Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Morels

We had the best time this evening. Granted, Hannah is sick with a Spring cold and Abigail was tired (and mad because I didn't duck low enough and she got whapped in the head with a branch while she was riding in the baby backpack!), and Andy had homework...but we went hunting nonetheless.

And we found them! We probably picked - I dunno - 30-40 morels. Ahh, they smell like the mountains themselves. Earthy, damp and alive. According to all of the websites I've seen on morel hunting, you aren't supposed to tell where you found them. Therefore we owe a big ole' THANK YOU to CL for his pointers and for turning us on to a patch. I am hooked!!

We sauteed the first batch in butter after flouring and egging them and they tasted better than anything I've ever eaten before in my life. They taste like life itself. My mouth is watering just thinking of them. I'm going to try and not be such a greedy gut and dry these by hanging them up near the wood stove tonight.

Anything and everything you read about foraging for food in the wild cautions that one should not eat wild mushrooms under any cirucmstances unless they have been positively identified. So I checked my ID and ate. Just kidding. But a morel is a morel and not easily confused with other fungi.

At the first bite of the warm, spongy and meaty morel morsel (alliteration rears its ugly head), I would have been fine if I had died right then. In fact, I told Andy to just be sure to take care of the girls and not to mourn my loss as I was confident of my salvation. (And I am SO looking forward to Heaven, anyways!). And just smirked and said, "eat it!" But, alas, I didn't die! However, as I'm writing this, I'm making a mental note to drill Hannah on the topic of mushroom safety. Well, Andy ate some too and he agreed that they were delicious. Eating fungus didn't kill him either :)

I can hardly wait for Saturday. We'll be heading back into the woods!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chicken Football

I could sit and watch those chickens for hours. I can't, though, because even though Sugar Baby is so cute saying "teh-tens, tee-tens," the minute I put her down she heads for the garden to eat mulch and dirt clods. And Hanno is no better. When she's not trying out somersaults in the grass, she's running hysterically around the yard with a maniacal laugh that sets the hens on edge. So I get very few opportunities to commune with the poultry.
However, we got a good laugh at their antics tonight. Everything I've read about raising a backyard flock encourages feeding kitchen scraps to the birds. Thus, I brought the girls a treat of squishy, stale grapes. Keep in mind that chickens have intellects on par with river rocks. Within our small flock there is a range of measurable IQ's with a high that is several standard deviations away from average. The White Leg'orns are the brains of the bunch (remember the cartoon?), the Rhode Island Reds are next, and the Araucanas are...well.....um, they have pretty feathers.
So I tossed the grapes into the center of the pen (you would have thought it was a hand grenade the way some of them ran), and the white girls were all over them. One picked a grape up in her beak and started running. She had no idea WHAT it was, but she had it. And they all wanted it. So there are 10 chickens chasing her back and forth around the pen. (Yes, 10 chasing chickens. One of the Reds feels that chicken football is purely a spectator sport.) Feathers are flyin'. Back. And forth. And back. Forth. And then someone else gets another grape. Then they all go look at the bunch of grapes. Then they eat them.
Now, the reds and the whites think that grapes are delicious. The Araucanas aren't sure what to think. Each Araucana get a grape, but only because everyone else has one. They run, too, but only because everyone else is. They drop their grapes and eye them, cocking their heads to peer down at them. Then they pick up their grape and run some more. Then a white girl or a red girl tries to get their grape and they give it up, with a bewildered look. (Actually, the Araucanas always look a little bewildered. Maybe its their green feet.) I was actually a little worried that the grapes were make them insane. Or drunk. But no, they are just silly chicken-girls.
On Friday I got the bright idea to feed them dandelions. See, after all the rain we've had, we have a particularly large crop of dandelions that have gone to seed. We have hundreds of pale afros atop skinny, flesh-colored stems in the backyard. I thought I saw birds eating some of the seeds and I thought "Hmmm, maybe the chicken girls would like to eat an afro?" I'm always looking for ways to keep the chickens happy. Because happy chickens=lots of eggs. So I picked a fluffy one and marched over to the pen.
The white chicken girls were waiting for me. Can't say their mouths were watering because they don't have lips and its hard to tell about those things. But they saw that pale, limp ("wormlike") stem in my hand and got very excited. I poked the 'fro thru the wire and one of them grabbed it out of my hand. More chicken football (see description above...back, forth, etc.). Only THEN did I realize that they thought I had brought them a tasty worm and not a ("hack, cough, where's the water?") fuzzy dandelion head. I think they each gave me a dirty look thinking I had tricked them on purpose. I immediately told them I was so very sorry and set about to digging earthworms in the garden. Dig, dig, dig, move the Sugar Baby away from the garden, dig, dig, move Sugar Baby, dig, dig, dig, applaud for Hannah's somersaults, dig, dig, dig.....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

40 things I love about "L"!

I have done something TERRIBLE. I forgot/neglected/let it pass by my good friend "L"'s big 4-0 birthday. Argh. Something must be done. There is NO REASON for me to miss it either, as it occurs every year on the same day, decade after decade....on April 15. Now, who can forget that? (And cheers, too, to you if you share this birthday, along with my pal "E"!). This doesn't make up for it, but nonetheless, I will share with you a few memories I've shared with "L".

Keep in mind that L has 2 adult children and lives in Northern California. We've seen each other once in the last - oh, can it be...15 years? We keep up with emails and occasional letters. We both love Jesus and seek to do his will in our lives. For the most part, we've grown up an put foolish ways behind us....

So, here is a tribute to my good friend L.....
remember when....
1. We dressed up in full cowboy regalia and went to the mall on a Friday night? You even wore a cowboy hat!
2.We laughed so hard that "we weren't alright" and had to shuffle through Military Circle. We were in what, 10th grade when we did this? What possessed us to do this? I dunno!
3. Remember those two guys who worked at Kinney's shoes that we'd go up and see (we were such "jail-bait" - I think we were 15/16!)...one looked like that guy on 'Emergency!'
4. I remember sitting in your mother's spotless living room waiting for you to finish your 30 minutes of piano practice. Debussy...and then you'd start playing Journey ("Open Arms"?) and your mother would come in and start hollering at you to play Schubert or something....
5. Gamma Girls
6. Rhema Lake
7. The kids we'd hang out with every time we'd go camping in Greenville...remember Noel & that girl who was deaf? She taught us sign language...
8. Bike rides from 1212 Eagle Eagle Avenue to 2149 Jeffrey Drive, and back
9. What about the time you were talking on the phone to your boyfriend and I colored your legs with green marker to look like a frog? Only afterwards did I realize that it was permanent! Boy, were your parents mad! (I have GOT to find that picture. That is one I need to send to your girls!!)
10.-12. Boys
13. Ward's Corner : Flippers
14. Braces
15. Young Life
16. youth group
17. Triple-R Ranch
18. Rolling our eyes and making gagging faces in the back seat of your mom's car when she drove us to school listening to WYFI...and now we both know the True Value of those hymns and praises to God!!! Folly of youth!
19. Notes between classes (which I still have on the top shelf of my closet....I;ll publish them in my memoirs. Posthumously, of course.) ....remember "WOTAS" (well, on to another subject)?
20. the Butler Building at lunch
21. Alice & Yvette
22. "Freddie"
23. Freddy & Andy
24. Matt & Jeff
25 - 29. The teachers at NCHS: Stultzman, Henshaw, Baxter, Janosik, Lazzenby (all spelled incorrectly on purpose!) I think one or the other of us got in trouble in their classes...
30. Putting stones warmed by the campfire into our sleeping bags to stay warm in that little tiny camper at Rhema
31. The Jolleys....their pillows....
32. Lake Gaston
33. TAB
34. Getting paid $20 to wash windows with newspaper & Windex. No streaks allowed!
35. cutting the sleeves off 17th Street t-shirts - a la Bruce Springsteen - and realizing afterwards that you were supposed to use short sleeved shirts b/c the long sleeved ones cost $5 more! Duh!
36. Hours upon hours loitering at White Tower playing Ms. Pac Man...
37. (I was secretly horrified that you stole Lesly's silver dollar collection to finance a few days of electronic gamery!)
38. sleepovers
39. sneaking out at night [if my girls even THINK about doing this we'll move so far into the Alaskan backcountry the'll have grizzlies for watchdogs, right, Daddyo?]
And...
40...being such great friends for over 25 years, long-distance, separate lives...see you in Heaven, if I don't see you again here on Earth!!

Love you, "L"!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hospitality

So my husband called a few minutes ago and among other things, asked if I had updated my blog. When?! I am TOO busy I said. Doing what? Well, if you must know, raising the girls. One wants to nap, one wants to stay up. Then they reverse. Then they are both up and my time is gone, because I have to keep up with both of them. AND do my chores. I told him the house wasn't getting cleaned this way. You know what he said? "I don't care as long as it gets done!" HAH. Very funny guy, that man o'mine.

Instead of cleaning the kitchen, though, I am in the midst of making banana bread and thinking on my feet. Thought I'd share it with you. Has nothing to do with house cleaning, though.

My neighbor brought us a dish of delicious meatballs the other night. They were chock full of fresh garlic and onions. I ate every single one of them over the course of three days. They were SOOO good. I haven't had a problem with gnats or mosquitoes since!

Anyways, the banana bread is for her. There's a tradition that you don't return a dish to a friend empty, and my kitchen is a wreck anyways, so a-baking I will go! Whenever our bananas start to look a little dark for fresh-peeled, I toss them in the back of the freezer. I am actually pretty good about not just collecting brown frozen bananas, and I make banana bread with them once I get 3 or 4. So, I pulled them out before naptime (?!) so they could thaw.

I was out of walnuts, so I lightly toasted a cup of oatmeal to take their place. I also added a handful of whole flax seeds. After I measured, mixed, folded and preheated, I went to pull out my mini-loaf pan. Apparently it had taken up with the library books and is on the lam. I was going to pull out my regular loaf pans (generously donated to me by my aunt), but then I spied my mini Bundt pan. Instead of making just a regular (and boring) banana bread loaf, I spiced it up a bit by baking mini banana cakes. A very light dusting of powdered sugar makes them look like tiny castles populating her glass casserole dish. I also tossed in the rest of the brown sugar at the bottom of the bag I found in the pantry (maybe 3 tbs. worth) which gives the bread a fuller flavor and a little extra sweetness. They really are little cakes and not just a breakfast treat. The best part is, there are some left over for us girls!

Oh, well, party time is over. Hope you got some ideas for the next time you make a treat for a friend! I'm putting the baby in the backpack and I'm going to make a full court press to get the house done.

Feel free to leave me a comment!

P.S. Thank goodness for spell check! I just wrote this whole post spelling the afore-mentioned-fruit "bananna"...and me an English major!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Isn't it ironic

Whenever I say that I always think about that Alanis Morissette song where a bunch of the stuff she said was ironic was truly not, but this tidbit, I think is.
I got a call from the library today. Usually these calls mean, "Heidi, you owe us money. And books. Again. Bring 'em on in." Well, today, they offered ME a book! How about that! I had checked out Raising Poultry The Modern Way - published around the same time that Prohibition ended, I think - and it was falling apart in my hands when I went to read it. I sent it back in a giant Ziplock baggie with a note as to its condition pre-checkout. I also left my name and number saying that if they were going to discard it, please give me a call. And they did! So now I'm in the plus one book - and it will only cost me a hot quarter!
Alas, however, I still have not found those other library books. >:-(=)

Spring Musings

No great finds at yard sales this morning! I'm on the lookout for a crock pot, clothes for Han (and good finds for Abi), suspenders for Hannah, musical instruments and...well, I can't tell you what else. My list is in the car. I've made a "wish list" so if I see things in yard sales, thrift stores, sale ads, etc., then I don't forget and pick it up on the cheap. Today: I spent $3. The finds: 2 t-shirts (Han), 2 animal videos, 1 pair of dress shoes (Han) for next fall, 1 pair of dress-up shoes (Han), 1 pair of shorts (Han). Sounds good, right? Add $3.43/gallon for gas and we drove maybe 1 gallons' worth, so it was really about $6.50 for all of that. Not the worst, not the best.

We're in Full Spring here in the Highlands. I think both of my girls have allergies - and their Daddy-o's allergies are kickin' too. We each have a different allergy medicine: they all make us a little grumpier than usual, so we are cutting each other a LOT of slack.

On the plus side, the weather has been beautiful. The trees are in their first blush of green. After the sun dips behind a ridge, green orbs glow on the hillside; they could have been painted by an impressionist's brush. Every minute there is change here. Driving down an undulating, curving road, the views change from one direction to the next. The ridges seem to shift with the turns. I wonder if I'll ever stop noticing that. I wonder, too, of folks who have lived their whole lives here - do they see the beauty that surrounds us here? Do they know that when the peepers begin in late March that surely warmer days can't be far off? Its like nature has taken a deep breath and slowly exhaling after a long winter. Exhaling the cloudy, rainy and icy days out and allowing the greens and the purples of the redbuds to take over. Daffodils are just about spent; tulips are in their prime. Dogwoods are blooming, and on some mountain forest patches, white-flowered trees stand out starkly against a pale green and pine background.

Well, the dishes aren't going to wash themselves. Han and Daddyo just got back from the autoparts store. They're putting shocks and rear brakes on my truck.

How are you spending this lovely weekend?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

...perhaps I should explain


…..what I meant by “The Good Humor Man.” Last year, when we first moved to the charming burg of Callaghan, we watched a DVD of an old movie – in the “post WWII-war movie” genre – entitled “Operation Petticoat.” We had made the decision not to get satellite here in our rural abode, and even with rabbit ears on the TV, our reception is cloudy at best. We probably watched a total of 3 hours of network television before we gave it up. And that was because I hadn’t discovered that LOST is available on-line. Anyways, we watched “Operation Petticoat” (or “The Pink Submarine” as Hannah calls it) about five times in as many days. (Our video/DVD collection has since expanded.)
Operation Petticoat is a 1959 movie starring Carry Grant and Tony Curtis, directed by Blake Edwards. It’s probably not “G” rated, but at most PG – there’s no language, but some innuendo. Early in the movie there’s a scene where Tony Curtis’ character reports for duty to the Tigerfish dressed in his dress whites. It’s two weeks after Pearl Harbor and he stands out like a sore thumb among all the men in their dirty, worn and torn uniforms (and no uniforms at all). The chief on board spots him on the dock through the periscope and exclaims, “It looks like the Good Humor Man!”
Of all the lines in this very funny movie, Hannah picked up on that one and INSISTS we call her the Good Humor Man, or “Humor” for short. I’ll call her from the other room, for instance, and she’ll holler back, “No, I’m The Good Humor Man!” When she’s in the mood, she won’t come until I call her by the appropriate title. We were out at the Wall-Mart a couple weeks ago (pre-restriction days) and someone said, “What a pretty little girl you have. What is your name, sweetie?” I about fell over when she said, “Good Humor Man.” The lady looked at me, cocked her head and kind of smirked as she stalked off. Oh boy. And I am trying SO HARD to make a good impression in my new hometown.

Wal-Mart Restriction

I had to do it. We went over 2 weeks without setting foot in Wal-Mart - a major feat, considering that there are only three places to buy groceries here...including WM....but yesterday I succombed. There were 2 things there that the other 2 stores (Food Lion & Bartley's Meat Market) don't carry. SO, I gave in, and OF COURSE bought things that put me over my budget. I just can't control the impulse shopping there! I bought $8 worth of plants- roots, really - that probably won't even grow. I planted 'em anyways yesterday. The only good thing was that I found four finger-sized grub worms that were tasty afternoon treats for the chicken girls. Anyways, back on restriction for me. WM's marketing and sales methods are just too much for me. I bought Ritz crackers b/c we were out - logical purchase, but if I would have waited 12 hours I would have gotten them BOGO at Food Lion. The cheese purchase was only slightly higher than in FL's ad, but STILL. On the plus side, at the suggestion of some of the other blogs I've read here, I considered CVS' ad on Sunday and signed up for their savings card. As a result, I got BOGO dipes for the Sugar Baby. They didn't have overnights in "The Good Humor Man"'s size on sale, so we were out of luck. Just the same, it was the least amount I've paid for dipes since the big one was a baby. Some consolation!
That's all for now. We've got Storytime at the library today and I have to put on my sackcloth. I still haven't found those library books. I did confess my sins (and my irresponsibility) to the librarian however {who knows my history of high fines; she goes to my church and I wonder if she knows that my fine has been higher than my tithe at times}. She said that there were only 2 books listed as missing. Well, that's a relief. But not, too, because it means I returned one and didn't even remember returning it! What kills me is that I had a system going! I was keeping all library books in a basket on my bookshelf. I moved them frm there to the counter by the back door and .... then they were beamed up to the Starship Enterprise or something. I give up.
P.S. AHEM. Someone Significantly Other to me suggested that if I have time to blog, I need a job. Well! It only takes a couple minutes here and there. Really!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pictures


Here's some pictures of the coop that Andy finished this weekend. As you can see, the door for them to go in and out of their compound hasn't been cut in....but its only been about 40 degrees out so we decided to wait.
That's our neighbor's house and grey barn....

Inside view....

Here's the girls. Getting big! There's 12 of them...and they all met me at the gate because they think I might have a handful of yummy worms for a mid-afternoon treat! I give them a handful of oatmeal instead and they clammer up there for a taste, pressing warm chicken chests onto my wrist and thumb.





Sunday, April 13, 2008

secret's out!

I was going to wait until I had something of substance posted here before I let anyone know about this blog....but I can't keep it a secret any longer. It may just never get better than this. You wouldn't believe the inspired, thought-provoking and insightful musings I create in my head during the day. (Only problem is, gotta' watch out that this isn't becoming an "idol." Usually I walk around praying and having an ongoing conversation with God. I'm not "laying up any treasures" by blogging...gotta keep that in mind.((But I digress.)) By the time I get to the computer, however, the inspiration has been drowned in baby wails (because Daddy-o tried to hold her like a baby) pre-school antics (90 seconds alone=blue-ink-smeared arms from nails to elbows. Daddy didn't know there were ink pads accessible!) and various other mishaps on my journey.
Right now, Sugar Baby is following me from room to room saying, "ya-ya-ehey-yay, ya-ya". She's mad because she's tired, but I can't let her go to sleep for another half hour or else its a 5AM wakeup call fer shur. She's so pitiful! She crawls, then touches her forehead to the carpet, wails, then crawls another pace and does it all again, with those unremitting wails - "ya-ya-day-day-day-ehey-ehey..." Poor girl. I'm going to go and get her taken care of. Teeth, too. The top two have just broken the skin. She's sharp!
Han is in the tub singing "fountains of water! Fountains of water!!" so I really must go and see what she it talking about....

Sunday, April 6, 2008

the Why of blogging

I had hesitated to even write a blog at all, but I just gotta get it out of me sometimes, and this is a good a place as any. The people said "write, you should write!" and so I am.
Before I chose this site, I looked at other portals, and it was hard to decide. See, I was worried about the content of other blogs and wondered if I wanted to be associated with a site that posts "whatever." ("Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:1,2)
However, I have looked around and found a gamut of topics and levels of content. Good friends Anna & Israel blog here, and I've found a few others - more - as well. OK, more than I could possibly list. Look around. Especially explore the blogs of others with similar interests. Just don't compare their writing skills/how interesting the people seem/etc. with me because I just don't stack up. There are some very clever folks out there!
On second thought, don't look around. The other blogs make mine look like the instructions on the back of baby cereal. Bland. Theirs is blogging with purpose. Inspired. With direction. Mine? The mundane day to day of a ma, her hens and her chicks. Just keep reading. It should get better. It HAS to.
Oh, and speaking of content, for overall computer safety and for managing content, I'd highly recommend BeSafeOnline's product. Very reasonable cost and great protection on multiple levels. Plus, the customer support can't be beat.

That's all for now. Gotta pick up the trashcan the baby just dumped over. She's chewing on something. Oh, a nail. I better get that.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Inventory

Things I Found When I Moved the Couch to Vacuum Under it:
one colored pencil - brown
two baby toys
a smorgasbord of stale cheerios, goldfish and raisins
two pennies
four crayon pieces in a rainbow of colors
numerous dust bunnies the size of my fist

But I did not find the three library books that seem to have vanished from our home. I remember tearing back into the house to get them before a trip to town last week. Then I got distracted [crucial detail], got in the car without them, and then never saw them again. I thought I had left them on the counter by the back door, or maybe I put them on the porch railing in the carport. But they weren't in either place when I returned from my errand. Just this once I wish my husband was "trying to teach me a lesson" and secretly turned them in to prove a point. Am I this irresponsible? I was on a streak! Gone were the days of the double-digit library fines. Sure, I had an outstanding fee of $3 [dang that Maisy video], but that was chump change compared to my past offenses. Where, oh where, could my libary books be???

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Its about time

Wish you could have read the lovely eight-paragraph blog I just created but inadvertently deleted just moments ago. Boy, it was great. More later, I guess. For now, though, just to get something up and written, I'm saying hello. Good to finally be on the Highway.