Tuesday, July 13, 2010

catching up

Well, it's wet outside, too wet to do much of anything. Also, by evening I am too tired to sum up the day so I let it slide into and endless cycle. I have another puzzle done, but I don't feel like getting the pictures off the camera so it will get its own post later.

I did some much needed cleaning lat week while waiting for things to dry out - which they never really did. The smaller Air Conditioner blew a fuse last week, at least it did it while it was in the 80's rather than waiting until it was 101+ like the big one did last time. ;-)

They keep saying it's going to dry out and stop raining, but it just keeps coming down. We had .35 inches on Sunday and then another .8 inches on Monday. It rained most of Monday morning, which I didn't much care about since I was stuck at the dentist getting all the prep work done for the crown for the tooth I cracked. The mosquitoes were awful yesterday, but a little less so today. It's still very wet, we had a very heavy dew last night.

I made my first batch of feta cheese yesterday. Today I will make another batch with lipase, as yesterday's was without. Then I will compare in a few days. I never liked store-bought feta, but I have found that cheese made at home tastes different than store bought. It's probably healthier too, while researching rennet I found out a lot of the commercial rennet is GMO. Yet another reason to make your own. It's going to be worth it to buy my own cream separator before long. I'll need it to make skim milk cheeses.

The goats can't even begin to keep up with the weeds and grass with all this rain, so I guess I am going to have to mow. I have decided to try cutting some of the weeds for hay. They ate them last winter when they were frost killed, you'd think they'd eat them if I dried them intentionally. I'll mow the grass for bedding, which they will also eat as hay whether that is my intent or not. ;-) Of course, all this assumes it dried off enough to work with stuff. It's wet, then it's too hot to do anything. *bleah*

I also need to work on freezing some lambsquarters and amaranth catch up laundry and all kinds of other stuff, none of which i want to do when it's this wet. *sigh*

Monday, July 5, 2010

More puzzles

While it didn't rain most of Sunday (the 4th) with somewhere around 9 inches of rain total this week things were pretty damp, so we stayed in and watched tv and did puzzles. The square one one is Dancing Skeletons by Kemon Sermos. It's 500 pieces.

The round one is Halloween Night by Bob Pettes, also 500 pieces. That's the last 500 piece one until I buy more. Next up is a 750 piece one.


Saturday's puzzle was Spooked by Bonnie White. It's a 500 piece puzzle.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Rain, Rain, Rain

*Sigh* Last time I checked the rain gauge it was at 4.3". That was from yesterday and today, but that doesn't count the couple of inches we got earlier in the week. The goats hate it. I'm not real good with lots of clouds for a real long time, either, but I admit it's lots easier to take when it's warm rather than cold.

I got my rennet and cheese press yesterday. Finally broke down and ordered them. Rennet just can't be had locally except junket rennet which I don't approve of, not sure what's up with the rennet shortage. I guess I picked about the best time to order, this about the coolest weather we've had in over a month.

Finally finished the first 500 piece puzzle, but the light is too awful to take a picture right now. Will try to get one tomorrow. Not much going on with all the rain. I'm about tired of it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lambsquarters and beef sauce

I'm not sure where people get these ideas. This is adapted from another recipe that calls it lambsquarters helper.

My version:

3 cups steamed lambsquarters leaves (roughly 8 cups uncooked)
1/2 cup diced onion
2Tbs butter
1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup flour in enough water to make a thick paste
2 cups milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp Ms Dash bold or any other spices you want.

Enough cooked pasta for 4 servings.

Saute onion and garlic in butter.
Brown ground beef in heavy 3 quart or 1 gallon pot and drain.
Add onion and garlic to ground beef and stir.
Make flour and water into paste and stir into beef and onion, add milk and stir well. Add salt to taste. Add any other spices you want because this baby is bland without them.

Serve over pasta.

Goodbye Blue

The cat was in renal failure big time. He did not look happy this morning, so we made him an appointment for this afternoon. He was "Off the charts" in terms of renal failure and also anemic. While he ate fairly well last night, it all came up a couple of hours later and was not terribly interested in food today. It would have been torturing him to bring him home and let him suffer.

I will miss him.

This has been a completely awful year for losing cats. Blue makes 5. I know I need fewer cats, but getting there is just no fun. It feels wrong when the young ones die way before the older ones. We've only lost one old old one this year, although Pink Nose was not precisely young.

The year all of the younger ones were born was the year someone did something in the neighborhood with poison or something and over half the kittens that were born were born dead or dying with their organs exposed. Of course, there were tons of strays around, too. I could never catch them all and have them fixed and it seemed like for every mother cat I did manage to catch and get spayed there were 3 more that appeared out of nowhere. That year was so bad that mother cats pooled their surviving kittens and you'd see 3 momma cats nursing 4 kittens in shifts and the kittens were from all the mothers together. I know they were inbred and immune challenged and probably poisoned with something like DDT, but it still hurts to lose them. Moving out to the country has taken me out of the never-ending kitten factory loop, which I needed both financially and mentally. Blue was like uber kitten and his mother abandoned him at 2-3 days old. He was 2 or 3 times the size of any other kitten I saw at that time so I thought he was retarded because I thought he was a week or two older than he was. He was a real sweet boy, even if he wasn't the prettiest cat.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

general update

Well, the storm door I have been trying to get my husband to replace almost since we moved into the place finally gave its last gasp last night and stopped even pretending to open this morning. It is mostly replaced now. It feels really nice to have a front storm door that works.

On the down side, my last young renal failure cat seems to be on the final slopes. We hope he'll turn around and rally again, but it seems unlikely. That will be 5 cats this year, and 4 of them to renal failure. Not happiness making. :( Still, I knew a lot of them were damaged when I adopted them. Not fun, though.

It remains cooler. I am hoping my rennet and my cheese press come tomorrow. I think I picked about teh best week I could to order the stuff given that it has been cooler this week than it has been for a long time.

I remain resolved to have a fall garden since I have almost no summer garden to speak of. Since we've had all this nice rain and cooler weather, I have been working on getting my garden into shape - basically cleaning and re-mulching beds - so it will be ready for this fall. I am trying to be good and get it all done now so that when it gets hot again it's done and I will have much less work to do to keep it under control. Mulch is wonderful stuff in terms of keeping down the weeds.

Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28

Set up chevre last night, but it never set up. Not sure what I did wrong. Maybe it was the pot I used. Haven't used that one before. Set it up in my small crock pot insides today. It doesn't hold a full gallon, but it is ceramic and shouldn't react with anything if that was the problem, even if I have never used IT before either.

Finished my first Halloween puzzle yesterday afternoon. It's called Midnight and it's by Alan Giana. It's only 300 large pieces, so it was a quick put together. The next one will not go nearly so fast, 500 small pieces. I have the edges sorted out and that's it.

We had about an inch and a half of rain last night and a lovely cool day today. I don't feel like I made efficient use of the day, but I did get cracking on cleaning up the garden some. I did not get bread or cheeseballs made, both of which were on my list, but such is life. I have this whole problem with cleaning up the garden. I keep going "I don't need it, so why push it?" but then I will hit fall and need it and it will be a complete and utter MESS and I will NEED it. *sigh* I will try to do better this year. Should be some easier, right? I'm not doing much with most of it. If I get it all ready and mulched, it will be ready to rock and roll with this fall when I need to plant the fall garden.

Ordered a cheese press today, and rennet. Getting rennet locally has been a real pain this year. Not sure what is up with that. I'm not actually sure I NEED the press yet, but I will eventually. I'm giving roughly 7 quarts a week to the wildlife rehabilitation center for a fawn. That has put a dent in my milk supply for cheese making - not that I'm complaining since I have been having trouble getting rennet. But there's only so much you can do with chevre, ricotta, and labana. Of course, now I have kefir to play with for cheese too. Gonna try to do a "cottage" cheese made with kefir cultured milk tomorrow, assuming I have enough milk leftover to do it after I haul stuff off the the wildlife center. I think I will. Uni has gotten to where she gives me 4lbs 5 ozs pretty regularly, with occasional forays off into more. OTOH, she also occasionally manages to let her kids out of their locked stall, and when she does that they drink about half. She had been only giving me 3.5 lbs, it's amazing how much more that extra 13ozs a day adds in terms of milk to use. If only I can keep the kids locked up. ;-)

Sunday, June 27, 2010


A neighbor gave me a kefir culture, so I have been doing a little reading on that. I am nearly caught up on goat feet, which probably means it's time to start over on them again. *sigh* Never ending task, about like laundry.

Still not in the stitching kind of mood. I have felt like I'd like to put puzzles together again, and I have a whole bundle of Halloween puzzles I have collected, but only done one of. With all the cats, we had to work out how to be able to work on puzzles in a convenient room and still keep the cats off the pieces. Rather than risk a Halloween puzzle (which can be hard to find/replace) we "tested" the Plexiglas cover with a cheap tiger puzzle. We finished it last night. It actually has a glow in the dark picture on it, but the camera wouldn't pick it up.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tdap is not fun

Since I have animals and I garden, and I scratch and cut myself pretty regularly outside, I get a tetanus shot every 5 years(in years divisible by five so I know when the heck I had it last). This last time the doctor insisted I needed a Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria or somesuch). I just got over a virus with a nast fever not two weeks ago. Now I have a nasty welt and a fever again. *bah* I'd say "not doing that again", but I don't have to do it again unless they decide to change the recommendations. If they change them I doubt I'll take it again anyway unless I have a lot of close contact with babies.

I finished another Christmas cameo ornament today. I am totally not in the mood for Christmas, so I started a Halloween one instead of another Christmas one. I definitely have Halloween on the brain lately. I think I will make butter mints and maybe chevre mints this weekend (cream cheese mints, only I'll substitute chevre in). Since I usually mold my mints, I will probably just make them in Halloween shapes and freeze some. That'll give me a chance to play with some of the new molds I got last year but didn't have a chance to use. The ideal mint mold does not have too many fiddly bits for the fondant to get caught in. Then you pop it out and let it dry and either eat or freeze.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Halloween is coming

I can't seem to get worked up about much of anything this year, but I am in the mood for Halloween, so I'm going to go with it. I found some really nifty puzzles from a company called Heye and I have ordered them to add to my Halloween puzzle collection. We've figured out how to rearrange the furniture so we can put a puzzle together while we watch tv. (It was fitting a table into the space that was the issue, we have a huge sectional sofa that we only use parts of any more.) I'm going to get that room clean and get the table in and get cracking on Halloween cross stitch and puzzle putting together. We've even figured out a barrier to put on the table to keep the cats from stealing puzzle pieces while we're not working on it. I will order the less pricey and more traditional puzzles I want in another month or two along with some Halloween count down calenders I found for sale this year. The Heye ones had to come from Canada, I could only find one of the three I wanted sold in the US.

Happy Haunting!