing THEM with bottom heat in the cool basement...... i am aiming for decent root growth, and EARLY yields
they always seem to take forever outside
i may tent them too out there
as i need good yields of peppers and eggplant this year.....
beans and brussels sprouts would be nice too

and i am going to refresh the dirt in the deck planters as well...... that's where i put the snow peas, and the lettuces and mixed greens such as mache and spinach
i find better harvests with those sort of crops on the deck for some really odd reason

i got a lot of work in the garden ahead of me this year.... bernie didn't listen when we were cleaning pens, and now it's frozen and or wet
so i have to scrape the beds and attempt to redo them myself

he doesn't know it yet but i am going to invest in some good tools for my sized body
not the old crap that i been forced to use
imagine that!

ok so now i am going to get an leftover egg roll and another cup of coffee
and then get a fast shower to go to town

Friday, December 25, 2009

today is christmas day

according to the sentiments...... a day of 'peace on earth good will toward men'
i have been thinking about that
and i am going to warn you all, if you are looking for an uplifting post about christmas......close the browser to this blog now

i wished everyone happy holidays and was taken to task!
it's 'merry christmas' one person indigently told me
another told me 'i don't celebrate that pagan holiday'

another person told me that 'christ was never in christmas to begin with'
(that is actually correct, as according to records the christ child was born in late summer, if i remember the information correctly, and december 25 was fixed as the official day to celebrate the birth of the christ child to assimilate the older pagan yules, and solstice celebrations)

all of this had me thinking
there are all different religions
all different political leanings
and even within the 'same' religion ie: christianity there are so many different warring fractions that contradict and disagree and are ready to burn some poor snook at the stake for not following the 'correct' one

i been thinking that if i was a creator, and my creations acted like that.........i would be marking them as failure and moving on

what really would it take to have peace on earth good will toward men?


really it is that simple
at least to my mind
to feel that another person's thinking is as valid for them as mine is for me
and to not try and impose MY thoughts, beliefs and feelings on them....
but it has to be reciprocated
the problems come when the reciprocation is not there

i did a simple thing, i wished everyone happy holidays, in one line.
including all my various flavors of friends
most folks took it in the spirit in which it was offered,
my hopes that they would have a wonderful time, all of them.

i could not believe that a few people could twist this simple wish into something they could feel indigent and superior about....let alone think that they needed to correct me!
where is respect for our fellow man in that?

i am thinking in the future it would be easier on my sleep if i didn't bother to wish anyone anything
at least publicly
and i am also thinking that stuff like this has ended up changing us as a society that was helpful to each other, to this dog eat dog nightmare we live in now

this of course led me to thinking about what does touch me about this season...
i don't like that my mom and dad and evelyn were all taken from me at this time.
it seems especially cruel to me
i do like the ancient (and i am talking pre christian) connections however...
there is something i think primal that touches everyone this time of year, no matter if they do celebrate that 'pagan' holiday or not.
i think it may be on the same level that open flames touch us......maybe on a cellular level handed down in our dna

for those in the northern hemisphere, an evergreen tree is derigor..... but there were no christmas trees in bethlehem 2009 years ago.....
that came from northern euro/scandinavian and is older then 2009 years old, but we breath in the scent......and we are touched, i would imagine just as our ancient ancestors were

now this year we don't have a holiday tree, we have my little orange halloween tree, with it's happy pumpkins and jack o lanterns on it
and i would imagine that someone will decide i need to be 'corrected' about that

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

not the best of anniversaries

today is the anniversary of my mom's death (1985)
of the last time i saw my dad alive (1995)
of 'not the momma' evelyn's death(2002)
it's not a good day
i miss them all
as well as thea and trish
and sometimes gramma
i miss favorite aunts, my friends
seems i have more folks across the veil then here

i do have one friend from 'back when' alive yet but only see her every 5 years or so
i have some new friends too a few IRL and a LOT of cyber friends
it doesn't stop me from missing every one that is gone though

i am going to just try to get through this day

Sunday, December 20, 2009

yes dorothy it HAS been a while

LOOK a FINISHED object, my scarf in trekking xxl 100
i went to bethlehem with jen on friday, to the moravian book store
i had a blast
jen is a pisser to be around, and i am grateful she tolerates my slightly ahem......'eccentric' behavior

saturday was spend getting bernie ready for an overnight stay at work to keep the fleet rolling
and then i worried (yup i always worry, daily....believe me it isn't cutting my life short, just my enjoyment of life)

and i knitted

friday morning, bernie dropped the ENTIRE batch of cream cheese orange spritz cookies on the floor, i had to toss them......ALL THAT WORK, all that expense
he was to help me make them again but wasn't able to due to the storm

they got hammered down there, we got about 3 inches up here

i am hoping he gets home before noon today
meanwhile i am back to stoking the stove a few times a night
so i don't get much sleep

part of what we did yesterday was to get me a new shovel.
we didn't have one
where i live, this neighborhood had never been one to help others much... i always have cause i grew up that way.
but once the really old people here died......the others aren't much on helping, so with bernie gone during storms, i am truly on my own

even last winter when i fell in front of one of the 'good' neighbors, she just yelled at me from her porch and never bothered to either help or ask some of the 20 year olds in her house to help
(we so have to move or they so have to move)

anyway, back to the 'on my own' part
i am going to have to shovel a path to the duck pen, and maybe also try and shovel the front driveway to get bernie in
he still hasn't shown me how to do the snow blower

this morning, i am grumpy, exhausted, worried, and am having a bit of an issue with the woodstove being cranky
it's buring now but not really putting out much heat yet
i can't get the stack to heat enough to do that


i did manage to get a finished object (a scarf i had knit, i got the ends beaded and all the little yarn ties glued and trimmed off), see it's picture up there?
i am finishing up a few unfinished projects,
a pink silk triangular shawl
a plum and cream striped hat with fushia trim
a pair of 'footie' socks
a few pairs of felted clogs
i most likely won't get them done by the end of the year but that is my next few knitting projects * i normally don't have a lot of UFO's, these are due to a few mechanical things, i lost one of the sock needles, i didn't have a trim for the shawl but i do now...., and in cleaning bernie helpfully stuffed that hat in a box for me
now it's out and i want it finished as i knit it cause i liked it!
and this cowl thing which i like but is driving me nuts cause i don't have my 24'' size 9 circ, and so i am doing the bottom on dp's and they are making me crazy with the SIZE of the bottom.
i have yarn for three shawl/triangle scarves, and a few pairs of felted boots, so those are all waiting
now i am off to drink the coffee

Thursday, December 17, 2009

press cookies are tricky

sometimes they work well, sometimes a night mare....
the tricks are, the dough must be sticky enough
and the temps must be right
cookie sheets room temp on the coolish side
ditto on the dough
too hot they don't stick
too cold they don't stick
oh and the press MUST be a good one
i like a vintage wear ever, as i tried others and they did NOT work at all
i bought a wilton one year and broke it after pressing two cookies out
so now i have my mom's original one (which i can't totally find) and a 'new' old one i bought off ebay last year in frustration over three OTHER new presses i could NOT get to work

cream cheese spritz cookies
1 cup butter
1 (3 ounce)softened cream cheese,
1 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk ( it's really good with DUCK eggs, or free range jumbo very orange yolked chicken eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest ( also i added some lemon and orange extract)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C ).
In a medium bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, and orange zest. Continue beating until light and fluffy. sift all the dry ingredients together, gently stir into dough . chill the dough a bit, this will be a sticky dough even cold
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until there is a golden brown rim around the bottom edge. Remove from cookie sheet, and cool on wire racks. i use the tree shape mostly and prior to baking sprinkle with green sugar crystals

now i would like to thank dorothy for the name of the book Sunshine to Dollars
while it didn't get a good review on amazon, she is using it to put solar in by her and it's WORKING....we'll be getting that book next amazon order.

i ordered the privacy fence, which will shield the ducks from the dogs up the hill
(and me from being told by the 20 year old permanent house guest to keep my F*CKING ducks in my house if i don't like his dogs barking at them... what ME mad? are you kidding, i want that kid filleted)

after that we'll be roofing and finishing the coop
then adding one for the chickens.....and expanding the GARDEN...... (i mean since bernie has the chain saw and all..... we can limb up the trees and i can have more garden space right?)
i already started the list of plants i plan on growing this year in the garden
merchant of venise white seeded pole beans ( taste like vanilla)
KY blue pole beans
jam pumpkin
SWEET PEPPERS: banana, toillies, bell, italian frying, cubanaro ( which i spelled wrong)
red cabbage
savoy cabbage
brussels sprouts
black plum tomatoes
amish paste
cream sausage tomatoes
patty pan squash
yellow squash
butternut squash
acorn squash
pickling cuc's northern, boston, homemade pickle
ground cherry
and the deck garden
snow peas, spinach, mesclun, mache, new zealand spinach, swiss chard, nasturiums, eatable marigolds, skirret
i have to revamp the herb garden as well, replacing the plants that died while i was so busy doing other things
so that involves sage, lavenders ( about three or four different ones) thymes
the rest i will either salvage out of the garden such as agrimony, and valarian, or seed again such as marshmallow, basil, parsley, dill
now if only there were three of me

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

well i came down at 1:25am

i almost was doing ok, i got this cold so i was planning on going up early.
a friend of mine called
we've been friends.......almost 40 years
oh my.......i feel so very old saying that....well duh that's cause i AM old
someone we both knew died , and she wanted me to get in touch with someone who needed to know.....but no one has seen for 20 years
i did that because she asked me
this guy is a major alcoholic, and unlike a fine wine, hasn't improved with age
he won't help himself
and i got seriously upset so now i'm up
i also went through facebook and found the class of fairlawn high 19**
(don't ask....... seriously i am not ready to deal with being THIS OLD YET)
then i got not only upset but depressed and i swear my blood pressure has got to be a gibillon over a megamillion
is it time for me to move to florida yet? i really am that old.

when you are young, you almost make fun of the old people.........some you respect and listen to....others you shake your head and just move on
when you are old......
you sit there and wonder 'who the HELL are those people'?
i knew them?
shared laughs and dreams and hopes and intimate (for a kid) secrets with them
bernie and i went to highschool together, in fact i met him in froggy wilson's history class, (froggy wilson and jessie church taught my brother, sister AND me........20 and 16 years later respectively)
but we rarely talk about highschool.......
we talk about today and tomorrow, and sometimes yesterday but never highschool
we did a little tonight
anyway, there is no point at all in this post, i am just up, tired, and wondering what it is all about

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

just one of those days

i got one double batch of snickerdoodles baked, as well as the two double batches of peanutbutter chocolate chip
today is spritz, oatmeal raisin, gingerbread, and most likely sugar
then if i get done early enough.....trays will be assembled and out
i can't wait
i like doing this, but this year everything has gotten in the way of getting it done on schedule
last year i was really sick so i dragged through it
i am looking forward to sitting and drawing ducks
making ornaments for various holidays ( i am going to sell some of them as well)
making dolls
finishing the studio
planning the garden....
canning dried beans
and ham
drying mushrooms

i got up late today, guess i was making up for yesterday.
bernie got up late too, and he wouldn't have gotten up at all if i hadn't woken up at 5 again to pee
he was flipping out, but i pointed out that the bedroom clock was 20 minutes fast, and that he normally LEAVES at 5
as well as the fact that while he likes to get in an hour early to unwind from the ride down, and double check his fleets (up to four fleets now and counting) and his day, really he is not supposed to start until 7am
workaholic husband that i have....... had no choice this morning but to deal with it
he's ok though, i just called him.
his fleets are ok too

so that is my morning so far

Monday, December 14, 2009

isn't it funny

how even if you aren't consciously aware of it..... you do follow the rhythms of the season
when it's cold you crave carbs, fuzzy cozy sweaters and fabrics, open fires.
when it's warm you like more veggies and linen is appealing
this time of year i bring out projects such as felted footwear, leg warmers and other things i don't really knit most of the year.... i can knit socks all year, and lace......... but felted footwear seems to me to be a winter only thing..(maybe because i need the woodstove to dry them in a reasonable amount of time?)

so that's next i think.
i ordered the adult snug pattern from 'pickupsticks' i paid for a downloadable pdf.
according to the email i got

1.Our system will automatically email you your PDF patterns at 5 p.m. PST. Orders placed after 4:30p.m. PST will be filled at 5 p.m. the following day. If you need your PDF immediately, we can hand email it to you

i ordered at about 11-12 am/noon yesterday (sunday) so i figured, ok about 8 pm
i emailed them later about 8:30 or so to inform them that the automatic system appears broken........ as of this morning still no pdf in an email.............
maybe cause it was sunday? i hope so cause this clearly said after 5pm
and did NOT say weekends will ship monday after 5pm
i had hoped to start on this last night with that charcoal gray lamb's pride
if it works well........... i plan on doing a few of these outdoor soled boots
(last year i got side tracked)

now other things floating around.....
we're talking about solar and if it is feasible to do here, our electric is going over 30%!
as the state mandated rate caps come off, we already use a LOT less then an average family or small home since i have replaced all the lights with those compact fluorescent, don't use the electric dryer, burn wood so the motor/blower/fan on the furnace doesn't kick in
turn off lights
have all energy star appliances.....
don't watch tv or listen to radio
unplug appliances such as toaster, coffee maker....
keep other lights etc on light bars with a on/off switch
use mostly hand tools not electric such as manual can opener etc
i also found that ironically CANNING over the course of the year saves a TON of electric
now we not only are going to get hit with higher costs BUT we need to pick an alternative electric company
the offers from alternative electric companies have started to arrive
i did find one that has totally renewable electric....which is the most interesting to me at the moment
we'll see how competitive the rates are
so back to the solar thing
if we could get the well pump and hot water on solar for now.......we would be pretty happy, followed by the fridge and freezers....... then the lights and stove and such
in order of emergency necessity that is
think about it........ no more electric bills....AND no more worry about power outages etc
there are tax credits and incentives as well.
now that also means we would have to stay here i suppose
i guess with high fences we can do that

there are a few more things that i have to deal with that are boggling my mind......
the solar thing is huge though
and something i would love to figure out how to to afford it and all......
i've always wanted to be off the grid, imagine being off the grid and still having all the comforts of home
(except tv, that i don't want back ever......but bernie is starting to ask about it...... i would rather not have it)

what else today?
baking which didn't get done friday due to unexpected chicken complication
saturday due to over loaded dishes due to friday's unexpected chicken complications
sunday due to bernie being home (he was in the shop saturday working on our van)
and rain
and ice
so today is it then
i did however get the little candie canes
they are made from natural peppermint oil............ i was impressed!

it's finally warmed up here ( all things are relative you know...... warmed up right now is above 25 degrees) and the woodstove is extremely happy.
yesterday i got the stack temp up to 550 which is wonderful as it got cleaned out nicely
i shoveled a bit of the built up ash out
and heat poured out
so much so that last night we were again warm upstairs
and while i am 'upstairs'
we got a new bath mat for the bathroom, we didn't actually NEED one.... (although i like have two so i can trade off when one is in the laundry)
but they had a MAGENTA one........
i couldn't just leave it there
so now we have an all white and cream bathroom with a MAGENTA bath mat
sweet huh?

ok, it's now 5am...... i came down at 3
bernie came down at about 3:30, as he was concerned about iced roads etc
i got about two hours until sun up
so i am going to get dressed (or maybe sleep a bit more first?)
if i do get dressed, i will start the baking
if i can........ i would like the trays to go tomorrow

Sunday, December 13, 2009

some times, it takes a while

i remembered this morning that i have not one but TWO pairs of felted clogs (actually three but the third pair is really a dinner plate)
that i made last year, and that have never been worn.......
well guess what.....?

i'm wearing one pair, the red experimental one
they even fit my ankles!
and in doing so i realized that i can and am going to make the boots this winter, as soon as the holidays are over
i have the yarn, and i think i have the know how (or i will cut and stitch until i do)
and i am going to get cleaty type bottoms for them
i am also planning on them going up to my mid calf!
or almost my knee

i can decide if i want to zip them, lace them or just pull them on
and i want a few more pairs of house slippers.......
i really liked knitting the clog pattern but the enclosed heel and ankle on the new slippers are things of beauty and comfort
much comfort
that bring my feet great joy
AND i can still wiggle my now warm toes
so there
ok with that said...... rho told me she had done some house socks or something,
and i am thinking either them or leg warmers for the winter for me
i guess it's time to hit some good classic wool sales no?
and also some brown sheep sales......................
i have one more scarf to finish....a cowl actually
and then it's on to leg wear for winter

as to the 'thaddeaus eats everything i knit' problem, i am going to get some plastic rolling drawers, he can't get in them.....isn't interested in chewing them, and they will work i think very well
again, on the list for after the holidays

it's cold today but no where near as mind numbing/bone chilling as it's been
i cranked up the stove to clean the chimney, and got a nice hot coal reducing fire going, which i had not been able to do as well over the really cold days,
i think i am going to add some heated cat beds for thaddeaus the baldie, *la perm baldness comes and goes, some always molt boy is one of them, so he's got pink long johns and a woodstove.......*

as to the homicidal duckies...i am going to toss the girls together and then let them duke it out
i need them together in ONE PEN, this 4 bucket over 4 inches of ice thing is getting painful for my back.
momma btw, has started a serious primary flight molt........ NOW?
i wish falstaff would.....his flights are two years OLD now.... and just quills with no actual feathers left. it was suggested that i pull the quills, which would cause the molt to start, but he isn't really handle-able as he was feral when we got him, and over 18 months old.
he's only semi tame now, after all these years

so that's sunday morning, bernie was working on one of our vans yesterday and by the time he got home, brought in wood, and helped me with the girls..... it was dark so we didn't go out for errands.....that leaves us today as errand day

off to town, and it looks like rain..... great more ICE in the back pens

Saturday, December 12, 2009

chicken run................

we went to the poultry farm and jen got what looks like 5 pullets and two roos
jody thought that one was an older pullet but i think that it's a roo
actually i was looking at them and i am thinking........there may only be two pullets in there

i hope not
i hope they are at least 6 pullets
cause that's what she paid for
and these are 19 week old birds

i saw some speckled sussex X buff orpington crosses that i want
and a few other birdies
a lavender orp
some more buffs
a few mille fleurs
and a blue egg laying anacona...............
i don't have enough space for them you know
so i reserved a few of them
i will be going out i hope in a few weeks to get them
or at least chicks out of them

today is still FREEKEN cold
yesterday was a nightmare of cold

we put the pullets in jen's coup and sealed up some air leaks that are great ventilation come summer but are nightmare air leaks right now
i told them to increase the bedding and to also make sure the birds get extra fat and carbs

i didn't get home until after 4 so today i have to do some of the errands from yesterday
as well as bernie's since he's down at work ......... he's doing our van today
it's freeken cold
and i didn't sleep because i was down stoking the stove
when i bring in wood later i am going to bring in short wood and lay the fire the opposite way for tonight

meanwhile we also found out that somehow the basement door was opened wide for 24 hours
if it wasn't for the chickens down there, i swear that the pipes would have frozen
bernie was the last one down there, and he swears he didn't do it
i know richard the ghost didn't
and i haven't been down there
so it had to be bernie accidently left it

it's a bit easier now to get the house warmed up

i gave my plum goosedown coat a good test run yesterday, this is the one i bought last spring.
it passed with flying to speak
i was warm, without being hot, and it didn't have cold spots like some of the other goosedown coats i have
it's only a tiny bit big on me...about half a size so that's good.......i had room to move and also to layer more if i had thought of it
i now wish i had gotten a second one...... with the half price sale.....they also have the matching coat but i would like a second's 36'' long so that is a good jacket length for cold
i never understood short waist length goosedown jackets
i think that a jacket needs to come down to at least mid thigh to be considered an outer wear
anything shorter then that may not keep you warm, which i thought was the whole POINT of a jacket.....i could be wrong though

today after i get my stuffs done in town is more cookie baking
NEXT YEAR.....( watch now, famous last words) i will start in august and freeze it all
bernie doesn't know it......cause we don't exchange holiday or birthday gifts anymore
but i got him some good steak knives and a dvd of celtic woman (the christmas one)
he loves celtic woman so i figured i had the gift checks left over from what i didn't use on cookware............ well they will be here i think this week

speaking of cookware, that cast iron enameled dutch oven....... I LOVE IT
soups, stews, stovetop roast beef, roast pork, tomato sauce........ with meatballs....
i am using that thing at least two or three times a week
now i want to get a strub or two or even a le crueset but i don't want to pay the i will go to the outlet and get on the sale list
i can snag them pretty cheap that way...about 70% off list
WITH the same warrenty
i am also going to get the cook book 'glorious one pot meals'
not that i will follow the recipes ( who the hell really follows recipes.....and all you folks that know me are now helpless with laughter)
but i would like to see the ideas and metholds

and i can get it at a decent discount

ok i have to go now
the feed store will be opened in about ten minutes
as will the post office
and i would like to get back to the house before town traffic gets heavy
and then get the ducks into the draft proofed pens for a few hours


Friday, December 11, 2009

you's pretty cold out

i just cranked the stove up again
i am thinking of bringing in a mat for by the back door
and also we are going to have to move the cat tree as i think it's blocking heat to the main house
(and there is still a screen in the window in the front room.....WHAT? last week it was 60 out!)

today we are going out to pick up some chickens for jen and scott........
we're taking my crates and i think georgette's crates
we should have enough for 8 pullets and a roo .......i hope

bernie uncovered my van and brought some wood in
i have to run to the po and then to town after we get back with the chickens
i will be doing the mass baking then
(and picking up more flour as i ran out...i don't know how that happened but i ran out)
when i am done with the baking ( wish me luck that i am done by sunday)
i have some stuff such as mustards etc to make
cranberry sauce, cranberry mustard...hmmmmmm
tropical fruit jam if i have the time

in yarn and knitting, i gotta tell you all
every single pair of my hand knit socks is got a hole in it somewheres.......
not from wear
not from moths

the little shit has chewed on every single sock, mitten, hat, scarf that i have knit
he steals them and hides them and eats them
why ???
we don't know
as he doesn't touch yarn or fiber or felted knits
he mostly likes my socks and mittens
and today i have two different hand knit socks on
cause it's that cold out
and these were the best of something like 25 pairs

oh man

mice are crunchy? who knew?

fawn got a mouse at about 3:30 am
she of course called the others and brought it to the bedroom
they all played with it for a while
calpurrnia got it for a bit and growled so loud that we threw her out of the bedroom
the next thing we hear is some weird crunchy noise
turn on the's now 4am
and fawn is chewing on this mouse
bernie asked me if it was dead...............
gee i sure hope so, as she apparently is gnawing on the head
i couldn't stand the noise so here i am
we have got to stop meeting like this

the good news is i was just thinking i need to set a few traps on the stove
the bad news is apparently not anymore

ewwwwww mouse breath
oh man that is gross

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

snow day again

yesterday i was woken up by the sound of the smoke alarm going off in the studio

were we on fire?

bernie was stoking the woodstove

now i ask you, how come a man as smart as he can be in some areas, can not grasp the concept of how to stoke a stove without smoking us out of the house?
after 5 years of doing this???

how come i am so dumb that i keep hoping he'll learn?
i came down naturally to see what was the matter, and i stoked the stove properly
i have to explain the difference in how to stoke a colder stove as opposed to a hot fire chamber
i create a sort of channel in the ash bed for a cold stove and get a lot of air going for a hot fast fire
in a hot fire chamber i just rake the coals forward and create a tiny air pocket in front of the air control
it's always a balance with a wood stove, as it is 'alive'

i came down myself this morning, three logs, no smoke spillage, and i've been warm with a wonderful fire every since.......... took me what about 75 SECONDS......
oh man
now onto cookies, yesterday was the peanut butter chocolate chips......two double batches, and now i am running out of room in the fridge
so i have to start to wash the tins and put the cookies in there. and then keep going..... i am behind on the cookie baking btw
and friday i am going to slatington/palmerton to pick up chickens with jen
8 pullets and a roo...........
i want new chickens..... although i have 4 and they are mostly laying 2-3 eggs a day now
i would love to have the sussexXorp cross chickens, just two of them.
but i will tell you, that i am so torn, as i adore the LOOKS of the buff orpington, just adore seeing all those fluffy little petticoats on those chickens...i love that they are that buff orpington color and that they are all the same
i am pretty convinced that the buff orpington color is pretty much the most satisfying chicken color (and chicken breed) there is.........and the sight of an orp makes my soul sing
i really like my orpington chickens you know....
although if i had the space, i would have a few separated breeding flocks of some of the really rare heritage heavy breeds

since keeping chickens is the new knitting or the new 'black' (like brown is the new black) i have hopes that people will be looking to the old breeds that were developed for the small backyard and tight quarters. genetic diversity is a very good thing, as is rescuing old breeds.

i like keeping chickens, and ducks, and other 'farm' animals. i think it should be right up there with the right to bare arms (bear? bare? i don't remember which is the right spelling for this)
the right to feed ourselves, for many people has been taken away by zoning and home owner associations
i would say that the right to FEED ourselves is basic, inalienable, and overrides anything
and as we watch the economy tank......... folks need to know how to do this

ok off the soap box,

now the snow outside seems to be turning to rain, as the light comes up i am seeing glops of snow fall down in a wet snow/rainy sort of way
wonderful....... the pens are going to be flooded again....or at least the back pen will be, but i have hay out back, which will allow me after to mop up without too much effort
thank goodness
and i purposely didn't spread as much bedding as i will later this winter, so it wasn't too much of a nightmare
well it's getting lighter and lighter out, i think the ducks can possibly start going out by 8:30 or so
i am going to put a few more logs on the fire and damp it down for the day
i have gingerbread to make today
and then see what i have....... i may still have to make sugar cookies (i am going to roll them if i have to do them, in colored sugars and then slice)

everyone have a nice day

Monday, December 07, 2009

a preview

it's pretty cold out
went from 60's to
'holy shit is freeken COLD out' in a day or so

the rhodo's out front are beginning to curl their leaves
and we have to stoke the stove more often

most nights it is THREE CAT NIGHT..... where all three cats try desperately to fit themselves inbetween us on a 3/4 sized bed.....(don't ask........ we need a new mattress and then we'll only be up to a full sized bed)

i keep waiting for mice to join us

now onto duckie news, we crated phoebe
we had to

we didn't want to but she's been hiding in the back and laying teeny tiny pigeon sized eggs and then thinking she can brood them
phoebe dear, they aren't ever going to hatch pudding, as they aren't fertile.................
meanwhile momma and lilli continue in the beotch fest that is duckie land right now
even falstaff has gotten 'moody'

bernie's noticed that if he has 'at' the ladies....he isn't so....ahem..........moody
leave it to a MAN to think of that one, but i think he may be right about that
so who do i throw in with him? do i really want to be a duck pimp?
do i need a special hat and coat for that? oversized dark shades? platform shoes?

right now i have to go and take the birds out
i don't want to do that
it's cold out
they don't want to GO out
did i mention the cold out thing?
maybe i will put another log on and heat the chimney and THEN go out?

i have to get water buckets too, as i don't have enough of the unbreakable ones for seperate pens due to ducks from hell with attitude (when good ducks go bad? are they going to rebel now and get their beaks peirced and tribal tats? .....WAIT that is a main stream thing not a rebellion thing now)

ok off i go to start my day
then baking
more baking
lots more baking................

Saturday, December 05, 2009

what do you like about your life?

i got to thinking after talking to one of my cousins, what do you like about your life?
what is good
how comfortable are you in your life ( this one takes some thought)
what is bad
what is a pain but even given that you wouldn't change?
what goals have you met?
how do you feel TODAY about some of those goals, would you chose to do them over?
would you chose different goals today with what you know now?
are you a person who counts mistakes as good things or bad things (ie: they teach you something, vs they mess you up big time)

are you where you wanted to be at this time in your life?
what are your future plans?
how satisfied are you with most areas of your life?
what are you doing now both personally and professionally that you like, that you love, that you hate, that you tolerate?

what do you LOVE, ?
not who ( everyone loves thier family and friends for the most part) but what do you LOVE? what things, experiences, colors, sounds, feelings, stories, sights, scents, tastes, seasons? what makes your heart beat faster?
what hobby or interest do you think would be interesting to persue that you aren't now?
what have you loved in the past?
has it changed, deepened? how much has this enriched your life?

what does your 'ideal' life LOOK Like?
if you look out the window of your ideal life...what do you see?
what does your living space look like, your mode of transportation?
do you live in an urban area or a rural or cold climate?
how hands on are you in your ideal life? or do you have servants?

then i got to thinking about finances, and what we feel is 'doing well'
is 'doing well' for you, paying your bills and putting a bit aside for a rainy day or retirement or the kids college?

or is 'doing well' for you a yacht, with long Caribbean vacations?
or is it somewhere in between?

can you or even should you put a dollar amount on it?

i was thinking as well, i wonder what an economy would look like if it wasn't based on accumulated cash/assets for wealth, but maybe on accomplishments such as art, music, dance, beauty
or alternately, what would life be like if we were able to follow the quantum physics model that says (simplistically and basically) that we do create our reality?

now do some accomplishment hold the same weight if we don't make money with them, as opposed to if we do?
is it even fair to measure things that way?

i tell you it's dangerous being me and left to muddle through mucky duck pens

Friday, December 04, 2009

i didn't realize it was cold!`

bernie must have put a log on this morning, as the damper was open to the woodstove and i know i shut it partly last night
it's 73 in here, which lead me to believe that it was warm out.
it's the radiant heat off the stone of the woodstove
once i realized that, i threw a few logs on for the morning.

now today, i need to start mucking the wet and soon to mold bedding straw out of the duck pens
the timing couldn't be worse, as i am in the beginning of the cookie marathon.
i have to shift ducks all day as well since out of 4 pens i have ONE that is ok, and i have 4 ducks that can't be put together right now......
lillianna is still homicidal, ( but she is starting to calm down i think......slowly)
momma is broody
phoebe is broody
and falstaff............well he will jump on any duck in his path repeatedly and duck rape isn't something i am ok with, as he makes them bloody

just a fast knitting update, i am knitting the 'harmonia rings' by silvia harding right now it is just in some beige tweed worsted that i don't like the color but i envision it dip overdyed in either a russet or a burgundy... and so far i am really liking the knit
the mobius cast on from cat bordhi is really nothing more then the turkish cast on (or i think it's also called the figure 8) but done very cleverly on a long circular
i have to say that cat bordhi is very very clever........ and innovative, and while i am not a total mobius convert, as i think it's fine for somethings not EVERYTHING, i do respect the genius that is cat bordhi as using this cast on in this way is nothing short of spectacular

now this harmonia rings is a nice fast knit, it's interesting, it's textured without being overpowering (IMHO) it's got enough text i think, to be really warm in a sophisticated and understated way.
i think if it's done in a tweed, of say........ burgundy, wine, plum, eggplant or even a charcoal or medium gray, i see it being a wonderful 'city' winter scarf.
i can see it over the black wool NYC winter coats of folks going to wallstreet or any other upscale corporate environment
now doing it in variegated yarns (again use a subtle color change so it doesn't fight the texture) it's a good 'jeans and a peacoat' scarf
me, i am going to make one in plums, and eggplants to go with my goose down winter coats......hahahaha i know with them i will look like the Micheline man's illicit love child but
hey who cares.....i will be warm

ok duckie juggle morning edition:
phoebe in the double pen but it's opened with one dry spot
momma unhappily in the a frame.........also opened with one dry spot
lilli desperately unhappy in the top pen
falstaff in momma' crate

i will go and switch out lilli and falstaff in a while
and then lilli will be running around the very wet basement
and pooping....... all over the place
thank goodness for partial dirt floors

i wish i drank

Thursday, December 03, 2009

just for angie....snickerdoodles my way

SNICKERDOODLES COOKIES Bake in 350 degree oven 10-12 minutes.

1 tsp. Soda
2 3/4 c. sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Sift together flour, soda, salt and cream of tartar. set aside

1 c. shortening cream on low speed until it's pale and satiny then add

1 duck egg continue creaming
vanilla and almond Extract continue creaming until all mixed in then add
1 1/2 c. sugar
cream thoughly
slowly stir in the set aside flour until just combined

Chill dough until easy to handle (at least 1 hour, longer is better if
you can manage it).

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and about 1/4 cup or more if you like of
cinnamon. Roll dough into small balls and dip into sugar and cinnamon
mixture. Place on lightly greased (or NONSTICK) baking sheet.
***note: can also use vanilla and lemon extract about 1 part vanilla
to about ¾ of a part other flavoring

cookie dough as far as the eye ( which is nearsited)

can see....
i got the second double batch of snickerdoodles dough done, and the first batch of cream cheese spritz cookies dough done,
today i will do the oatmeal raisin doughs and i need to get the peanut butter for the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies....i thought i had it!
and two more bricks of cream cheese for the molded angel cookies

i think this years theme is going to be burgundy and gold so i am getting a garland with pointsetta and cutting them apart to use as the picks for the trays, with gold curling ribbon
i may if i have time, paint the pointsetta's edges with gold or something
and shimmer up the angels with eatible lusters

meanwhile i was up all night listening to the intense rain and winds
it was some bad rain.......
i can't convey the amount of badness of the rain i listened to
i am going to be surprised if we aren't flooded
i will be happily surprised if all our trees keep their heads
i also am not going to be able to put the ducks out like usual today, i have to give them each a turn in the upper pen, which means four seperate turns, not just the three girls at once then falstaff......... momma is broody, lilli is still homicidal.......and phoebe loves me but isn't too keen on momma and lilli wants to kill everyone........ DUCK PMS........ who knew?

it is also supposed to be really really warm again today
which i suppose is good but as soon as it warms up i get those bites starting again, that i've been getting since spring just on my arms and legs!

today as i am apparently going to be taking some sort of time to go to town, i better get my assets to the post office
i know that my new glasses should be there, as well as the mail that i am waiting for from the lab.... i keep thinking there is something else coming but if there is i can't remember.....

WAIT, I REMEMBER! knitting needles........ ahem....... shhhhhhhh please don't judge me....... i needed a 40 something incher for a mobius

oh man..............

and the chili i made the other night was great, we also had it last night, but TONIGHT, i am thinking......hmmmm maybe pork loin or turkey soup
i would like to think of something different to do with pork loin
i make it a bunch of ways:

plain roasted
pot roasted with mixed veggies
in a sweet/sour bbq sorta thing
with sourkraut and apples
with cidar glaze
with peach grilling sauce
with pineapple, onions, and sweet peppers
pork stew

i have always wanted to do a stuffed pork loin with fruit and bread crumbs and then tied with butchers twine and roasted under a coating of thick streaky bacon, and maybe pineapple rings
i really should think about getting the twine so i can do that huh?

i also have been known to cut the loin into thickish chops and then use them in either smothered pork chops, or breaded baked pork chops, or even plain pan braised with paprika and garlic........

or even pork chops braised with sweet red pepper sauce, oinons and cream...

you know, i just realized.........bernie eats GOOD
really really GOOD

but i am still looking for something different with them all

now something else i wanted to mention
duck fat
sounds gross but turns out to be really good for you like olive oil
too bad MY ducks don't have fat as they are muscovy ducks.
now we needs us some nice fat real ducks such as these rouen ducks

although i been looking at ducks and i am thinking either the buff duck or the appleyard would be a better idea.....
but really, i think my muscovy ducks are the prettiest in the world......(funny how that red warty carunkling grows on you)

if i do decide on raising these guys i will be planning on maybe one or two girls and the rest boys, for the table. so no getting too friendly with them

today i have to make turkey stock, and more cookie dough ( i should have started in august and froze it all)
ok off i go for my second cup of coffee

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

slow mornings heavy on the frost

it's cold out
not mind numbing cold yet i think.... but cold
i have yet to get dressed to put the ducks out
a lot of odds and ends to clean up i think today
i forgot to call the doctor and tell her i lost my RX for the vitamin d
and to call the other doctor to have my records all transferred ( and i will pick them UP as they lost the last ones)
i did start the cookie doughs..i got one double batch of snickerdoodle dough made
and my kitchen aide is not sounding too good
i do have an old bosch which i am hoping is ok to press into service i think
i hope so as i have a LONG way to go

here is the official 2009 holiday cookie list
i am making two to three double batches of each recipe
and i am NOT making chocolate cookies this year

peanut butter chocolate chip
molded cream cheese butter cookies ( either a stag or an angel) ** and i need edible lusters for these***
oatmeal crispies
oatmeal raisin (these are for one particular friend of bernie's)
dark gingerbread
spitz ( i am thinking of lemon for these or lemon and orange) and i need to think.... should i sprinkle them? or should i drizzle them with something like white chocolate or frosting?

and i need to get the chocolate kisses, starlight mints and tiny candy canes to finish off the trays
instead of picks this year i am going to get a garland and cut the individual flowers off to use as picks, so i am thinking of burgundy and gold for this years color theme
burgundy pointsettas and gold curling ribbon

and if the trays aren't full enough i will make a few batches of brownies to fill them out

that is my yearly gift to my husband..... cause this is truly a labor of love, as it takes forever
but i enjoy planning it and seeing his face when he comes home to SEE all the trays wrapping in the cellophane with the pretty picks and curling ribbon.....and the gift bags all lined up

i really do need a LOT more space though to show this stuff off properly, i'm really not kidding about the 18 feet of continuous island counter space that i need

the trays are going to
auto mall service ( cause they get bernie's warranty work done FAST)
the shop
the shed
executive offices
dispatch ( they get quite a few trays as there are hundreds of people there)

with some gift bags to certain of the people in the company who are very very good to us, it isn't much compared to how good they are to us, but it is a thank you.

then there are some other folks that get little token bags

this years trays are small, as that is all i could find at the dollar store so i am thinking i may have to send two trays minimum
oh man.........

doing the molded cookies is going to take me two whole days
but i think i can sit through the decorating so i will do them in the middle and then leave the last of the drop cookies for the end ( the peanut butter chocolate chip will be last then)

i am not doing the sugar cookies this year, i used to roll the dough into long logs and then roll that in colored sugar and chill then slice..... i decided not to this year
although....... if i think they aren't quite full enough or colorful enough i just may
but that is something i can decide later

so there it is
holiday cookies 2009
and i am already thinking of holiday cookies 2010......
where in the theme just may be...... 'the nutcracker'!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

can i do this? AND FAWN IS 10 today!!!

first off, happy birthday to my fawnietta bonitta
she is 10 years old today, and for the last almost 5 years (5 years in march 2010) she's lived with us, and added a light to our lives we didn't know we were missing before she came
she has changed so very much in these past years
from a frightened sweet little cat who wouldn't come out of under the furniture and never did anything wrong
to a loving and sassy opinionated amazing cat charging around the house, and playing and jumping up on the bed and DEMANDING attention (and getting it)
and also getting into trouble!
you know an animal is truly at home when she does something like rough house with the others knowing she is going to be told to stop

she is a solid round fluffy little cat, and so active she puts her great grandkittens to shame
if i am up in the middle of the night, my little companion is NOT the boy....or the blue eyed one
but always is my fawnie
she is also vigilant about mouse holes
and every afternoon demands to be picked up and cuddled
I think i like that demands to be picked up and cuddled thing the she was so terrified we didn't force her at all, feeling that she needed to own her own body and come to us when she was ready......and boy did she!

i have all these cookies to do
more then any other year
oh man
i could really use those huge tins from the popcorn to store them in until i get all the cookies done and then assemble the trays
i also could use a commercial kitchen with an 18 foot long island.... or two
(what 18 foot long island in the kitchen...! FINALLY enough counter space!)
i brought up three pounds of sweet butter last night to soften,
that is enough i think for the snickerdoodles and the oatmeal cookies
i think when i am done i will have gone through 15 pounds of butter
and about 60 pounds of flour, and who knows how many of sugar etc
them birdies better continue their egg laying cause i am going to need it
i am to buy a grain mill
i was to have bought it already
i can get a fabulous deal on one and i have to find the money somewhere, as i have the grain
and it's on my list!

my list includes the weirdest things
a mattress for our bed
a tree loper
fence post hole digger
grain mill
roof panels for the duck coop
an outcross drake
5 new chickens
yak tracks (for my boots)
canvas drop clothes for curtains
galvanized pipe for curtain rods
steak knives
solar panels

see what i mean?
i really need that grain mill and that mattress

today bernie started the fire so i could stay in bed
wasn't that sweet of him
but i didn't stay there long, i came down to check the fire and make the coffee
he brought home bean pie last night
wow are they ever good
he gets two of them for thanksgiving and two for christmas every year now
they are actually made of navy beans with sugar and spices and eggies
and they are to DIE for
they are the best of pecan pie without pecans.......seriously they taste like pecan pie
i finally get bernie to eat beans? and it's PIE?

now before i go for the day
HERE is a link on loneliness
just in time for the holiday season, i found it enlightening and hope you folks will as well
have a wonderful day everyone

Monday, November 30, 2009

sorry susan

apparently i missed sunday AND today

let's see
we ran and got supplements for me on sunday, and the trays for the massive yearly cookie bake
and new undies for bernie....(we are BIG spenders you know..... a buck a tray for the cookie trays and 2.00 a pair for bernie's undies)
today it's raining
i am not all here
i fell into momma's night crate this morning, unfortunately i did this while momma was still in the crate.....
she wasn't happy
i wasn't either
then slipped in the mud down the hill
i am waiting to see if that twinge in my back means it's going out or what...

i so wish the winter pens were done
we have to fence first though to keep the 'houseguest' that lives permanently next door from allowing his dogs to harass my ducks and curse at me while we are on our property and not bothering anyone!

can you tell i am still appalled at the whole thing, not to mention that the homeowner hasn't bothered to apologize either.... but decided that i told her who she could have living there ....i DID NOT TELL HER any such thing.... but you know what.... screw them, as i realized that i am much better off since they stopped talking to me......i think this kid did me a favor in a very crude way

meanwhile i got the laundry in, which was wetter then when we hung it out,
hung some on the inside line,
i watered and fertilized the african violets, did more dishes, brought the sweet butter up to start the massive cookie baking sessions,
i can't get into the chest freezer as bernie is got his chain saw on the top of it right now
so turkey soup i think
or bean soup
i listed the wood that we can't use in our stove on freecycle hoping someone can,
made veggies for the baby birdies.........
and right now writing this for susan,

i still have to decide on a few more cookie doughs as my list (gee thanks bernie) has grown to hundreds of people used to be two big trays!
now it's oh man............ more like 11 trays, gift baskets, gift bags, etc.....
i really don't like baking that much!
i think i should have started in august...........................
oh and i need cookie paints... i have to paint some cookies!
maybe i should use eatable lusters instead?
eatable gold would look nice on the angel molded cookies

ok i need to go
i don't want to get up cause i am sorta tired but i have to, i have to unload the dishwasher and do the hand wash dishes now......and strip that turkey off so i can make some stock
maybe run the sheets and towels through the spin on the washer and then hang them by the woodstove *but they smell outrageous so maybe not*

and decide how i am going to decorate the sugar cookie molded angels
i would have loved to do the nutcracker and stag as well since i have them both
and these are all from house on the hill
i am not going to make springerle cause i don't have the hartshorn nor the time but i will make some molded cookies......... maybe if only sugar or gingerbread

right now i could use a daughter, or a neice, or a daughter in law.......... or even one of my friends..... who are all so far away

ok i got to go

Saturday, November 28, 2009

pine tree came down this afternoon

the oddest thing was only the top alive part
AND it looked like it was cut!
these are the huge forest conifers out front.
they took the phone/internet line to the ground but lucky for us we didn't lose either.
the phone company picked the loop up and reattacted it, and bernie got a new chain saw and cut the tree into logs
so that was our exciting day.
i didn't get my RX filled from the doctor cause of it though

Friday, November 27, 2009

3 cats vs 1 mouse

yup, no brainer...... my money is on the mouse
and the mouse won!
i got woken up by fawn this morning 'calling the kittens to eat'
and i also heard some tiny squeeks...
yup she had a mouse
and brought it upstairs, and TRIED to bring it to bed so i would 'eat'
yeah i don't think so

these three have been playing with this poor mouse now for 45 minutes...... growling like pitbulls and stealing the mouse from each other
i tried to get the mouse away from them but that wasn't happening either
they'd take turns running around the house with the mouse hanging out of their mouths

losing it......... finding it
(this is one dumb ass mouse and it STILL eventually got away)
yup and my cats are decended from barn cats........ yeah right

now they are clustered around the firewood.... as thaddeaus lost his grip on the mouse by the fire wood
i think the mouse is REALLY gone this time
(although like i said it's a dumbass mouse........ it got 'away' into the dirty laundry and when i moved the laundry fawn got it back)

fawn is still by the firewood, her i actually have hopes for
thaddeaus has decided it's under the computer....... at the OTHER END OF THE ROOM

my boy isn't normally that dumb so i think he is taking a hopeful stance that mouse could be as far away from the girls as possible?

calpurrnia is still sort of aimlessly wandering around.... she is pretty sure something happened but not quite sure WHAT it was....but she sure is pretty...

meanwhile i made the coffee, and the mouse has run over my feet a few times
i think we need to put more bait and some snap traps

and you all wonder how come i am so nuts

i give you exhibit A............... and the rest of the alphabet isn't too far way

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

non-classical adrenal hyperplasia

we are waiting for the test results and genetic markers
but it looks like in addition (or probably a precursor ) to pcos
will the genetic wonders never cease? i did find one site that had an evolutionary positive for this defect, 'increased intelligence'
meanwhile we wait
and i have to say, i go from disbelief to anger to hope to depression to crying to being ok

as to the doctor, we like her

we like her VERY MUCH
she's is not stupid, she isn't prejudice, nor fat-phobic, she is thorough, and took the initiative to order 'out of the box' blood work which may turn out to be the answer to the continuing problems, there may be treatment.

it won't help my looks now unfortunately, as due to my age, the hirstuism is most likely permanent, as is the baldness, and the skin satiation, and possibly the hyperpigmentoses (please excuse the spelling issues, i am not going to look them up)
it may however help the mood swings, the depression, panic attacks, anxiety, fatigue, muscle weakness, etc

oh and my blood pressure......... 120/70 which for me is kinda that stupid ASS of a doctor up here who was going to give me HIGH bloodpressure meds....... she should be stripped of her license to practice........or MALPRACTICE medicine

part of me is hopeful that i will feel better
part of me is so angry that i had to suffer, for so many years, not only the physical symptoms, but the freekish looking body, and the remarks people have thrown at me
(remember the 20 year old neighbor's houseguest just last month calling me fat)

you know......right now i am very very tired of the fight to try and get some answers


bernie's company lent him a gps to get us there.
( i told you that the people he works for are absolutely wonderful....and that is so rare in this day and age)
we'll be leaving in a few hours,
meanwhile he helped me clip wings today
i felt so bad clipping phoebe's pretty white wings but after last night with lillianna FLYING up the hill, and trying to go over to the neighbors, EVERYONE is safely clipped
lilli was a bad girl.......phoebe was a good girl
but in this case, wings needed clipping irregardless
i cleared momma's crate and hopefully she is not going to go broody, and i caught her in the beginning
you should have seen LILLI the defiant though.......oh man what a mess bringing ducks in last night, falstaff ended up in lilli's crate, lilli was loose and pooped all over the top of momma's crate (which i hosed off outside this morning)
and no one wanted to come in........ i was up and down the hill a billionty two times between falstaff and lilli
and momma!

i used that cast iron dutch oven again last night, i put a pork loin in that i put a mix of mustard, garlic, cinnamon and a bit of sugar on as a paste, (i should have added flour as it liquidfied) threw it in the dutch oven and threw that in the oven at 350.... cooked it from frozen
it was wonderful
ok i am a convert i think....
i like it much better then the crock pot, as i didn't have to add liquid.
ok so i am thinking.... le crueset stoneware needed to be researched, and it's made in Taiwan
i was debating over the pampered chef or the le crueset stoneware baker..... it is going to be le crueset i think.....IF i can wash it out cause the end result of last's night experiment is got to be soaked
plus btw, while at le crueset's site it turns out that the enameled iron line is not totally hand made anymore, AND it only gets TWO coats of enamel not the 4 i thought
(folks should take a walk on line once in a while)
now staub is from france, and according to this HERE the iron ware is still made in france
i couldn't find anything on pampered chef and where it's products are made

i thought i was done with cookware...........guess not huh?

anyway this is what i am thinking of this morning while waiting out the hour after thyroid meds for breakfast.....
(see food is on my mind....)

Monday, November 23, 2009

and tomorrow is philly

it's overcast today so far, and looks cold (maybe cause it is a bit nippy?)
i am stoking the woodstove right now
i have a bunch of things to do today, clean the kitchen, start stuff for thanksgiving, clean the fridge, find car/waiting room knitting, ... you know STUFF

we had a busy weekend.
saturday bernie stacked wood from the delivery pile to the actual wood pile, and i did laundry and cleaned the kitchen and brought house wood in (not too much but some)
sunday we went to jen and scott's for a pampered chef's party and then got home just in time to bring the ducks in and make supper
good thing bernie is off tuesday AND thursday as i feel like i've not seen him in ages and ages
he's been late most nights and weekends barrel by

last night in bringing the ducks in, MOMMA duck started that molty squeeky 'leave me alone' stuff. oh man i wish they would have all molted at ONCE and gotten this duckie hell thing over already.
right now the only one that loves me is phoebe and she was homicidal for HOW LONG?
lilli still hates me and now MOMMA?
bernie moved momma's a frame pen over near to the old shed, she must like that location better as she ran out there yesterday morning by herself without being carried and then squeeked her way back to the house by herself for the most part.
she got tired about 5 feet from the back door and i had to pick her up and bring her in
so since lilli and MOMMA, now think my parents are canine, only phoebe the standoffish loves me and boy does she love me lately
so phoebe isn't standoffish anymore! i swear it's always an adventure with duckies.

tomorrow the duckies will be coming in for the night at 1pm
or maybe earlier as we are leaving for philly about 1.

so that's about it
i think i am going to bake a pumpkin today for the holiday
what's your day look like?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

and a bit more cookware to most wrap this up

in the course of my research on cookware, both top end and acceptable substitutes
i realized that for many top brands there ARE substitutes that work as well and also cost a lot less
there are a few hand made copper pots that i don't think you could substitute for but also i doubt the average person would want them in the first place
(although i lust for them, the practical side of me realizes that i can't deal with the upkeep)

i found that for all clad you can sub either calphlon tri ply or emeril pro clad
i found that cuisinart classic chef got an all around good rating and it's available at amazon or sam's club at a very good price for a set IF you want to go with a set...

(i liked the pan configuration of the one at amazon better as i like the long handles on the saute pan, sam's has a pan of the same size and shape but with two smaller handles called i think a casserole pan- and i prefer my old corningware and pre-exploding pyrex for casseroles)

now as to sets as opposed to individual pieces, you can save money with a set if it has all the pieces you need and will use, i never like the frying pans that come with sets so that's a waste for me
that being said i am thinking of getting (in addition to what i have already) the emeril pro clad set (247.99 at amazon) as i like the sauce pans and the 6 quart 'dutch oven' which i would use as an every day soup pot (as opposed to my large stock pots which i truly adore)

the difference in the cuisinart set from the emeril set as far as the actual mechanics of how they cook?
cuisinart is encapsulated base and better for electric (but it isn't induction ready)
emeril is a tri ply construction, i suppose better for gas (i don't know about induction)

ok that is my totally unscientific opinion, i do have one piece of cuisinart and one piece of emeril, i have to use the emeril yet (small 3 quart saute pan) now my emeril is got the encapsulated base, and i am dying to pick up a pro clad from him to see

that more or less takes care of the basics, i like that enameled cast iron dutch oven.
it's not easy to clean as it does need to be seasoned because it is NOT le crueset and has an uncoated cast iron rim, and it is heavy but if i can do more one pot meals than that is fine and worth the work

i realize that this is a LOT of option for someone to negotiate through.

so my suggestion is this:

1) make a note of what you cook, what do you do the most? stove top? on electric or gas? oven?
2) how much time do you have to devote to clean up, some stuff can sit, until you are ready, some stuff needs almost immediate attention and some stuff needs to cool down then needs immediate attention
3) if you are a casserole type person, consider getting an enameled cast iron dutch oven, and that one pot cookbook (i haven't read it yet but i intend on it so check it out of the library first--- if your library is still open)
4) investigate not only the warrenty but the customer service, cuisinart was very pleasant to deal with, but i haven't heard good things about all clad... lecrueset is the best in the business i understand

i do know that i need more sauce pots (which is why i am thinking of the emeril pro-clad)
and i really LIKE the strainer lid in the cuisinart 2 quart sauce pan i got, emeril has three different sizes like that in his other stainless line
so i will eventually end up with a bunch of different sized sauce pans, which may or may not match.
if the matching thing is important to you then you need to just pick a line that overall is suitable to your cooking heat type and run with it.
i will admit that the french pot racks look so cool with the graduated sizes of sauce pans from smallest on top down to largest on bottom, but i may not have the luxury of the space or the expense of the pots

hopefully this helped someone else and if so let me know what you got and why!
cause i think that is the most fascinating part of this whole thing........ the planning!

Friday, November 20, 2009

cookware maiden voyages

today, i went to the post office and picked up my 12 quart cuisinart stock pot with lid, pasta insert, and steamer basket.
(that's why i am late on the blog posting)
i have been working out the cookware all week
this is what i have done
with the berndes i made a ham casserole with a cheddar cheese sauce.
no curdling, even though i ignored it for a bit
easy clean up oh my goodness!
i used the cuisinart 2 quart sauce pan with lip and drain lid for broccoli....... like a charm!
and i used the sam's club enamel on cast iron dutch oven for beef burgundy
which almost made bernie CRY it was so good
i have yet to use the saute pan but that's coming
and of course the 12 quart stock pot is waiting it's turn
i also have an 8 quart stockpot/double boiler on it's way
that is the ONLY way i think i will be able to make the gallon and a half of yogurt and the gallon of icecream i make
(i was so sick of fishing teflon out of the milk)
next up (this weekend i believe) the rival 18 quart roaster, with buffet insert, will be trotted out and put through it's paces
i still need a larger saute pan with deep sides i think i am going to look for a 'chicken fryer'
and i still need a chef's pan.... a BIG one
now if i get used to the enameled cast iron........ i will save my money and get on the outlet sales list for le crueset....... and get a few of them

i would dearly love to have a saucier with as good a construction as my copper core limited edition revere ware from the late 70's
so i am able to make larger batches of sauces (cause sometimes you just have to)

i am hoping to find a few more stock pots to round out that end of the cookware
but i can manage with the 20 quart, the 12 quart and the 8 quart that is coming
i would like to replace the 20 quart with something that has an encapsulated bottom though
and is induction ready just in case

the other thing that came in the mail today was a package from moonrise (sandy terp)
two fantastic lace books that were out of print but are now back in print
barbara abby's
and the lewis book
both of which are called 'knitting lace'
if you are a lace knitter or would like to be a lace knitter, these are something i believe you should have on your shelf

now onto cook books
while i rarely follow recipes (italians mostly have methods and lists of ingredients.....that is what passes for a recipe)
i am thinking of getting 'one pot meals' for the enameled cast iron dutch oven
just to learn how it works
i am playing with trial and error but a few tips would help

the other thing i recommend to you folks if you haven't gotten it (besides that pantry book that i have the link over there on the right for , which should be on everyone's shelf that puts food by, i don't have any stake in this book but i do love it and think you folks will too) is a book called 'good cheap food' it is out of print but there are copies floating around.
i have the '72 edition in paperback
i highly recommend this to anyone starting out..... or struggling with costs, food, cooking..... and kitchens.... and i highly recommend this to anyone interested in food at all
this will help you figure cookware out (without the hype) will help you figure healthy low cost foods out
and is generally a good read.
now if i only knew where thaddeaus disappeared my copy to (it's old, stained, dog earred, yellowed, and a bit ripped up and i love it, and i would like a copy of the newer edition to compare)

so that is about it for today's post.. we are having leftovers from last night for today
i am about to go inside and put some fruit salad up in pints
i do have some pictures to upload when i get around to it of the new cookware
so bare with me

Thursday, November 19, 2009

thanksgiving cometh........

next week is a busy week for us, i have the specialist down in philly on tuesday, thanksgiving thursday and i have to start bernie's cookie trays as well
prior to this i need to clean the fridge out ( it's been a few months, that's what i get for not canning daily like normal)

ironically i am canning more now then i did all summer! turkey and turkey stock, chicken stock, beans, and tropical fruit salad!
if i can get to the sale on yams and turkey again....guess what else will be going into the jars on the shelves....

and i got a lot of new cookware to do it all with...!
i still have to replace that 5 quart saute, and my chef's pan, as well as the smallest of my stock pots ( with i think an 8 quart)
and i have to add a decent sized double boiler like a 6 quart size....(cause of making yogurt and icecream)
i think however that i am about done with the cookware thing more or less
i will also add a few more knives and a few more things like more wooden spoons (cause mine are now old and cracking)
but i think that is about it for cookware
i am going to be picking up a grain mill this year from a friend of mine who is a dealer
that means no more flour from the store!!! only home ground stuff
which also means a huge goal is going to be met for being able to control the insulin resistance better
low carb and low GI blends of grains milled into flour for everything.

in addition to the cookware i did get that book on kitchens for bernie ( actually accidentally got two of the same i will be sending one back) we have a such a horrible kitchen now, even though it is an improvement over the last two incarnations of kitchen here... 5' more would be a blessing..... but we don't have 5' more- ANYWHERE
my friend jen's house has a very interesting addition of two enclosed porches one across the side and one across the front of her house..... that actually would be a smart and feasible addition if we do decide to do something here.
down the north side........ it would give us space for bookcases, and at least a few closets, such as a coat closet, food pantry, out of season. not to mention improving traffic flow through the living room.
a similar addition on the south side (but two story) would do something similar, and also include a relocation of the stairs which WOULD give us more useable kitchen space....... and more storage space and UPSTAIRS closets....(and if i could talk bernie into it.... upstairs laundry facilities)
the north one doesn't have to be wide..... 10 feet is fine
the south side..... well if we could go a bit wider there that would be good.....and put in some solar or green house panels at one point for passive solar.

i also have to say that the endless studio organization is had a tiny leap forward. bernie got a shelf system for his stuff
i have two corners yet to do in the studio and i have made nibbles on one corner.

my list of stuff to do:
the studio
clean pens
the kitchen, i have to reorganized the non existent kitchen
the upstairs pantry (which is in three locations now) need a reorganizing and the two shelf pantry needs a canvas cover
repaint the bathroom
repaint the front door

you don't want to see bernie's list......... i am going to try and move a few things off his list onto mine
last time i did that i hurt my back again
but someone has to and he isn't getting time right now

ok i have to start my day now
coffee is calling

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

bernie's angel AGAIN... we are in awe

about 20 something years ago bernie had broken down on the road, and was rescued with a remarkable story (below is the post from november 05 about it on this blog, just after that is last nights story)

Bernie's angel

I love angel stories....
even though I am not religious at all we have a few as well....
my bernie has his very own angel that wears plaid.... we even call this angel, 'bernie's angel'
one night about 18 years ago or so maybe 16...... bernie was coming home from work in jersey....he was late it was winter and pretty cold.
he got up to the andover exit on rt 80 and the car died.
since it was past normal traffic time there literally was no one on the road... there was no exit for was a dark new moon, no lights NOTHING. that area is still today really rural, hilly and empty.

so quiet and still you can hear your eyelids blink.

he looked under the hood but realized that there was no way he could fix the car as the rotor had gone and he didn't have a replacement. it was an old old chevy...... like a 72 or something....

so he got back into the car and tried to sleep, what else could he do....?

meanwhile I was frantic.......terrified at what I imagined happened to him

Ok he had fallen asleep and was woken up by someone tapping on his window.....
he hadn't fallen into a deep sleep... and was up immediately
there was a man in a plaid shirt that asked him what happened........and could he help bernie....
now it was pitch black out and a NEW MOON...... you can't get any darker then that.... and bernie was slumped down on the seat a bit....

NOW MIND YOU........ he had no lightst on in the was totally dead.

bernie got out of the car and told the man that he'd broken down but that the man could NOT help him as he needed a rotor for this chevy that was pretty old.

the man said....'is that all, no problem' went around back to his car..... opened the trunk reached in and found the EXACT ROTOR with no fumbling or looking at part numbers on the box..................... and handed it to bernie

bernie said to the man, ' I have three dollars in my's yours and if you give me a name and address I will send you more money to pay for the part'

the man said to my bernie...... 'don't worry about it...... just help the next guy on the road'

bernie went to install the part and stopped midway.... looking to see why the man hadn't left or if the man needed him......
the man and the car wasn't there....
the car hadn't ever started up
hadn't ever pulled around him.....
it is a sheer drop off a cliff there
and the road goes on can literally see for miles...... no head lights or tail lights.. either way......

bernie got chills
he'd only been under the hood a few seconds!

he went back and finished putting in that rotor and came home
he got in at 3am
I was frantic......
he was amazed

he told me what happened..... totally puzzled....
and I realized
he met his angel.......
I bless that angel all the time and know that my bernie is safe out there BECAUSE that angel watches over him

Bernie always stops for folks on the road.....going way out of his way most often to help
he has picked up folks walking in the cold and taken them to a diner to call their families and bought them coffee
he has taken gramma's and their grandchildren home and then went back to help with their car

he has always done this.......

so see we firmly believe in angels around here.
ok that was the original encounter, and then sometime recently there was an incident where the radio in my truck turned off and he moved over which saved his life and someone else's life as well.
now there is the incident last night..... bernie's angel has returned, same guy, same red plaid shirt
only last night he didn't even attempt to hide the fact that he was not 'physical'
bernie was again driving home on a dark moonless night, (new moon was sunday) again at that SAME stretch of route 80 between exit 12 and exit 19, AGAIN driving way too fast.
this time he had a medical coach from work that he was road testing as it had been sent to the dealership underwarrenty for some heavy motor work, when the radio suddenly cut out.
bernie thought that it was a wiring problem and started to check gauges, when suddenly he heard a calm and quiet man's voice from the passengers side, saying...
'son, you have to slow your speed and move over'
naturally bernie knowing that he was in the unit alone looked over to see who or what was talking to him.
he was surprised to see his angel sitting in the seat!
bernie said that the man looked as alive i am did while he was telling me, right down to his full salt and pepper beard and hair (hair to the nap of his neck, beard about 8 inches long, gray tweed newsboy cap, gold rimmed glasses, red plaid flannel shirt, red suspenders, and jeans
he had one hand clasping the wrist of the other and was sitting slightly turned in the seat (towards bernie) with his hands in his lap.
and he repeated
'son, you have to slow your speed and move over... don't worry everything is going to be ok but you have to slow your speed and move over'
bernie looked up at the road and then looked over at the man, but the man was gone ( and bernie had been doing about 80 miles an hour so i don't think the guy JUMPED)
he still is amazed at how alive and solid the man looked. he is also asking why him?
as just then a car came down that hill and hit the guard rail and spun around at a very high rate of speed...... if bernie had not listened to the angel in plaid, the spinning car would have taken bernie and that van out......the van definately would have flipped over.
bernie's other comment to me was 'he hasn't changed in all these years......he still looks the same' !!
you know, i sometimes let things upset and discourage me, and i often think of us being all alone in a very cold and unfeeling world... this reminds me......we are never alone really, and sometimes when we really need it... miracles happen