Friday, November 29, 2013

Dinner Together Across the Miles

Eight for Dinner-
We celebrated Thanksgiving dinner for eight
despite our table setting for six.
My son, Sean, flew in from Seattle this year, 
my father-in-law, Dick, is to his right in this photo, 
then my husband Tom, daughter Becky snapping this shot,
granddaughter Taylor and two guests that were there
via the wonder of skype!

(we all had to laugh, my father in law's 
expression looks just like my great, great, great
grandfather's portrait hanging on the wall behind me !)

We sat up the computer on the back buffet
so Dan and wife Gina could join the meal from
their yacht in Daytona.  What fun!

At first I thought I had one too many glasses of wine
until I realized the table was in focus, 
 the people were just moving and sharing in laughter
at our old family stories and jokes.

As you can see, everyone had a great time.

 Becky brought over some wine she thought I would enjoy
and we had to laugh as I bought the same brand, Rex Goliath.
I will say her Cabernet was far more tasty than my Merlot.

Papa Dick gets a hug from Taylor.

Tom did most of the cooking-
we thought it would be safer that way! 
I'm pretty good at baking but I can't
hold a candle to him on the cooking side.
And I always measure wrong!
He saved our potatoes when I was about to 
drown them with too much milk.
That happens when I don't make them twice
but try to double a recipe!

Taylor and Grandma Kathy

Becky and Taylor

Our favorite turkey platter!
It turns out these were pretty popular.

I had my grandmother's old turkey centerpiece on the table 
until the food arrived.  This is one of the little pumpkins
I grew but haven't pureed yet.

 Dinner was a success
Turkey and the traditional Usher dressing- 
very spicy with rosemary, sage,  marjoram and thyme.
 Mashed potatoes with gravy plus candied sweet potatoes,
green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce and an olive tray.
Pumpkin and pecan pie topped it all off.

My son brought his own food, being vegan,
and particular about some of the ingredients that
are vegan but that he has objections to.
My daughter is a vegetarian but will eat gravy
and occasionally a bit of meat, but very little.
My granddaughter and husband, both carnivores, 
more than made up for any non-meat eaters.

 After dinner we went next door to my father-in-law's home
 until everyone started feeling pretty tired. All in all
it was a good day, everyone was stuffed and it was time for bed!

I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Buffs in the Coop

Hey! What's going on out there?
 I think this is what they were thinking 
when they noticed I had entered the chicken
yard and was looking through the elevated
doorway from the coop into their yard. 

There's another cross beaked chick,
no relation to Bird, this one we hatched
and it started out looking normal, just like the rest.
It began crossing as it grew but this one is
not blind and doesn't have a skull deformity like Bird.
It's no Bird substitute- there never will be.
It is much lighter than the others but this one holds its own, 
using that sharp, straight side as some type of sword,
poking the others out of its way.
It wanted me to hold it,
no other birds could be held, just this one.

The white one here (much earlier photo)
wants to be held any time someone enters the coop.
She tried to get in on the action yesterday too,
hogged out by little cross beak!

Here is Miss Puffy Cheeks.
Most of this group doesn't want to interact with
the older members of the flock.
They keep together but a few jumped 
or fell off the plank into the yard when I
smashed a pumpkin so they could feast.

Puff doesn't want to be held anymore
but she does want to be petted.
I had to time my petting just so
or the others would peck at my fingerless gloves.
They didn't want my fingers, just the gloves!

The husband is going to enlarge the yard, 
giving them another yard outside the secondary door.  
There are just too many of them right now and they need more room.
 The meat birds will be going sometime soon
but there are still lots of hens
which means lots of future eggs!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Tractor Gets a Garage

Winter is near and we wanted to keep the tractor
out of the weather as much as possible.
A barn isn't in the budget right now so 
my husband picked up a temporary shelter,
the same brand our neighbor has and
so far has worked well.

Tom and Taylor sorted and labeled parts in the garage.
She was so good at this that we pulled up chairs,
had snacks and listened to the radio until she had it installed.
NO, not really.
She did go around and ratcheted all the nuts
for the three frame pieces.

After a lot of grumbling on how the 
nine year old and the wife didn't understand how
to square anything up, we finally got it installed.

Now to see if it will fit with the doors closed.


 Now I'm thinking it will be a good place
for the cats to hide out in bad weather too.
There's enough wiggle room that they can get under
the tent from the back.

We know this is temporary.  We hope to get one of 
those smaller pole barns someday, big enough
to also hold the lawn tractor and other lawn tools.
Then, if this holds up, it can become the wood shed
or Taylor's playhouse and cat hotel!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Win, A Finish, A Meal & Oh No!

I Won! 
What a pretty apron too.
Michelle offered this great prize in her 
Hidden Objects Game over
on her blog (link here)
 Here is an example of one of the rooms.

As I was pulling into the drive my husband told me the package arrived
so I ran inside and tore open the envelope and there it was,
even cuter than I'd imagined.  I tried it on immediately
but had to snap the photo myself as the husband was working outside.
I had just lost my BFF (best feathered friend), Bird, my special needs chicken,
and I have been so very sad so this was really  nice.
Especially since it has chickens on it.

My husband has had some time on his hands
so he asked for a list of things I needed done.
YES- he ASKED for the list!!!
We had started to refinish my grandmother's old
china cabinet so I could display nicknacks.  The
 shelves were missing the posts that hold them up,
there were water stains, scratches, etc.
He used Briwax, which is a tinted wax rather than a stain.
Now I need to transfer everything over.

He pulled out the old rotisserie for a pork butt we had
in the freezer.  He slowly cooked it for around nine hours

and glazed it with raspberry chipolte sauce until it 
was  tender, sweet and spicy.

The damaging storms that hit last week started 
somewhere around here.  The temperatures had soared to around 80, which 
is really a bad sign at this time of year. They were just starting
to break up but we were still experiencing strong winds
estimated to be 60-70 mph gusts.

We had the windows open but I never dreamed the 
gusts would be enough to blow my planter out of the window!
Poor Mary and Baby Jesus! 
I still have the pieces but I think it's too far gone.
I fortunately rescued the other two pieces before they
were blown to the floor.

I haven't had  much to say lately.
Just beginning to feel better after Bird's passing.
 I've got pumpkins to bake,  quilting to finish and
final Christmas purchases to make so I better get moving!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Library Book Sale

     What a haul!
Our library had another book sale, this time even 
better than previous sales.

I started at the Pacific, MO library Thursday night 
on my way home.  My husband and I went to the main
branch on Friday and then to the St. Clair, MO branch
as we passed through town.

Books were  $.50 - $1.00
Kid books could be priced by the bag
I think we came home with 85 books,
I think we spent around $0.71 per book.

My husband loves the classics, historical and non-fiction,
I grabbed crafting and novels
plus my husband is starting Taylor's book club
where he and my granddaughter read the same book
and discuss it once a week.  She loves to read but
not what the school wants her to read !
 They are starting The Hobbit first
and then I picked up Tom Sawyer for her.
Plus she got some fun kid books.

I tried some authors that I've seen but never read,
for $0.50, I'll try a few to see how I like them.
We won't go back but on the last day of the sale
you can pay $5 for as many as you can fit into a box!

We'll have good reading for years to come.
When we're done, we'll donate those we don't keep to
the Agape House where they use proceeds from their
sales to help the needy pay bills or provide food for their families.

Here's what we purchased:

Tom's books
The Chicago Crime Book
  Dashiell Hammett The Continental Op
  World History 2nd period class 1936 class notes
The Yankee Peddlers of Early America
 Woodworking Handtools Instruments and Devices
 The Tools that built America
The Layman’s Bible Encyclopedia
Evil for Evil   James Benn WWII mystery
 Nellie Bly
 Eyeing the Flash, the education of a carnival  con artist
 Viking America , The Norse Crossings and Their Legacy
 Samuel De Champlain Father of New France
 The War of American Independence      
 The Science of Fiction Hall of Fame  Vol  2B
 The American Heritage Book of The Revolution
 The Art of Darts
 The Bounty Trilogy
Two Years Before the Mast
The Log from the Sea of Cortez
 Divine Comedy
 The Iliad
The Odyssey
 Canterbury Tales
 Bulfinch’s Mythology
War and Peace
 Last Days of Pompeii
The Travels of Marco Polo
 Crime and Punishment
A bunch of Zane Grey Books:
Under the Tonto Rim
 Sunset Pass
 Riders of the Purple Sage
Desert Gold
 The Man of the Forest
 Wild Horse Mesa
 Western Union
Twin Sombreros
  The Mysterious Rider
  The Trail Driver
 Wanderer of the Wasteland
The Thundering Herd

Kathys books
 Recipes and Wooden Spoons (novel)
 Stories by Foreign Authors (Scandinavian)
Stories by Foreign Authors ( Spanish)
The Joy of Spinning
Missouri Heritage Quilts
Christmas gifts under $10 (craft)
Sewing Made Easy
The School at Thrush Green
Friends at Thrush Green
 The New Year’s Quilt
Wash Your Hair with Whipped Cream
 Fifty Nifty Novelty Songs (sheet music)
Bells on their Toes (by the Authors of Cheaper by the Dozen)
Dixie Hearts ( novel)
Alabama (novel)
Round the Corner   ( The Sister Circle series novel)
 On Strike for Christmas (novel)
Comfort and Joy (novel)
 Death of a Perfect Wife (mystery)
Poisoned Pens (mystery)
Baroque and Desperate (mystery)
 The Sunday Philosophy Club (mystery)
 Strange Brew (Trouchek mystery)
 The Secret Ingredient (Jane Heller)
Love in Plain Sight (Macomber)
Blue Bayou (Ross)
 Lost in Rooville (Blackston)
 In Pendleton Oregon (novel)
 The Pursuit of Love  & In a Cold Climate (novels)
 The Winding Road Home (Sally John)
 Windswept Weddings (short stories)
 The Prairie Romance Collection
 An Undivided Heart (The Sister Circle series)
The Covenant (Beverly Lewis)
 The Parting (Lewis)
The Betrayal (Lewis)
The Postcard (Lewis)

Taylor’s books:
Cool Stuff  20 (how things work)
 Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (Tom & Taylor’s book club)
Nancy Drew The Clue in the Diary
 Alfred Hitchcock’s Haunted Houseful (nine stories for kids)
The Storyteller’s Pack   (Frank Stockton reader, Illustrated)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bird - The Tubby Now Stands Empty

I lost Bird last night.
She had been showing some signs of weakness,
having more frequent seizures and stumbling.
She stopped eating sometime late Saturday night
 and I knew it was nearing the end Sunday morning.
  I held her the early part of Sunday night
and then handed her off to my husband
while I took a shower.
When I returned, she was gone.

I found Bird in a farm supply store in town, we didn't hatch her.
She was cross  beaked and missing an eye-
it wasn't an injury, she just didn't have one.
We found out later, when she grew larger,
that there was a lid, just no eye.
Occasionally, it would open- after a seizure.
The young girl who was the clerk had been trying
to keep Bird alive but she wasn't always at the store.
They told her she would have to kill Bird
so I took offered to take her home instead.
 They thought she had only a matter of weeks to live.
That was back in MayThis is November.
She had six months.

 She was not only one eyed, but the other was blind,
or extremely impaired.  
had to feed her a slurry of chick food until she was
able to scoop it up in a deep tub.
I provided water by eye dropper
until I discovered I could put her in the shop sink
and let her scoop it up.
Being crossed beak was not nearly as bad
as being totally blind.

While she may have looked a little different
than most chicks, when you got to know her,
she was beautiful.  We were her flock,
she would either stand by our feet  or sit in our laps
as we would pet her until she purred with contentment
and whistled sleepy little chicken tunes.

She lived inside and had to learn our floor plan.
She couldn't be introduced to the flock,
once they grew up, they tried to poke out her only existing eye.

We upgraded the tubby as she grew,
she would shake her head and send bits of feed
all over the floor so we had to sweep frequently.
So bigger and bigger feeding tubbies arrived.

Bird managed to get along with a little help.

I had a very knowledgeable vet  teach me to trim her beak.
He is experienced with all sorts of exotics and
has worked with universities and zoos.

When the temperatures started to cool,
or the air conditioning was on, Bird seemed cold
 so I would wrap her in a towel and pet her until
she fell asleep.

Then we started taking trips to the deck so 
she could stand in the sun.
I would get the rooster to crow back at me
and told Bird that he was really trying to get her
attention since she was such a beauty.
I think she started looking forward to 
hearing that rooster crow and the song birds
fly back and forth to the feeders.

 A few times a day we would have a utility sink drink.
I'd pick her up and ask her if she wanted a drink.
She knew "drink" and "food" and probably "sun".
I'd tell her we were going to get a drink
"just me and you"
then tell her she was my BFF- Best Feathered Friend.

 The last couple of days all she did was sleep.

Then she would lose the strength in her leg and fall over.

So I propped her in her original small feeding tubby
until she could get her footing again.

 But the seizures were just too much for her.
There won't be any more sleepy little bird tunes. 
 Her tubby stands empty.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Taylor's 9th Birthday


Miss Tayor is officially Nine Years Old!
 We celebrated on Saturday at our house with
homemade pizzas, roasted hotdogs, snacks and 
a Hay Ride!!
My daughter (Becky) arrived with cake, food and drink in hand,
the neighbors arrived as well as Taylor's 
great grandpa Dick (Pop's father) and Grandma Leah
(Taylor's father's side)

Pops was the driver.
I'm glad there was some straw left after
the kids attacked it before the ride.
Becky ended up giving the them noise makers
so we could keep track of where they were in the dark.
No blowing them in the courtyard though,
Ms Skunk was on the porch having a
kitty food snack.  Didn't want to scare her!

Everyone loaded up and Pops took off up the drive.
I stayed behind to clean up the kitchen.
Homemade pizza is great but it does get messy.

There they go, up the driveway and 
ready to drive down our road.
It's private and dead ends up the way, 
plus there are only a few homes on it making 
it a perfect place for a hay ride.

Earlier she opened some gifts,
duplicate cards too!

The Hobbit was always one of our favorites so
Pops and Taylor are starting their own private book club.
The plan is to read the same selection every week and
then have a discussion.  When she is back for 
our next weekend visit we're taking her out to get the
rest of her gift.  She wants a really good pair of gloves
for snow, not the regular kid gloves so we'll
have to take a road trip so she can try them on.

She got some fun things from the neighbor girls.
(names withheld to protect their identity)

Grandma Kathy (me) and T.

Pops and Taylor
 Wow, no smile.  Pops doesn't like his picture taken I guess.

Grandma Leah
(Taylor's father's mom) 
We like her a lot.

 Neighbor Simone, with daughter.
She made the grape vine wreath in the earlier post.
She's from Germany and always has great recipes 
plus she can sew wonderfully. She's so talented with her
arts, crafts, etc. that she should open up shop.

Neighbor,Rick, watches the festivities.

And who could have a hayride without a fire?
We all gathered round for cake
and sparkling trick candles.
That Never Blow Out! 

It was a tie dye cake,
delicious but so moist that the 
icing started sliding off 
after it was sliced.

After the guests left Taylor challenged everyone to
a game of pool so down to the basement we went.
Taylor and Pops vs. Grandma Kathy and Becky.
I think we were all pretty tired.
While Pops and Taylor were the ultimate winners,
we were all bushed and hoping either side would 
sink the 8 ball!

 It was a pretty great night!