Category: General (Page 1 of 9)

Bird Feeder Time

I found a bird feeder that was in the shed, cleaned it up a bit and put it hanging on the front porch, filled with Black Sunflowerseeds. I had another hanging there that was in bad shape, so it’s now on the porch floor. It’s hard to get seeds to come out, the bottom is really swelled up. I need to throw it away really.

All in all I have three places to hang feeders in the front, and only one decent feeder for now. At any rate, within a few hours the Northern Cardinal pair that are around usually were coming to the lower feeder. By the next day it was a flurry of activity at the hanging feeder, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, House Finch and the usual Eastern Phoebe going back and forth from the tree right there, a natural growing Crape Myrtle, which I mean, it’s not chopped every year.

Morning and Evening it’s such fun to watch them out the window by the door. particularly the Tufted Titmouse, which one will invariably come in for a landing from the tree to the porch rail, sit there, hop to somewhere else, and then fly away again, but pausing there for a good look around which allows humans and cats to get a good eyeful of them. All safely a glass panel between us and the birdies.

Gardening 2020 Rambles

My gardening is going OK, but it’s also being used by birds and a rabbit.

I have Kale growing, but it’s rather skimpily planted, next to that Swiss Chard, one of the few that came up was totally eradicated by one of the above, not eaten just taken apart.

The Kale was meant to add to salads from the store, or on a burger and I keep forgetting it now that it’s bigger and nice looking, but I haven’t ever grown it so … I don’t know.

Basil from seed takes a long time, but it’s finally getting bigger and useful. I have a lot of it. I want to keep some overwinter in the house, so I have to make sure I recall that information later on this year.

I planted some garlic, 9 cloves and that will be interesting to see what I get. I haven’t been successful in getting any ontions to even sprout. (Seeds)

I do have mint plants. I want them to be perennial, spread into the area I have them in. Why? We love mint ice cream! Mint Basil Ice Cream, Mint Ice Cream, Lemon Balm Mint Ice Cream, etc. I also have Lemon Balm growing.

My gardens are new this year, for the most part, 4 new cedar 4×4 raised beds, two of them attached with one being higher sided than the other 2-sets of that next to each other with a path between.

I have a more submerged 4×4 square that houses some of the above, Garlic, Parsley, Sage, and some of the Basil.

I also have cucumbers growing from seed, those have been SLOW, still not big overall, and not doing anything but that slow growing.

Sweet Potatoes were planted from a pack of plants purchased. They are growing vines like crazy.

Carrots are difficult I had planted seed in the old garden spot, mostly for naught then the one that was growing was beheaded.

I have two rows of carrots in a new garden, sprouting and growing nicely, culling out some of them is so heart rending difficult.

Oh, nearly forgot. Thyme. I grew Thyme from seed, but it wouldn’t do much, I had it in a raised herb garden frame, and something isn’t very good about it now, just crazyness, it used to be a good place, but the new garden soil I put in it just isn’t working.

I replanted a few of the Thyme sprouts and they are taking to another spot a bit better now. I put another group with them yesterday, so hopefully I’ll get some Thyme out of it.

Another batch of cold

Seems all I write about here now is COLD. Ah, well. Today and Tomorrow will not be so cold, but getting colder at night, into the low 60’s for Highs.

Sunday and Monday are going to be below freezing at night, and into the mid-40’s for high temperature. The next two days are supposed to be not as cold, lows and highs jumping and creeping up respectively.

Sunday night it will be cold outside. Sunday night is the Lunar Eclipse. It is supposed to be clear that night, so with my winter coat on to stand outside, that should work out alright.

Cold is in again

Today I have been fighting with this non-seasoned wood to get something burning for tonight. It’s getting chillier in the house, and it’s nice to be warmer in the evening, the fireplace’s job.

Top down works well, but not when the wood is so, well, I have to use a lot of junk to get it going and fight, fight, fight chants to the embery pieces. But usually they just sizzle and eventually die, no wood will take their cheeky heat and start really burning. I have a few precious sort of seasoned things I can put on a sort of actually burning fire to get more embers to make the unseasoned partially burning guys to actually, burn up sooner than later.

Poking and prodding and washing my hands and recycled around and around is how it feels.

EW30EF65GSA Oven Door Glass Replaced

I had ordered 1 inner glass, thankfully I only needed 1. There aren’t only 2, there are 3 bleeping pieces of glass in that oven door. Not counting the front glass even.

The new piece of glass is where the old one broke. The one that faces the oven directly. It looked cracked, but taking the door apart the middle piece of glass between the cracks was floating free.

It was torture, but mostly because we couldn’t get the door off, then worked on it while on, but then couldn’t close it and couldn’t remember how the hinges worked, took it out to figure out but didn’t until I found and finally watched some video about putting a pipe on the hinge to move it, oh goodness priceless. I felt so powerful at that point, floop, floop, each side down and push lock up, slide door in, push down lock thingie on both sides. Door closes right. Wow. So much trouble could have been avoided but “now we know” exactly how the dumb hinge works on the oven door.

Also, no more self-clean cycles. No thanks.

Blueberry Corn Muffins

1 1/4 cups corn meal (a Masa variety)
3/4 cup Sprouted flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 1/4 cups milk

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the blueberries, stirring to distribute them fairly evenly.

In another bowl stir the egg well, then drizzle in the melted butter while stirring well, then add in a little of the milk, stirring well, then stir the rest of the milk in very quickly.

Add the milk/egg/butter mixture to the large bowl of dry ingredients. Using a spatula carefully combine only until the dry mixture is wet (do not over stir!)

Drop the batter via a spoon or scoop into a 12 muffin pan, buttered, or paper liner cups, filling with a rounded mountain above each muffin.

Bake at 350 to 400 degrees, however fast or slow your oven is (also taking into account convection or conventional ovens) for 15 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and a testing stick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.

I prefer to bake for 15 minutes, asses and turn the pan around as needed.

Corn-Bread Taco Casserole

This recipe is made in a 9×13 glass pan, serves a large family or small group easily. (Really delicious first time, or as leftovers!)

Make a double recipe of cornbread batter, layer cornbread batter and taco meat and cheese, bake in the oven until the cornbread is done, lightly browned on top.

Taco filling:

2 lbs ground beef
2 tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder
1/2 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped, smashed to paste consistency
1 tablespoons Cumin
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoons Oregano
1 small cans diced tomatoes

Cornbread Batter:

2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
1/4 cup sugar
5 teaspoons (non aluminum) baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups milk
4 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter


2 Cups of Monterey Jack Cheese shredded fine

Put half corn bread batter on the bottom of the pan. Taco filling goes next, then cheese, then the last half of corn bread batter.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees F., or until the cornbread on top is set and lightly browned.

Serve and enjoy piping hot!

Fireplace Update – New Back Installed

The fireplace back piece was installed two days ago. Unfortunately I have a bad cold and wasn’t in the room to see it happening, and it’s not what I was told was going to happen.

It’s totally different from the original sidepanels. They were going to paint the new piece black so that it would blend into the back of the fireplace, not be so noticeable.

Oh well.

Fireplace after one long day of initiating it into the famly.

Fireplace after one long day of initiating it into the famly.

Smothered Chicken (in Creamy Sauce)

Smothered Chicken (in Creamy Sauce) – Stovetop version

Chicken Breasts, brown on each side, set aside. (One for each person)

In large pot put onion, diced, lots of garlic, smashed, into olive oil, and cook until onion is translucent. (One onion, less or more, and several garlic cloves)

Put the browned chicken breasts on top of the onions and garlic. Add a couple cups of chicken stock (or water), plus a tablespoon of Soy Sauce, a tablespoon of chicken base.

Cook until chicken is done, no more pink remaining, tender, but not falling apart.

While the chicken is cooking make a sauce base which you’ll add to the chicken later.

Several cloves of garlic, smashed, cooked in olive oil a few minutes. Add butter and olive oil and flour (3T of butter, 3T oil, 6T flour) … stir together well and cook until bubbly, add 2 C milk, stir well until the mixture heats up and gets thick.

When the chicken is ready, add the sauce into the pot with the chicken, stock, onions, etc. Stir it in some, it’ll seem clumpy and not mixed well. It will integrate into a thick, rich sauce.

Cook for another 20 minutes or so. (Carefully remove chicken from sauce, put on platter and put sauce into a bowl with a serving spoon.)

Serve over rice or noodles. Adjust amounts up or down for your family needs.

Dinner Rolls

Dinner Rolls (Any shape you want!)

Heat the oven to 350°F

First thing is to warm the milk and melt the butter, etc.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Heat on low until butter mostly melts.
Take off of the stove.

  • 1 package or 2 1/4 tsp. active yeast

Sprinkle the active yeast onto the milk mixture, let it sit until softened, then stir.

  • Flour – 3 1/2 to 4 cups

Stir in as must flour as you can by hand, then put out on a kneading surface and continue kneading until smooth, or use a stand mixer to need, adding flour by the 1/4 cup or 1 Tablespoon until it doesn’t need anymore and knead until smooth.

Form into a ball and put oil in the bowl, then turn the ball of dough upside-down there and swirl it around to
distribute the oil. Turn the dough right-side-up. Allow to rise until doubled, then make into shapes and bake when desired.

This can be put into a bag to slow rise in the fridge. Make it on day 1 and on day 2 use it. Bring the bag out and put the dough into an oiled bowl to come to room temperature, then punch down and shape and bake until golden brown.

This recipe makes about 12 large rolls.

Thanksgiving Meal 2011 Prep

I don’t feel like doing this, but I am.

Thanksgiving Day is less than 3 weeks away now.

I have a chicken I could make, and told my husband that’s all I’ll make (no turkey) to save money. I can make stuffing with what I have now too. I have potatoes and frozen brocolli and enough cheese to make a sauce. I can make rolls. Gravy. What more is needed? Nothing really.

That should do it.

Anyhow, I have a daughter turning 13 the next day.

Thanksgiving is hardly ever about Thanksgiving Meal to me since 1998. Not really, but really. I might talk the talk, but don’t feel it.

A/C Guy fixed things

A/C Guy finally came back today with the new sensor module, installed it, made sure it was working and also added a manual damper in between master bedroom and the other bedrooms (’cause of the heat load we have in the master bedroom from the East/South facing the Sun.) He tweaked things as well, to allow the right cooling without freezing. So far today, better than ever. He was done around 11am-ish. It’s been really warm today and all areas staying right on target and that feels great, I can actually turn the thermostats to 69 happily (sometimes), only have to bump them down if I’m “excercising” or moving around so much that I’m started to overheat.

So finally it’s working. I’m not so happy about it though, anticipating the sensor mucking it all up by dying on us. I have the same feeling about other things that have gone bad, like the motherboard in my Nutrimill Grain Grinder, it went totally dead all of the sudden. I had to send it in and have that replaced, and I’ve been waiting ever since for it to happen again, but it hasn’t, but I KNOW it CAN happen, since it DID already, when it wasn’t that much used. So this A/C is like that, brand new install and … somewhere along the way this part died and we’ve had nothing but trouble but didn’t do enough about it as soon as we should have (not knowing exactly what we should have expected, would it work to cool the house or not … and it didn’t and it wasn’t clear to us that it wasn’t right, not just something needing tweaked, or added, when in fact it was yes, tweak, PLUS something needed REPLACED.) So how long will it be before I trust this magical fix from today. Don’t know, but hope I can get my superstitious self to stop thinking about it and just accept it as it is day to day, not waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Summer giving way to Autumn

August has come and gone. I’m not wishing time away, but I sure won’t miss the Fall Allergy season when that has come and gone. It’s here, has been, and will be for a longer stay than I want (like I ever really want it!)

Weather has been nicer atimes the past couple of weeks. The hold that Summer has is slipping, Autumn is in the air just a bit, length of days, feel of the Sun, how the plants are getting ready for the change, good old crisp, clean air is coming. Eventually.

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