Saturday, March 17, 2018

Off My Duff

It was another one of those mornings that had me wishing I raised hamsters instead of having goats to tend.  Cold?  I hope to shout it was cold, and pouring down rain, to boot.  The girls have the routine down pat by now and dashed around the barn into the big room when they'd finished breakfast.  I hurried back to the house to throw another chunk of wood to Stove.

After a day at the movies, it was time to get something done.  Laundry, dusting (yes, dusting), and general pick up to get ready for company today.  I fear, given the weather, that two thirds of my guests won't be coming.  We haven't yet gotten the predicted snow (yet), but I don't think Pete's low-slung muscle car is built for muddy, slushy roads, and I'm not sure Harold should be out in the cold, either.  I'd rather have them home safe and dry than taking chances.  Cam lives just a half-mile down and, unless it does snow, will probably brave it.  One thing about corned beef, it's every bit as good as leftovers.

Most of the wind had died down by daybreak yesterday, but it continued to rain all day, and there was one spell when hail battered the house.  So far, so good with the trees.  Nature does love to play tricks.  There was a break about sundown and I made it to the barn still dry.  With perfect timing, I was headed back to the house when she turned on the faucet.  "Ha ha, gotcha!"

Stove worked hard all day, and once I got off my duff, I got things done.  I'd say that was a good day.

Friday, March 16, 2018

It's A Pattern

After a couple of days of company, yesterday was a day of R&R.  I caught a break in the rain to get barn chores done, and then got sucked into watching old movies while trying to warm up.  When Arden was here last, I had mentioned "The Painted Veil," and there it was on the Classic Movie channel.  It was the original 1934 version with Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall, and George Brent.  Perhaps more than a little melodramatic, but still a good story.  The remake in 2006 with Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, and Liev Schreiber is, in my opinion, better (not always the case with a remake) and probably closer to Somerset Maugham's book.

Not a particular fan of Elizabeth Taylor (don't throw rocks at me), I had never seen "BUtterfield 8," the 2006 film for which she won an Oscar.  What the heck, Stove was warming the house, hot cocoa was warming me, and I knew I was going to blow off the day anyhow.  I was surprised to see Eddie Fisher in a bit part.  Laurence Harvey had the male lead.  I will say that the movie wasn't a complete waste of time.

I wasn't so lucky when it came time to put the girls to bed and got soaked.  My barn shoes are ready for retirement, and I squelched up and down the hill.  There is a pair of replacements in the closet.  It poured buckets of rain all night, and wind battered the house.  It's the combination that always has me worried for the trees.  I won't know until daylight if they're all still standing.  Fingers crossed.

Leftover chili, old movies, warm stove:  it was a good day.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


The day began with a snap yesterday.  The day before, Cam had brought up a trash barrel with just a little chicken scratch at the bottom to hopefully trap rats in the feed shed.  Orphaned bobcats at the animal sanctuary are getting big and need to catch and kill live rats if they're going to survive when they're released in April, and I certainly have enough "product" for them.  Coming back from the barn, I went in the shed to check.  There were none in the barrel, but, after months of sitting open and useless, the trap I'd set had snapped on a big, pregnant female, still alive.  I picked her up by the tail, put her in the barrel for safekeeping, and called Cam.  She came immediately, bringing Sammi, her rat killer, because the rat was injured.  Sammi was disappointed because in that brief period, the rat had died.  It would still feed the bobcats, and I'm down not just one rat in the shed, but a whole litter of ratletts, too.

It rained off and on all morning, and Clay had a wet trip up the hill.  The chili was ready when he got here, but he'd had lunch in the valley, so we had time to sit and catch up before dinner.  And then the rain turned to snow!  It was Clay's first time to see snow up here, and it was beautiful, big fluffy flakes floating down.  It didn't last long and there wasn't enough to stick, but candy for the eyes, all the same.

Camille called, done with her chores for the day, and I invited her to join us for dinner.  She arrived just as Clay and I were almost done unloading a pickup load of wonderful, already-split oak firewood.  Of course I brought a wagon load to the porch and threw a couple of pieces to Stove right away.  It was like giving him the main course after days of appetizers.

Coming in from the cold (I had to put my hands under running hot water to thaw), we were all ready for bowls of thick, rich, and spicy white chili with chicken, hominy, cannellini beans, broth, and herbs, finished with sour cream.

A snack for the bobcats, a visit from my Kid, firewood piled up, and my friend's company.  That's what I'd call a successful day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Good Luck

It was a lucky happenstance when Camille called and said she was going to Lockeford Meat & Sausage and did I need anything.  Need, no; want, yes!  Lockeford sausages are known far and wide up here as being the very best.  I'd seen a recipe on TV for Italian sausage and artichoke hearts in wine sauce that I thought sounded good, so asked for a half-pound of meat, and did she want to come for dinner.  It was a cold, really rainy day.  I had a fire going and did as much prep work ahead of time when Cam and Honey came in out of the wet.  Nick Stellino's recipe (he's one of my favorite TV chefs) was easy and quick, and it wasn't long before we sat down to eat a hot and hearty meal.  I think the sauce could have used a little more reduction, but that was my fault.  Since no measurements or times were given, it was guess and by-golly cooking, and good luck that it turned out well.  I'm so glad that Camille is a willing guinea pig and happy to try something new with me.

It rained throughout the night (again).  I hope it lets up today because Clay is bringing a load of firewood.  I'm desperate for the oak he brings as I'm down to only cedar in the woodpile.  Cedar is great for getting a fire going.  It burns hot and fast and doesn't leave much ash, but it doesn't last long for sustained heat.  Stove gobbles it up like candy.

The other Kids would say that Clay is racking up the "Good Son" points, and I'm happy to put a gold star by his name.  His only reward is a hot meal, and I'll be making White Chili for him.  It's a recipe I love and have been hungry for.  This is my lucky week, for sure.  Cam last night, Clay today, and Pete, Camille, and Harold are coming for corned beef and cabbage (no green beer) on Saturday.  I'm in cook's heaven.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Dust ruffles are such a useful household decor item.  They're not just for hiding dust under the sofa or chair in this house.  In rainy weather (like today), when Bessie Anne comes in with a damp coat, she rubs along the ruffle, first one way and then the other, using it like a self-serve towel.  It was a busy day yesterday.  I needed to go into town while the roads were still dry and stock up on supplies for Clay's visit and St. Patrick's Day on Saturday.  Knowing that we were due for another wet week (thankfully with a break on Wednesday), bring more wood to the porch was on the list.  All that done, there was still time to fit in some reading.

While I was turning pages, I kept hearing little cat sounds.  Celeste was sitting quietly over by the pig- and book-filled chest, so it wasn't her.  Hmmm.  Then I saw the flick of a tail from under the dust ruffle.  Ralph was teasing, trying to get Celeste to join in a game of hide-and-seek, but not doing a very good job of hiding.  He reminded me of when the Kids were little and we'd play.  "Where's [Debbie]?  I can't find her (knowing exactly where she was)."  "Here I am, Mama.  I'm right here!"  Celeste ignored Ralph for a while and then succumbed, pouncing on the ruffle and making him jump.  She'd wait for him to move, then pounce again.  Having gotten his playmate involved, he came out and started a wrestling match.  Celeste outweighs Ralph by more than a couple of pounds and he rarely comes out on top, but the game is more important than winning.

Trip to town over and done, food in the cupboards and fridge, and wood on the porch.  It was a good day.  And I don't have to worry about entertaining the furry kids on a rainy day today.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Back On Track

Turns out my confusion yesterday was caused by my sleepyhead computer.  It doesn't like the time change, either, and was slow making  the conversion.  It was nice to know I'd actually done the right thing at the right time the night before.

The girls had barely rubbed the sleep out of their eyes and Missy was still curled up in her little bed when I arrived at the barn.  If I'd used new time, chores would have cut well into the morning, so I went down an hour early, old/new time.  Whatever.  Aarrgh!

Thank goodness for DVR and the pause button.  I didn't miss any of the race and still got a lovely, much-needed nap.  Bowyer had a pretty good day and came in with the top ten.

Having shot most of the day anyhow, I decided to clean off some of the many programs I'd put on DVR instead of being productive.  What I watched were educational, but disheartening.  An in-depth investigation into Second Amendment radicals and what led up to the bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995 and the prior tragedy at Ruby Ridge had me in tears.  Another documentary about the bombing of Wall Street in 1920, starting with the deportation of many hundreds of innocent immigrants and hatred for the supposed Communist threat had me thinking that, in a way, history is being repeated.  I finished a depressing day with an hours-long look at the war in Vietnam, including interviews with a large number of surviving members of the military, with their photos from their time in country.  Old men now, many could not help crying as they recounted the horrors they had witnessed.  As I said, educational, but disheartening.

On a brighter note, I got a text from Clay, who said he's coming up on Wednesday!  Now that's something to look forward to.

Sundown has slowly been getting later anyhow; with the time change, it was nearly 7 o'clock when I put the girls to bed.  I'd been used to fixing dinner after their bedtime.  As it was, it was really too late for that so I scrambled an egg (thanks, Camille) and called it good.

Missy had been waiting for her bowl, and she behaved beautifully.  How does one train a cat not to bite, you ask?  I've found that petting while they are "good," but removing the hand at the first change in body language works.  They seem to understand that they will lose that which they like and want immediately if they misbehave.  It has worked with cats in the past, but it would never work with Deb and Craig's cat Clyde.  Clyde, as they will admit, has a screw loose.  Cats are funny that way.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

New Versus Old

Oh crum.  Once again I'm out of step with the world.  It's not enough that I can't keep track of what day it is, now I don't know what time it is, either.  Going to bed last night (Saturday), I had it firmly fixed in my mind that the time change was on Sunday.  Tomorrow (today) was Sunday, so I moved the bedside clock ahead an hour.  Consequently, I got up at 3:30 this morning (my clock said 4:30).  Ha ha, World!  I've already lost my hour of sleep.  Nanner, nanner!  I'm so confused.  All I know for sure is that it is going to be a lo-o-ong day.

There is a new version of the old me.  I recognized that my hair had gotten out of control, so Candy, my friend and itinerant hairdresser, came yesterday and gave me a different, easy-to-care-for cut.  I think I frustrate her.  "Do you ever use a blow dryer?"  "No.  I think I might have one somewhere."  "Do you use hair products?"  "What?  No."  My style is wash-and-wear, period.  I run a brush through it in the morning and then avoid mirrors for the rest of the day.  Works for me.

For some reason, for the past two weeks all the cooking shows that I so enjoyed on Saturdays have disappeared.  Last week I thought it might have been a temporary aberration, but no.  Where am I going to get inspiration now?  The replacement programs hold no interest for me.  Thank goodness for good old, reliable NASCAR.  I'm already looking forward to the obligatory NASCAR nap this afternoon, whenever after noon is.