Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nothing beats having a plan.

Unless of course, it's having a really successful plan. ;-)

Finally got a rough idea of where I wanted to put stuff for Halloween. Another thing we did get done yesterday was ordering hay for the winter. Cleaning up the hay barn so new hay could be delivered tomorrow got most of the rest of Halloween that isn't in the storage room exposed.

Rough plan: Graveyard between the two trees on side of front yard, gargoyles in graveyard, maybe grim reaper statue in graveyard, flying reaper overhead . In half circle front yard gazebo on one side and carriage on other. severed heads hung from gazebo and spider, web and shivering wrapped mummy inside (assuming they have any shiverers left by the time I get back to town to buy one, put Irving and his coffin in there if not.) Small skeleton in carriage - make or find pillow for him to sit on. Dead Eye Drake on front porch by stairs. Dropping pirate head screamer somewhere not too far from Dead Eye. The peanut gallery may be in front of the house by the tree with ivy. Lawn spinners out front in half circle wherever they look good. Chair ghoul will probably be under porch, too. Candelabra in guest room window along with candle figures and what have you, something in windows in my sitting room so that no one can see in if the cats pull the curtains down. Assemble arch and see if it will span driveway or if I will have to figure out another place to use it. Various Halloween spinners in whatever trees I have room for them in and whatever I've forgotten wherever it fits.

Now, if only it all works out the way I want it to.

Here's hoping the skunks don't make it into the garage this evening. I'm about tired of them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

grind grind grind

Not nearly as much going on as I would like. I am behind on Halloween, behind on the garden, behind on reading, behind on everything. I did start my Halloween Advent tree again. Way late, but if I post 2-3 pictures a day it'll gt caught up fastish. is where it lives.

It has been a bad year for losing animals. I lost all those goats just before Easter (and one cat before then) then I lost a cat just after Easter, then another in September, and within a week of losing the one in Sept. another one had a stroke. She is still with us, but will never be completely well again. No idea if she will get worse enough that we need to put her to sleep next week or if we'll still have her 2 years from now. The vet doesn't think we'll have her more than 2 years and seems to think it likely it'll be a lot less, but we will try whatever is reasonable. This is the price you pay for pets, eventually they get old and die. I have about 8 that are over 14 and after 14 they are kind of touch and go. Sometimes they live to 25, but mostly they don't make it quite that far.

The garden is usually gone by now, but it was so hot in July Aug and Sept that nothing except cucumbers and zucchini were coming in. The tomatoes, which normally start in late July waited until Sept and have only just kicked into high, so I am frantically drying and freezing.

On the good side, while I haven't gotten much of anywhere with the Halloween decorations, I am starting to get a feel for what needs to go where. I haven't decorated since we moved here. That first year I worked a haunted house and was just too tired to haunt my own yard, and last year I was sick in October.

I'm still not sure what tree my severed head collection is going in, or even if they will ultimately end up in a tree, but that's where I'm going to start with them. I know where the graveyard is going, but I don't want it to be the main focus this year. I was fortunate in finding a cheap Christmas lighted cart and horse which can be used for many different holidays with a little creativity. I am planning on trying to make that the focus. Also, I am going to pull out all my pinwheel/spinner/fluttery type Halloween decorations and put them out. They can migrate around the yard when they get in the way of other decorations until I get a feel for everything. Once I get started, I'm sure everything will come to heel pretty quickly.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Halloween reading list

Since I can't keep track of anything that's not on a computer... My current tentative Halloween reading list for 2009 (no, I don't think I'll get them all read, but you never know):

Dracula - Bram Stoker
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
A Night in the Lonesome October - Roger Zelazny
The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury
October Country- Ray Bradbury
Dial-A-Ghost - Eva Ibbotson
Prodigal Son - Dean Koontz
Talion: Revenant - Micheal Stackpole
Helter Skelter -Vincent Bugliosi With Curt Gentry
Lair of the White Worm - Bram Stoker
Dark Satanic - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Thunderhead - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Carrion Comfort - Dan Simmons
Renfield Slave of Dracula - Barbara Hambly
Vampires, Burial, and Death - Paul Barber
The Book of Werewolves - Sabine Baring-Gould
The Werewolf - Montague Summers
Vampires Two Centuries of Great Vampire Stories - Ed. Alan Ryan
The Vampire - Montague Summers
Charles Keepings Book of Classic Ghost Stories
The Old Gods Waken - Manly Wade Wellman
Wildwood Road - Christopher Golden
Ghosts I Have Been - Richard Peck
The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires - Katie MacAlister
The Golem - Chayim Bloch
Vampire Hunter D - Hideyuki Kikuchi
Madwand - Roger Zelazny
Dilvish, the Damned - Roger Zelazny
The changing Land - Roger Zelazny
Vampire The Complete Guide to the World of the Undead - Manuela Dunn Mascetti
Witches and Warlocks - ed. Marvin Kaye
Covenant With The Vampire - Jeanna Kalogridis
Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown -Ed. Marvin Kaye
Weird Tales - Ed. Marvin Kaye
Great Irish Tales of Horror - Ed Peter Haining
The Witchcraft Reader - Ed. Peter Haining
Virtuous Vampires -Ed. Dziemianowicz, Weinberg & Greenberg
A Taste for Blood - Ed. Martin H Greenberg
Book of Vampires - Ed. Stephen Jones
An Old Friend of the Family - Fred Saberhagen
Sunshine - Robin McKinley

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Could be dangerous

Every recipe for Mocha Java chillers I saw used ice and a blender. The stuff is made with soft serve as far as I know. I know DQ Moolattes have ice in them, but I never thought they were supposed to. I thought that was DQ having bad soft serve machines.

My recipe:

2 Tbs cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1Tbs espresso powder
small amount of water
1.5 cups half and half
1.5 cups goats milk (or cows milk)
dash of vanilla

Make a paste of the coca, sugar, and espresso powder with just enough water to get them to paste form. Add vanilla. Add cream and milk and stir well. Pour into quart "instant" ice cream maker and chill about 10 minutes. Spoon into glasses and add a drizzle of carmel syrup if you want. Eat. Serves 2.

Cream costs $2.66 a quart at Wal-mart right now, goat milk comes from my goat...Mocha Java chillers cost $2.89 each AND I don't have to drive into town to get it if I make it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More on milk

I've made two attempts at Devonshire style cream. One flopped miserably, the other did not succeed as well as I'd have liked, but I think I'm on the right track. Maybe I didn't heat the cream to a high enough temp. I'll try again some time when I'm in the mood to play with it.

Anyway, I skimmed the top after the required cool down, and then used the rest (with some more milk) in vinegar cheese. I had made vinegar cheese before and had not been happy with the results. I am really happy with this batch. We'll be using it in a few Indian style dishes this weekend. I gotta dig the butter out of the freezer and make ghee so I can fry the cheese.

Next up is a yogurt cheese that is the precursor to making a chocolate dessert cheese. *yum* Then I will probably break down and make standard rennet chevre. Maybe I'll do them both tomorrow if I have enough milk. I think I will, I have over a gallon now and I can't imagine they won't give me another quart by this time tomorrow.

I am so far behind on working on seed starting for the garden I wonder if I will ever catch up, but rather than keeping saying "I will spend the day on this" and then not, I just make myself drop a few varieties in the germination trays every day. This way at least I'm doing SOMETHING rather than deciding I can't face it. I'm not sure what's up with that, either, normally starting seeds is one of my favorite activities. I just love seeing new seedlings. That whole promise of an excellent garden, before the reality of weather and work set in. ;-)

I should finish the peppers today. Then I should decide what I am going to do about alfalfa for part of the back pasture. As I plan to plant individual plants, I imagine I will not actually get as far as I would like, but since sowing them, even in a rainstorm, didn't work last year I need some assurance the darn things will germinate. Need to order perennial alfalfa, then I won't have to plant it again next year and I can replace and enlarge over time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And what do you do with all that milk?

Well, of course, once you have milk have milk. I know I thought about this before I got the goats and decided on minis partly because I didn't want to be swamped with too much milk, but the reality of even 1 quart of milk a day is more overwhelming than I thought.

We go through phases of drinking milk, and right now we appear to be "off", so I have to come up with more things to use milk in. I ordered a cheesemaking book and my dairy goat book has a couple of recipes in there, but I wanted something simpler. I poked around the net and came up with rice pudding. The recipe called for a quart plus one cup, but I use less than that.

Goat milk rice pudding recipe (my version):

3.5 cups goat's milk
1 cup of raw rice cooked in 2 cups of water, still warm (Ok, hot, even)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond flavoring
1/2 cup fruit (raisins, dried blueberries, craisins, whatever)

Heat oven to 350F.

Take cooked rice (still in pot) and add the 1/4 cup sugar to it and stir well. Pour in about 1 cup of the goat milk and mix well. You want your sugar dissolved.

Add flavorings, fruit, and enough of the rest of the milk to be easy to stir. Stir and pour into 2.5 quart square casserole dish. Rinse the rice pot with the rest of the milk and turn that into the dish, too. Then stir a bit to mix everything thoroughly.

Place in oven and bring the oven back to 350 for about 10 minutes. Turn off oven and let sit in cooling oven until the rice soaks up the milk. The top will be slightly browned and the pudding should cut easily with a knife and hold form fairly well. Serve hot or cold.

If you use raisins, you might want to put in a tsp of cinnamon and omit the almond extract.