Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Cutting of the Hazelnuts

When we moved in here we had a large front yard and large back yard and slowly over the years both yards have gotten increasingly overgrown. Some of it is just because we live in the woods and the woods grow but a lot of it has been things I have planted. Sometimes plants are cheap and you think it is a great idea and you think you will use them and you never do. And sometimes you just don't know how big those plants will get. It never occurred to me that hazelnuts could grow this big!




 I planted them by the driveway and every year now we have to trim the driveway side back so there is room for both mine and Michelle's cars. Even worse....sadly...we never really used the hazelnuts. They are small. Too small for any nutcrackers so you have to use a hammer and most of the time you crush the meat. Just getting them all cleaned of their shells is a ridiculously slow job and I could deal with us never using them if at least the wildlife used them but there has never been a squirrel or anything else collecting nuts from the two bushes.
So I mentioned to Phil that maybe we should cut them down and open up the yard some and he jumped right on that idea and said it would make the yard a whole lot easier to cut the grass and he would do that next.
We have two pairs of "loppers" and started cutting but I am sick today....some sort of sore throat, ache all over, dizzy, fever off and on...sickness, and I just couldn't get my bush cut and Phil had to come finish it up.
I told Phil it would be a great place to plant my two rose bushes I bought a couple weeks ago and he just rolled his eyes at me. :D



Nothing left but the brush to take off now.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Progress!

Phil made some progress on the boat yesterday. He got some pressure treated wood and tore out the old decking and put in new. Plus a compartment for storage. We'll have to wait until next week to look into getting new seats, battery, cover, water-proof lights for the trailer (they are broken) etc.



Saturday, April 8, 2017

A New Adventure

So Phil and I have lived here on this lake many, many...many years now and never had a boat. I'm a bit fearful of boats....well not of boats exactly but of the lovely thing (snakes...turtles...alligators) that we have swimming in the water here. I don't want to fall in with them! But I do like the idea of having a boat to go fishing because shore fishing just isn't very good here. However, it has never been on our agenda to actually buy a boat....having one given to you is a whole different story.
One of Phil's bosses gave his a jon boat this week..free...with the trailer and all! It is in rough shape but IT WAS FREE! So boating has become the new adventure but first there is the "fixing up" part.




The plan is to replace the decking, and add in some storage spaces. Replace the seats and fix the lights on the trailer. I'll have pictures as we progress.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Little Brown Hen

So those of you who are on my facebook may know that I recently got a new job- a full time every day job.....and because it is right before the Master's Golf Tournament (very big here) the State Park where I was working on weekends is going to be full the whole week of Master's and even though I am not obligated to stay (they make us sign a paper saying so when we take the job), I could not just leave them without anyone working the weekends through the week of the Master's so I have agreed to keep working weekend until they find someone.....
....anyway, that isn't what this post is about. The post is about the little brown hen that is loose in my yard who stole a little nest for herself right in plain sight in my back shed by the old rabbit pens. It was under where I lean our hoes, shovels and rakes so she had a fairly safe spot...or so she thought anyway.


I had no idea how long she had the nest but she had sat on it for quite a while and I knew she must be getting close.
I went to my weekend job at the Park...and when I got home Phil had the little brown hen in a separate pen and it looked like she had been attacked and had a broken leg. Normally I would have put her down but she had that little nest and I knew they had to be close to hatching so I put her on her nest and hoped for the best. Came home the next day and she was still on the nest and she was clucking whenever the dog came to close to her. Came home the next day and she was still on the nest and I heard peeping and went to lift her gently off the nest, and found she was dead.
Her eggs, however weren't, but they were cool and I needed to do something. When I picked them up I found several of them were pipped. I took them inside and put a damp paper towel in a bowl and put the eggs in it under the brooder light. Normally for eggs to hatch in an incubator you need humidity to keep it moist enough so the chicks don't dry out and get stuck in their shells so I kept adding water to the paper towel from time to time, hoping I could keep it moist enough. I had to help the last two a little but they made it. One egg was never pipped and when I candled it with the light it had not developed. We ended up with four dark brown chicks and two yellow stripped chicks.







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Monday, March 20, 2017

Today 3/20/17

Long day. Slept till 8:00 this morning but missed a few hours between 4 and 6 because my hips were hurting. My doctor tells me I can go to another doctor and get a shot and it will help but I can't afford other doctors besides him
. Had to go shopping. When you are eating fresh fruits and vegetables most of the time it involves a lot of shopping. Got a new bird feeder and of course, some new flowers that were marked down because wal-mart killed half their stuff during the late frost we had but a few survived to get marked down. 
Went to the thrift store and got five sets of double pointed knitting needles which was great because our Wal-mart only sells size 3 for some reason. I also got a little chair for the porch. Someone broke one of the plastic chairs  and then just left it on the porch for the unsuspecting.....
Went to visit my brother Andy and his wife Kat for a while. I do enjoy those visits. 
Came home. Cleaned out one chick brooder then cleaned out a small pen and moved the chicks in the other brooder (8 chicks) outside! Yeah! 
Put up my new bird feeder. Watched the birds for a while. They seemed to like it. Also got to see that a pair of chickadees have decided to make a nest in my birdhouse that hangs on the side of my yard swing. They have done this before and the cats chase them off but we'll see how it goes this year. We have a lot less cats since getting them all spade. 
 Marinated pork loins are in the convection oven and we'll have salad with it for supper.
Sorry no pictures today. Someone on my facebook mentioned liking my posts so I thought I would try a little more detailed post here and see how it goes. I will try to take pictures next time though.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Today Was a Good Day

I was supposed to go to get chicken wire and a new stapler so that I could fix up some pens so that we could get the older batch of chicks outside. There are too many of them and now that they are older they just don't fit in the brooder anymore. They need more room! But just before I left I listed my spare roosters on our local yard sale page and had a couple of different people answer it. Then someone messaged me about chicks. I arranged for them to come after I got back from town where I didn't buy the wire and stapler because I knew if I got rid of the roosters I could move hens around and would have a spare pen.
When I got back the woman came for the chicks. She picked out ten of them to take home with her and then got two of the roosters as well. Great! I made a little money and solved part of the chick problem since she took only from the older chicks.
Later a very nice man and woman came for the other roosters and I sold them two hens too because I do have a whole lot of hens now. This totally emptied out my smaller pen and left one other pen without a rooster at all. I do have two silkie roosters though and they may end up in with those hens which will mean another small pen will be empty. (Yes, chicken musical chairs!).

In other good news... while I was at the store I happened to find haddock on sale. We have not had haddock since we left New England. I have never seen it for sale here but there it was in the seafood case. I got 4 fillets dipped them in milk and breading and baked them tonight along with some macaroni and cheese, veggies and sourdough bread. It was SO good! I hope you all had as good a day and since tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day it is sure to be another good day! :)



Friday, March 10, 2017

Just a Little Black Cupboard

A few weeks ago I saw a little black bathroom cupboard at the thrift store but I didn't get it because it was spray painted black and everywhere something had touched it the paint had scratched right off. The next week, however, the little black bathroom cupboard was still in the thrift store and so it must have just been mine. Anyway, I took it home because I knew just where we needed it...in Michelle's bathroom. Michelle's bathroom is really cluttered and messy. Apparently it takes a million products to make her beautiful every day.

 

I wish I had taken a picture of the cupboard when it was black but I forgot all about it. I just took it out on the porch and started sanding...and sanding...and sanding...   Took me most of the day to get as much black off of the cupboard as I could. Then came the painting...coat after coat. Did I mention I am not exactly a painter? I was still doing coats the next day.


Then I decided that since her bathroom is mostly yellow that we needed some yellow stenciled on. I ended up with this.


Phil got it mounted on the wall for me tonight which turned out easier than I thought it was going to be. 


I cleaned up and organized Michelle's bathroom again and now we have this:






Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dried Cranberry Banana Bread

So I did test out my dried cranberries and, of course, there were no recipes for bread using dried cranberries so I made one up. I used the cranberries right out of the bag and because they are so light most of them rose to the top. I might try letting them soak in water next time and the bread was a little dry so that might help with the dryness as well or I might use milk instead of water and see if that helps. The flavor however, was outstanding. Such a nice light banana taste with just a touch of cranberry. It was wonderful.



Dried Cranberry Banana Bread

Grease two loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup margarine or butter (1 stick)

Combine these ingredients in a bowl and cut in butter until pea sized.

Add:

2 eggs
2 bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cup water

Mix well.

Add 2 cups dried cranberries. Pour half of the batter into two loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour.







Dehydrated Cranberries

The cranberries were finally marked down at the store (although not as cheap as they usually are) and I bought three bags thinking I would make cranberry sauce again but then never had time for it. When you buy produced marked down here it is usually perfectly good if used soon...so I needed to use these. I decided to dehydrate them thinking they would end up like dried cranberries I had seen in the stores...kind of like raisins. That isn't what happened when I dehydrated them however.

They did not shrivel up, most of them kept their shape but feel hollow inside and they are brittle and break up when crushed. It is very odd and not at all what I expected. 


So I have some experimenting to do with these cranberries to see what I can make with them. I am thinking of rehydrating them in water and using them in bread or muffins. I also suppose there could be the option of making cranberry powder of some kind and using that in recipes but I am thinking I likely won't use it so I will try the first option and let you all know how it goes.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At the Time....

Sure it did. Let the hens keep their eggs, we'll just sell the chicks.....And then three hens got on the huge nest together and 21 days later the chicks started to hatch...and the other two hens that were in the pen....kept laying in the nest...and a few chicks hatched one day...and then a few more the next and then a few more....
I advertised them on the local Sale facebook pages....and no one responded....no one at all...and the chicks keep coming...
And I set up a second brooder because there were just too many in the first one....
There are now 32 chicks. Some of them are getting rather big. I think I'll make a sign and advertise on a few more sale sites...and hope.



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Breakfast

This is just a quick little post about what I had for breakfast yesterday. My cousin had posted a video of these baked eggs on toast and I just had to try it. It is nothing but a piece of bread you mash down in the center to make an indent large enough to hold an egg. Crack the egg into the indent. Then butter around the edge of the bread (I am not sure why it needs this but I did it anyway) and sprinkle with cheese around the edge. Then bake it for approximately 10 minutes. I used my little convection oven to bake it.


I added some green onion from an onion I have growing in my onion bin. These were pretty good and a nice change from regular poached eggs on toast which I usually have.


And speaking of green onions. I have added some onion bulbs to a large tub that hold my small rosemary plant and they are growing good already. I have never had any luck getting onions to grow large bulbs but I do like the green onions anyway. 



 And here is just a pretty pot on my porch. I am loving the little blue irises. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How Resilient Baby Chicks Can Be

I have seen a lot of postings on the 1000 chicks left in a field. It is not the first time it has happened and I am sure it won't be the last. Someone on one of these postings said they were sure now that the chicks had gotten "chilled" that they would surely all die. I think that is very unlikely, though I am sure some of them will, but most of those chicks were still standing, moving and peeping and I am sure once they are warm again, they will be fine. A thousand chicks all together can make an awful lot of body heat as well.
Anyway, I wanted to tell you a story about a chick I had hatch yesterday (Yes, I know I said I wasn't going to let the hens keep any more nests....and I meant that...and it didn't happen..... . .).  I have three very young hens sitting on a huge combined nest in one of my pens. They are having a staggered hatch and because there are still roosters in the pen with them, I am having to get to the chicks before the roosters do because they kill the chicks. Yesterday I had to go shopping and I checked the nest first thing in the morning (before the roosters left their perches) and again before I left and got one chick to put in the brooder. Well, while I as gone apparently another chick was born and the roosters did get to it and pull it out the nest and peck at it. When I came home I found its little body on the ground, all cold and not breathing but because I can never accept things like that I held it and rubbed it and breathed warm air on it and even I was completely amazed when it gave a big gasping breath. So then there was a lot more rubbing and trying to get it warm. I sat on the back steps in the sun and worked on him until he got to breathing with fairly regular breaths. Then we moved into the house and I held him in my hand under the brooder light, after maybe 20 minutes, the chick actually moved around a little and peeped. I got it a clean paper towel and put it on the towel in the brooder but then because he had a wound on his wing, I had to sit there by the brooder and keep the other chicks from pecking at it because chicks tend to peck at anything red. As I sat there the chick steadily improved. It worked on getting its legs under it and peeped whenever the others got near but it took the chick nearly a half hour before it could hold its head up.


And at least another half hour before I felt I could leave the brooder for short periods of time (to try to make dinner. Yes, it was a very long day). Eventually he got so he could move around, not really standing yet but most chicks scuttle around some before they actually learn to stand so I felt he was doing well.  
Still,  this morning I was not sure I would find him alive. This was a chick that was totally cold and not breathing when I found him. He had definitely gotten "chilled". 
And I barely could find him. All of the chicks were up on their feet and walking around this morning and I counted them and all fourteen were there. I really had to look to find the yellow chick with a now tiny spot on his wing to know it was him. 


And that is how resilient a baby chick can be. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Chicken Fajitas

So I am trying to get more vegetables into our every day dinner dishes. We always have a vegetable but I want it to actually be part of the dish. A little less meat and a bit more veggies. I have saved several videos on facebook and I try them from time to time. This one just seemed appealing this week. It was made as a single serving in parchment paper on facebook but I needed an actual meal for us. I thought Michelle was going to be here too but she left with a friend instead so looks like we'll have leftover for lunch for a few days.
Anyway, it starts with peppers and onions. I got 5 peppers marked down at the grocery store today, yellow and green. I used them all because...I don't want any just sitting in the fridge.



 Then I cut up a nice size onion. I put some boneless, skinless chicken tenders on top,



 salted with pink salt, drizzled on oil, sprinkled on a packet of taco seasoning,



spread a 24 oz. jar of mild salsa on top, and then sprinkled with cheddar and Italian shredded cheese.


It went in the oven covered with foil,  on about 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, then removed the foil for the last 15 minutes. 



It was really good! Definitely a recipe to make again.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Slicing the Homemade Bacon

Phil found another hunk of our homemade bacon in one of the freezers and took it out to thaw but because he was helping Michelle move furniture in her room last week, he never got around to slicing it so that was one of my jobs today.
I still use that cheap little Oster slicer that I got at the thrift store and it still works great. This hunk of bacon was a bit fatty so it must have been from that second hog who got too big. I sure could smell that plum wood we used to smoke it with from that plum tree that died in the yard. I don't think I'll ever look at a dead fruit tree the same way again, that wood will always be something to save for smoking. That wood from the plum tree had a much better taste than any wood smoking chips that we could get from the store.
This made several packages of bacon for us. I believe we will have breakfast for supper tonight and use some of it up.


In other news, I am still crocheting and knitting and selling what I can...and maybe a little ribbon embroidery just because I had never done it before. These are some fingerless gloves that I made.



Let's see what else....Miss Suzie...well, she turned into Poozie..and that just stuck and no one remembers that her name was Suzie now. So Poozie has gotten big and she is definitely the most challenging of the dogs we have. She manages to get out of the fenced in backyard all the time...either by jumping higher than we thought she could or fitting through smaller spaces than we thought she could. How I wish I had known about Jack Russell behavior when I got her...though I am sure I would have still taken her. the other three dogs are fine as well, just growing older and dealing with what comes with that. 



My chicks have all grown into adults now and all are laying. There are roosters to give away and hens who are stealing nest (viciously!) again. I believe I will have chicks to sell this spring but that will be an interesting venture too, I'm sure.
Spring is coming though this winter has been so mild, it is as if we never had winter. I'm hoping we can find house to buy this year. Will keep you all informed on that as we go along.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Onion Soup

For a long time, I didn't like onions at all. As a kid we hated them but as I have grown older my tastes buds apparently have died off some and I like onions just fine now. I saw a recipe on facebook for onion soup that was very simple and had few ingredients so I thought I would try it. You took 6 large chopped onions (I had some small ones but only did seven because it seemed like an awful lot of onions to begin with), cooked them in butter for a few minutes until they softened, put them in the crock pot and added a teaspoon and a half of Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. I added two 32-oz containers of beef broth. You then just let it cook.
Now, all day this was cooking and I could only think of how disgusting I thought it smelled. It also tasted very bland.


 I read the comments on the facebook video and decided to add salt and pepper as one person on the comments mentioned...it was a bit better...still not good. I really felt that if we were going to have it for a meal....it needed meat. I scrambled up about a pound and a half of hamburger. Then shortly before Phil got home I put a few spoonfuls of hamburger in an oven safe bowl, ladled the soup on it, then put three pieces of sliced French bread on top with a shredded Italian cheese mix on top of the bread. I put it under the broiler until the cheese browned.


I just can't tell you how incredibly wonderful this was. So GOOD! Definitely going to have to make this again.