Saturday 27 April 2019

Happy happy, joy joy

The post title is a reference to the Ren and Stimpy show. They had a "Happy happy, joy, joy" song. Why am I thinking of that? Someone came two nights ago and took my roosters away!!

Oh yes, people, I no longer have to arm myself with a shovel to go into my little chicken coop. Above is a picture of Bruce when he was a bit younger and slightly less of a jerk. My three, poor, sweet little hens can now begin the process of regrowing their feathers. I no longer have to hear crowing at 6:00 a.m. (or earlier). Life is good. As I watched this guy from a nearby community walking across my back lawn with both roosters in his arms (how the hell did he do that????) I was imagining the na na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye song...

Plans are now in place to call up a hatchery and arrange to pick up some "ready to lay" pullets. I'm wanting Barred Plymouth Rocks and Columbian Rocks. They are both pretty kinds of chickens and known for their nice temperament. After putting up with Bruce the bully, I'm ready for nice hens.

On a different note, I am looking out at SNOW again this morning. Dear god, will it never end? The wind was blowing like crazy last night, still is in fact, and I am well and truly ready for the real Spring. I always feel sorry for the crocus and tulips that are starting to come up and get blasted by snow.

I think the battery in my smoke detector is dying because every few minutes, it blasts a few blasts and then stops. It is in an out of the way spot in the kitchen ceiling, so I am putting up with it until husband gets up this morning and climbs on a ladder to replace the battery. It is scaring the cat, however.

Monday 22 April 2019

Easter gathering and the lemon cake

Easter Sunday ended up being just lovely. The weather was the nicest it's been in a while. It's been raining like pre-ark times and husband had two pumps going in the basement (gotta love an old house). The weather cleared yesterday and you were actually able to be outside without a coat, enjoying the sun.

The meal turned out well with this year's  addition of a 1970's jello "salad" receiving mixed reviews. It was called Creamsicle Salad. The general consensus was that it wasn't bad, just didn't really have a place alongside turkey and stuffing. I don't think I'll do it again, and although daughter's idea of doing a regular post featuring a new retro jello-based salad each week was a fun one, I don't see me taking the time. The fact is that I don't even like jello, and I can't see me forcing my family to eat one of these concoctions each week. BUT  if I did, my first one would be the one we found in my old spiral bound church ladies' cookbook from my hometown called, Green Grotto Salad. Ready? Here are the ingredients:
-1  3 oz package lime jello
-1  3/4 cups boiling water
-dash of salt
-3 tbls vinegar
-1 cup chopped celery
-1/4 cup chopped stuffed olives
-1 cup chopped cucumber
-1  7oz can flaked tuna (!!!!)
-3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
I am not going to include the directions because I don't want anyone to actually make this stuff. What the  hell were people thinking back then?? Please share your jello salad memories with me!

Anyway, the lemon cake I wrote about in the previous post was a success and a keeper. It was perfectly lemony and I will make it again. Here is a link to where I found it on Pinterest if you are interested.

       Here it is after coming out of the springform pan and being stabbed with my favourite paring knife. After that you brush it with a lemony syrup you cook up on the stove so it soaks into the cake.

The lemon butter cream icing was perfect!

Easter morning, I did have to wake both kids up (so different from when they were little and would eagerly wake up early to see what the Easter bunny left for them). I think they still liked receiving a little something.

We spent a little time chicken watching outside and giving them dandelion greens which are their favourite. We ate too much and enjoyed a good visit. Nana had a nice time and is always happy when she gets to see her grandkids. By the end of the evening, we were all completely full and lethargic, feeling much like this:

Friday 19 April 2019

Easter weekend

I have a confession to make. I'm a binger. Let's just get that right out in the open. Easter is one of my favourite times of the year. I still get Easter treats for my two children, ages 19 and 22. Unfortunately that means that I have a bag of Easter treats in the house, over which I have no control. I do not understand those who can "just have one". I wish I could "just have one". But I don't, and then I hate myself, until the next time I open the bag. So, there you have it. That's my dirty little secret. I can't be the only one. You do not have to confess if you don't want to.

Today is Good Friday, for which I have a holiday from work. How am I going to spend it? I am going to clean, and purge. Sometimes when I feel like life is getting away from me and I am discontented about certain aspects of it, I feel the need to take control, even if it is in a small way. So, today I am going to take control of the cleanliness of my house. Here's another confession: I do not regularly clean my house from top to bottom (gasp!). I tend to spot clean, like an old person who has trouble getting in and out of the bath, I only do what's necessary.  Also, since we haven't had company for several weeks, I've not had to do that flurry of cleaning one does when company is coming.

Daughter is being picked up by husband today. She is wrapping up university for another year and will be arriving home with various boxes and bags. Her room is largely unused while she is away, apart from me setting up two drying racks for my clothes that I don't put in the dryer (which is mostly all of them). So I will be freshening thoroughly cleaning her room, stripping and washing the bedding, maybe even squirting a little Windex on the windows.

I'm planning on washing everyone's bedding today. I wish I could hang it all outside on the clothesline, because there is nothing better than sheets that were hung outside, but it is raining today, and the bungalow-sized mountain of turkey manure that's been steaming away for the past several months in the field beside our property has been spread and to say that the air around us is "pungent" is an understatement.

So I shall clean and vacuum and scrub and dust (my least favourite part) until my lower back screams at me. And then I will be content and perhaps stop eating Easter candy.

On a different note, I have an influx of tiny ants. This sometimes happens. I have put little dollops of Antout (ant poison) on their little highway system and have watched them gather to drink like miniature wildebeest at the watering hole. What I really want to do is squish every single one that I see, but the idea is that they take the poison back to wherever they came from and share it with all their friends and relatives thereby wiping out the whole community. It hasn't happened yet. I've had ants now for about a week. I might start squishing soon.

I bought a pre-stuffed frozen turkey last week to have on Easter Sunday (my secret weapon for all large gatherings - the cook-from-frozen pre-stuffed turkey!). It actually won't be all that large of a gathering: our four, daughter's boyfriend, maybe son's girlfriend if he ever gets around to actually asking her if she's able to come on Sunday, and of course, we'll spring Nana from "the home". I'm planning on baking a lemon cake (love lemon desserts in the Spring - maybe it's the colour?) using a new recipe I haven't tried before. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Pets and Others

I commented on Rachel's blog when she briefly posted about all four of her cats being in the house at once. (They are all lovely black cats, by the way). I thought I would chime in that I found feathers this morning. In my kitchen. And that I hadn't found the bird yet. Sigh. Let me tell you about it.

As you may know, we thought it was a good idea to install a cat door.

Right, so, I'm always the first one up in the morning. I came downstairs and saw little fluffy downy feathers on the kitchen floor. I think I said something like, "Oh god, where is the bird? What have you done with the bird?" Scooter had no reply and just wanted to be let out (yes, I realize what I just wrote - yes, we still open the door(s) for the cats even though they have a cat door). I did a quick look about and did not see any bird, or part of a bird. I pondered about the possibility that the bird was eaten - completely consumed- and thought that was highly unlikely. Trust me when I say I have a variety of stories about body parts found on our porch mat, and in the hallway, and in the kitchen...

After a shower, doing my face, fighting my hair fight, coffee, raisin bran, and reading a few blogs (and commenting on Rachel's), I went upstairs to get dressed for work. As I came up the stairs and rounded toward the front hall, I saw a bird on the windowsill. It was a little brown wren. It jumped up and bounced off the window. My husband was in the bedroom and I told him what I saw. I was all ready to grab a shirt out of the laundry basket, creep up to the little bird, and catch it in the shirt, take it downstairs, and take it outside. Husband suggested we just open the window and take out the screen. Fine. Do it your way. His way worked fine.

The bird seemed totally fine, by the way.

As I was bemoaning the whole cat door decision, husband then shared with me that  he had been sitting in the livingroom,  alone, very quiet, no tv or radio on, no clanging about in the kitchen. He was on his laptop and heard a meow. This was a meow he did not recognize. He heard the "clinking" sound of a cat eating dry cat food out of a bowl. He got up and quietly walked out to the kitchen. That's when he saw "orange cat" eating cat food, as calm as can be.

We don't own an orange cat.

He looked up, saw husband, and ran away, undoubtedly out the cat door. He obviously gets the concepts of going in the cat door. We've seen orange cat around. In fact, he has been in the house twice before. Once when just our son was home, and once when husband came home from something and walked into the livingroom to see him on the windowsill, inside, looking out. Both times he took off in a hurry. I'm not a fan of orange cat. We already have two cats. We are not looking to adopt. But I think we've been adopted. Who knows, maybe he's the one who brought the bird in the house!

Saturday 6 April 2019

Pushy Salespeople

Let me just ask, do I look like a criminal to you?

No, I don't. I look like a middle aged woman who cheated by using dry shampoo this morning and can't turn her head in a hurry because her neck hurts.

However, the salespeople at our local Shopper's Drug Mart seemed to think otherwise. I guess. I mean, that could be the most logical explanation as to why I got asked three times if I needed help with something in the cosmetics section and then noticed the same ladies surreptitiously finding something to shift or tidy up in the aisles that I was in. This is not a high end store where people get makeovers or require advice on how to use the latest beauty product. No, this is a place where there is a display of regular drug store makeup: Cover Girl, Revlon, Maybelline, etc.

I was moving slowly and checking out each display because I had run out of my favourite Clinique shade of eyeshadow and I was hoping to replicate the same colour in a lower priced product. Yes, oh my god, I reached into my purse... to get my reading glasses so I could read the tiny print on the bottle of yet another anti-frizz, smoothing hair somethingorother that I was looking at. No, I did not slip a rogue mascara in my purse when you weren't looking.

In fact, I have never stolen anything in my life, apart from a fat blue crayon from a box brimming with fat blue crayons in a school store room when I was around 8 years old, for which I felt horribly guilty and didn't end up ever colouring with because I was so consumed with self-loathing!

I'm so honest, I do not even sample a grape in the grocery store to see if they are sweet enough to purchase.

But back to the story at hand. I like to do my own thing. I rarely ask for help in a store unless it is a place that sells things with which I am not familiar, like automotive supplies. Trust me, by now I can pick out my own makeup. I don't want your advice. I don't want your suggestions. Just leave me alone and let me browse through the displays. In fact, I am more likely to purchase more things if I am left alone. If you bother me and ask me what I am looking for, repeatedly, I will likely leave the store quickly. No doubt, these salespeople have been encouraged to approach customers and be smiley and helpful. I am fine with that... once. But if I have told you  I'm fine, or just looking, believe me. The following around bit was insulting. I almost thought I should suggest they look in my purse to make sure I hadn't performed a little slight of hand. I admit that I was a bit short with my final, "Seriously, I'm fine."

I did choose a few items, made my way to the cash register, and upon leaving with my purchases, wouldn't you know it, I set the beeper off. Of course. When I turned back , bag held up, questioning look on my face, the cashier said I was fine and to just go through, but I'm certain the makeup spies were pointing fingers and proclaiming, "I knew it!!"

Ughhhh, it's going to be a while before I go in there again. Anyway, off I went to get groceries and my disappointment with humans was replaced with absolute glee upon finding these:

These are THE BEST paring knives on the face of the Earth (in my opinion). Tomatoes? Not a problem. Cutting out potato eyes? Perfect. Slicing meat? A breeze. These knives are small with a thin blade that is serrated and they are fabulous. Husband was trying to pry something with one and broke it, so I was down to two (yes, I had three of these at one point just in case one was dirty, or had been used to cut raw meat, and I was still cutting something else in food preparation). I like these better than Henckel paring knives and others that I've accumulated over the years. What about you? I'm sure anybody who cooks has a favourite knife that they reach for.