Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Ivory and Tomato Lady are two women, who to a lot of their fans, are bigger and better than Martha. Ivory has posted here in Little House in the Suburbs: Goat Update: Papers Served
about her town council's complete overreaction to the new addition to her family: a goat.
My hope is that someone who may read this will have some ideas to share with Ivory and can help save the goat and her effort to keep one.
Monday, March 30, 2009
That didn't stop us from some yardwork though. Hubbie got the raspberry supports built and set. Now he needs to thread the wire thru the eyebolts and then we'll be anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ruby red candies from Heaven.
And today, under this structure, i planted Walla Walla sweets (onions). Trying to conserve my space as much as possible because i am hoping to try a new squash this year--sweet meat. My mother in law turned me on to it the last time we stayed at her place. She served some for dinner that she had frozen from her last summer's harvest. It was soooo tasty--like a butternut squash and sweet potato all rolled into one.
followed by a fabulous looking dessert.
going for a walk with our chickens
and checking my email for emails from Ri.
He even helped iron Hubbie's clothes and watched a little tv last night. He's been a very busy little bear!!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Ri is going away for her first big girl trip with Pop and Achoo (aka G'ma and G'pa) this weekend. They are coming over to pick her up later this week, and she'll be staying with them for three days in snowy Idaho while Hubbie and i get our acts together, seriously, and clean up this hot mess of a pigsty we live in. :o) And do some touch up work to paint &/or move furniture ...
In this housing market, we are noticing a need to be sans house in order to make an offer that will please sellers, because around here, people selling farms are getting really tired of making contingent offers--especially because they've lost so much money due to updated changes in flood plain maps (so the developers won't come knocking on their doors to purchase the property as potential short plats for a million or 2 dollars.) Real estate agents aren't really encouraging either when they give you "that look", you know the one that you'd give your child when they are caught playing with dried doggie doo, when you tell them you have a house to sell. So as you can imagine, a house still full of stuff that needs to be packed, purged, and cleaned is causing me a great deal of anxiety!
And after 3 days of a great deal of cleaning, i will be driving over myself to collect my little cookie monster and enjoy a couple more days in ID with the parentals.
While she is at P&A's, i think some serious biz is going to go down. Achoo has a little surprise for Ri...not that she will get it this trip, but that eventually P&A are planning on gifting a small Singer to Ri. This was all borne out of our last visit when Ri shared her ideas with Achoo about dolly undies. Two of Ri's beloved dollies have no britches to wear under their skirts and that caused a great deal of distress for Ri. So down they went into Grannie's sewing room and stitched some up. Ri's traced the pattern on several scraps of fabric while Achoo sewed. I'll have to post a picture of them...they are super cute!
Well, now Ri would like to do a little sewing of her own. While thrifting with me one day, Ri and i found a doll quilt. She loved it from the moment she saw it, but there wasn't anything special about it in terms of vintage-y-ness or style. So i asked her would she rather make one herself? Almost instantly she was on the phone with Achoo, asking if she would help her make a doll quilt. :o) And of course, grandmas are obligated, by law i think, to always say "Yes" to their grandchildren's wishes (as long as no bodily harm is to come from it.)
Yesterday, with the help of my friend, J, Ri and i happily ended up sidetracked in a cute little quilt shoppe located in large retail craft center. And she picked out the greatest fabric:
Initially, we were on the hunt for a few more bird prints, as we had a bit of this cute chicken print (don't you just love that black spotted white chicken with all the feathers?)
and a bit of pink flamingo print which inspired Ri to want to create a bird quilt. However, penguins, parrots, et al evaded us, so we were perplexed as to what we would do next. Especially because Ri really wants to use that chicken fabric.
Then, as if delivered by Devine Intervention itself, we found this
which Ri *immediately* fell in love with because it reminded her of our chicks.
Then i found this and we both started giggling!
So yes, Ri's quilt will look like this: an homage to the lifecycle of a chicken. :)
And i think this gent is totally diggin' the vibe the fabric is giving him...i couldn't believe while i was photographing this fabric, he was sitting on our phone wire watching me through the window in our dining room!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Some may think its creepy; others plain gross with a capital G.
Or if you are like me, you'd think both initially.
Last year, our world grew a little bigger--and so did our household's "critter count" when friends gave us an old sour cream container that had been converted into a shack cozy enough for a family of baby red worms.
Our local Ag Extension hosted a series of classes for kids, and since we were unable to attend the worm bin class because of a road trip to Idaho, Ri's bff thought it would be great to make her a "welcome home" gift. Since he's a 6 year old "All American" boy, i bet some of his willingness to piece together two bins was really just an excuse to play with more worms. :o)
Although i faked graciousness at first, i was truly grossed out and perplexed. How are you supposed to look at a thoughtful 6 year old who thinks he's done something so cool for his friends and say, "Uh, no thanks, Junior"? How can you also say, "Forget it!" to a 5 y/o daughter who thinks its the bee's knees that her and her friend will get to raise worms together? We've already deprived her of the dog she's always wanted. :o) And moving to more practical matters, we have a finished basement and no garage, so i had no idea where our vermi-composter was going to find a "cool" climate (and one that didn't lend itself to finding little shriveled up twig like corpses on the Berber.)
instead of Ri becoming attached to the little guys, i grew to love them.
- They make "worm tea" (pictured above), which is the nutrient rich liquid that pools out of their home. It smells clean enough to use on indoor plants--a great alternative to synthetic plant food.
- Their castings (a worm's equivalent to a cow's meadow muffin) are nutrient powerhouses for your plants and great soil builders. The other day, i saw a 12 quart bag of casting selling for $16! Why not make them yourself for the cost of a sour cream container and some wet cardboard and shredded newspaper?
- They eat what your chickens shouldn't: citrus, tomatoes, onions, banana & potato peels. And like chickens, worms should NOT be fed meat, dairy. or oily food (that will make your composter stink and attract unwanted pests)
- No trips to the compost pile! (Especially rewarding if you live in a home like ours where the kitchen is on the 2nd floor and you have to descend 1.5 flights of stairs to get outside.) We really haven't had success with our pile to begin with. Area where our compost would cook away nicely all day are too close for my comfort to the street (those pesky nocturnal foragers could meet their demise in the road while making a bee-line for our fresh from the kitchen scraps.) And, since our front yard is our "backyard" equivalent, i am sure our neighbours wouldn't delight in the sight of a compost bin in their line of sight. :o)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Ri's made me a badge to wear while i am making homemade bread. (An official member of what, i am not sure. Maybe that might be a good question to ask?!) :o)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Nothing like waking up early thing in the morning, combining pantry staples with abandon in a bowl, and mixing up a loaf or two of soda bread. I was up at 3:30 this morning, mixing away and baking 4 loaves, so believe me when i tell you it is easy to do! :o) Soda bread is the best--i don't know why i don't make it more during the year but a couple times. Maybe being from the "Land o' Plenty", we didn't have to worry of going hungry so bad as they did back in the time of the Great Famine, and so, we never needed a loaf. :o)
Sift 3 cups wheat flour (i like a whole wheat pastry flour like Bob's Red Mill) together with 1 cup of soft white flour (like a cake flour), 1tsp salt, and 1 & 1/2 tsp. baking soda. Finger in 2 oz. of butter till crumbed. Then add at least 14 oz of buttermilk SLOWLY, stirring it into your dry ingredients until you have a wet, sticky mass. Knead ever so slightly here (you don't want to defeat the purpose of the soda.) And place in a cake tin or on a cookie sheet and cover lightly with aluminum foil.
Bread is done when it lends a swallow, hollow sound when thumped.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh. (The Blessings of St. Patrick upon you)
Monday, March 16, 2009
"If i design a logo for our family business, the perfect farm for us will be placed on the market soon."
So, here is the resurrection of the farm logo i designed for Ri's farm-themed birthday party. I made it up and transferred it onto some shirts. Hubbie and i liked it so much, we decided to adopt it for our farm when we get one and we're marketing our organic rhubarb, or whatever it is that we'll grow. Definitely would be keen on a carton of eggs, eh?
Saturday, March 14, 2009
While Hubbie and Ri built a tractor from her erector set, i puttered around the house a bit. Got some things done too. Now, i don't know a single person who would want to see before and after pics of my toilet cleaning, kitchen floor mopping, or bedroom dusting--so i didn't take any. HA! Although those were also chores that got done today, here's some pictures of the fun things i accomplished.
I finished a pillowcase for Ri for St. Patty's Day. I just loved this Alexander Henry fabric i found with all the leprechans and harps. Sadly, the Irish flag on it looks more like an Italian flag, but the overall cuteness outweighed that "technicality", so i purchased some. And i loved the Celtic Knot fabric. I am thinking i'll try to buy this out on Tuesday when it goes on sale. I love Celtic Knots sooo much....
as you can see. These knots on my wedding ring are eternity knots. Seemless and unending, such as love bounds two souls together.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I had to share this with my web-friends though. Ri is too cute. These are the decorations she made for her grandparents. On the shamrock that says "Happy St. Patrick's Day", don't you just love the picture of the snake? Too adorable. The best part though is the back of the flag. It's signed "From Ri, Mom, Dad, Sadie, Tigger (our fish) and the chickens" :o) Hee hee
What does it take to get a few of these little Bells of Ireland seeds these days? I've been scouring and my mom has checked her haunts in No. Idaho for me with no luck. They were quite elusive, like the wee leprechans.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
In the reviews of this homemade bread she found was a mention of country seed bread recipe at Canadian Living. So i thought i would give it a try today. That's what i am doing now...waiting for bread to rise....maybe instead of computin' i should be doing some laundry or something so i would really actually be accomplishing something like the housewives of the 20's and 50's, eh?
Here's the link to the bread if you'd like to try it yourself. I'll post pictures later of my rendition.
Canadian Living: Country Seed Bread
1. I used dry active yeast from the jar and warmed my water. I am not really sure what "instant" yeast is.
2. I used my trusty Kitchen Aid stand mixer to do all the kneeding for me. Half way through the 8 minutes of kneeding, it was evident that i needed to sprinkle a little of that optional 1/4 cup of flour in the bowl to get the dough to start sticking to itself rather than the mush in the bowl that it was. I ended up using 1/8 cup total.
3. I didn't have any poppy seeds today, so we'll see how it will come out. If nothing else, whomever eats my bread this week, will still be able to pass a drug test. :o) hee hee
4. I try not to use veggie oil--we are a house with many oils, but veggie is not one (except when it's homemade playdough making season.) I decided to forgo the olive oil and try the high heat tolerant sunflower oil.
Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Chocolate Cake with Hershey's Chocolate Frosting
Note: i didn't devour 1/4 of the cake all myself...Ri and Mike helped too. ;o)
2. Also, when it's time to frost a cake, it's not a good time to be talking to your uncle who's describing to you how he and your aunt just devoured this chocolately brownie cookie with Reese's peanut butter chips in it. You know why? Because then you start thinking to yourself, "By George, i think he's on to something. I'll spread peanut butter on the first cake, top it with the second and then frost the entire thing with chocolate frosting!" And because you are the type of cook who likes there to be uniformity, or a roundness, so to speak, to your cake flavours, you top the thing with peanut M&M's, for goodness sake! As if the cake itself didn't have enough calories, but you were convincing yourself that a small piece wouldn't be "that bad" of a dessert because it is a whole grain cake afterall--you know the kind...they taste more like whole wheat out of the flour sack than they do chocolate?! But now you've just ruined your arguement by slathering it with peanut butter and adding M&M's. Sheesh! Uncles...you can't live with them...and you shouldn't talk to them when it's dessert night. :o) hee hee
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Thursdays are typically my days to meet up with my dear friend, J. Her son and Ri are like two peas in a pod, and so are their moms. :o) We met up at a local restaurant and chatted for hours over copious amounts of coffee and hot chocolate.
After we parted, Ri and i decided we should head over to the children's bookstore in our dismal little downtown area and acquire some supplies for making St. Patrick's Day decor for the grandparents.
Well, after all that emersion in child related sundries, i decided i would like to look at a couple of the local trinket shops--an upscale resale is right across the street from a thrift store next to the children's shop, so between the two, you can usually find something.
Ri found this classy little red purse. She thinks it would go great with her new blue canvas Converse oxfords. (A fashionista at such a young age!)A Muppets container (with the Muppets Inc. logo on it, back when "the Street" characters were known as muppets!)
And for $6, how could you go wrong?