Sunday Odds and Ends and a chicken video

Our niece, Becky who posts here sometimes, was married yesterday. She married Kenny, whom we had not met before, but everyone has only wonderful things to say about him. They were married in her mother’s house (Sheila, who posts here is her mom.)  I had never been to Shelia’s home before, and what a pleasure it was. Aside from it being great house, she has this amazing view from almost all sides. This is a panoramic I took with my phone from across the street.

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Can you believe that? The view from her back deck is even better. I will take my camera next time, and I will take a lot of photos.

It was a very nice wedding, and we got to see people we do not often see.

I am making roasted Brussel sprouts for dinner. I try to make a nice dinner on Sunday’s when I am not working. I am making Ann a steak, sweet potatoes and Brussel Sprouts. I will have the veggies and will figure out the rest later.

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I posted this on Facebook, but I have finally found a coffee too strong for even me to drink. I did not think that was possible. It is a Flat White, and it has two shots of espresso. Not just any espresso, which would be fine, but some kind of super espresso and steamed milk. Nope. Not for me.

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I am defrosting chicken soup for dinner tomorrow. Chicken soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Soooo good.

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Pippin has taken to resting in our bathroom sink. He is a funny cat, for sure. This is the sink that is really to high, and I am going to build a vanity that will allow it to be recessed. I am having the pallets delivered, and I will use the wood to make the vanity.

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I have decided to take four, seasonal photos of this tree above our house. Then I will frame them. The sky is usually so beautiful. This will be winter, unless we get some snow, and I get a great one of some snow on it with the blue sky in the background.

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The chickens are fine, though the one is bald. I have been giving them more protein, to get her feathers growing, and I do see the little nubs that are feather starts. I bought them some yogurt, which they love and I filmed it. You will see that poor thing.

I have new projects, and that will have to wait until next weekend. I need to get my sewing machine fixed, I think I tried to do too thick stuff on it. I am also going to look for a used, old, heavy duty one, just for projects. The other one I will keep for fabric.

Categories: Chickens and Birds, Odds and Ends | 5 Comments

Channeling Bob the Builder

No one has read my last blog except Pam, but I am getting this one going anyway.

I have wanted to put two more shelves in the laundry/utility room. I am finally getting to it today. I forgot to take a before picture, so I took a soon after before one.

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I took down part of the framing around the window, hoping to find where the studs were, but that did not work. But I figured it out anyway.

I always try to find shortcuts, and sometimes….ok most times….I have to go back and redo.. I tried to do this without taking everything out of the room.

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So now I did.

My issue with this one shelve is that there was no room for a center support. I asked around Lowe’s and no one could come up with an idea, so I just walked around and looked at everything. I figured it out. I would put a book shelf type brace in the center. It was not easy, but it is certainly sturdy.

So that one is done. Now I have to do the one over the washer and dryer. It is not a difficult task, but it is awkward to reach over. I am short, ya know.

I took a break for lunch, and then I took some photos of the bird.

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Back to work.

I got the second shelf done without an issue, but then spent the next three hours cleaning and organizing everything in the room. I think I actually have some room left. We needed a place to put the small appliances, and now we have one. I have the baking things in one area, grains in another, and so on and so on.

I was really tired when I finished, but I felt very happy with the final product.

Shelf over the window….

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Those colored jars are just decoration, and they look great from the outside too!

Over the shelf over the washer and dryer….

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Next project is my bathroom vanity, which will be made out of reclaimed wood, via pallets. I just need to get the pallets delivered so that I can take them apart.  The guys who are suppose to deliver them for me have not come through. I will contact them again, and then I will look for another way, if they do not deliver…lol  double use of the word. So clever….lol

 

 

Categories: Crafty Me | 8 Comments

Sunday Soup

Ok, duh. I wrote this last Sunday, and I never posted it.

Lately, I have felt that I needed to go in a different direction, so here it is. I am going to write more about food and crafts. It took me this long in my life to realize I had craft talent. I cannot knit, because that takes too much discipline, and if you know me, you know that is something I proudly lack. But, there are things other than knitting. So on with the show!

Oh, Boogie showed up to protest the “No Cats on the Table” rule!

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Seems years ago, and I guess it was, that I would make soup each Sunday. I would then bring it to members of my English department for lunch on Monday. I enjoyed doing it, as it made me try out new things. Some worked. Some did not.

Now that I am retired, I find I have no time for anything. Who would have thought??? So today I am cooking for the rest of the week.  I see so many recipes on Facebook, and I try a lot of them. Most often they do not workout for me, so I alter them. NEVER does my final product look like the posted photo. I don’t care.

I am making:
Chicken Barley soup in the crock pot
Split Peas soup on the stove
Turkey meatloaf with the side, German Spaetzle Mac and Cheese
Mini cakes in half pint Mason jars (I do not hold out much hope for those.)

A nice thing about cooking the week’s food in one day, is that you only have to clean up a mess once. And I sure do make a mess.

Chicken Barley soup in the crock pot…my friend Jan sent this recipe and I followed it to a T. We did not like it, mainly because of the lemon I added at the end. ICK. However, a friend of ours loved it, so she got it all.

I have changed it a bit, and this is what I do now. It is really a yummy stew type soup and very easy.

*3 pounds bone in chicken thighs, skin removed ….

Note: I like to use thighs because I think they give the best flavor. Your choice.

*salt and pepper    

*oil, I always use olive

*1 onion, chopped

*2 carrots chopped

Note: We love cooked carrots, so I  usually put in about four times the amount in the recipe.

*2 ribs celery    

Note: I hate cooked celery, but I  like the flavor, so I put in celery seed instead.                                                                                                                                                                    

*garlic...add what you like

*1 cup dry white wine

Note: Are you going to waste a bottle of wine for a pot of soup? No, thought not.So, use Vermouth instead. It is a great substitute, and there is no waste. Oh, I only used a half cup.

*1 cup pearl barley

Note: I had some left in the box after measured out a cup, so I just tossed it in.

*9 cups chicken broth

 

Sear the chicken thighs in oil. Salt and pepper as you do it. I had to do it in two batches.


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Transfer the chicken to the crock pot.

In the pan, now saute the onion, garlic and carrots. It says to saute them until the carrots are soft, who has that much time?

Add the wine/vermouth and a little of the chicken broth. Let it simmer for a while. Go put the wash in the dryer, and it will be ready when you get back.

Note: It is also done when the smoke alarm goes off. North Carolina code requires a smoke alarm outside and inside the door of a bedroom.  Our small cabin has the guest room off the kitchen.  How many times do I cook and have that damn thing go off?  Every time. Every time.

                                                                                                                  

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Dump that in the crock pot. Add everything else. Mix it up a bit and put it on low for four or five hours, depending on your plans.

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The black flecks are garlic that got a little too done. I think it will be fine. I will tell people they are bugs.

Just before serving, take out the thighs.  Take off any of the meat you want to put back into the soup, or don’t.  I put back only the lightest of the thigh meat.

Enjoy!!

 

Split Pea Soup

Ok, so I cheat. I like the spices that come in the packaged dry soup mix for Split Pea. There was once one I adored called “Thick as Fog Pea Soup” but they went out of business. I was depressed for weeks.

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I add:

Lots of carrots, cut into large chunks

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Six cups of chicken broth, though I usually have to add more near the end. You could use water, but why?

Smoked Turkey wings….Yes, smoked turkey wings. Most people put a ham bone in pea soup, but I have not eaten red meat or pork in almost fourteen years, so that was out of the question. Once in a while I can find these smoked wings, and they add a fantastic flavor. I usually take them out when the soup is done, but if they are especially meaty, I will pick the meat off the bone and put it back into the soup. This is really a thick soup, best eaten with crusty bread instead of a spoon.

Simmer for a few hours until the peas are soft. I keep it on low medium. Works for me.

 

This has gotten to be a bit longer that I had planned, so I will have to do a second blog this week covering my meat loaf, spaetzle mac and cheese, and cake in Mason jars.

 

Peace out!

Update:  The meatloaf was great, but I over cooked the spaetzle and it was too crunchy to eat. The Mason jar desserts were fantastic, and the chicken soup was good also. However, the pea soup was just too salty to eat. I guess I had a 50% success.

It is now Saturday night, and tomorrow is another cooking and craft day. I promise not to wait a week to post the big event. lol

 

Just a side note:  I played in my first bridge tournament today, and we placed. lol Honestly, I just started playing bridge in October after a twenty-five year break from it, and I really do love it. It is  contract bridge, and NO IT IS NOT JUST OLD PEOPLE!!!

 

 

Categories: Food | 2 Comments

Baby it’s cold outside

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I know it is colder in Michigan, but this is the south. We have a well, and that well is down the mountain partway. The water heater, water filter and holding tanks are all insulated and covered. We did not worry about them, but we do worry about the pipe going down the hill to the well. They are suppose to bury it a certain distance underground to avoid freezing, but you never know. So, to keep things from freezing we ran the washing machine when we went to bed, and we scheduled the dishwasher to run about two in the morning. Ann got up early and did another load of clothes, so far so good.

It is going to be warmer tonight…15. lol

I took this next photo in Biltmore Village. I do not know what kind of trees these are, but I figured someone would. The bark is two color and it is very smooth. I just thought they were interesting.

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I finally went out and let the chickens out. They came running, as you will see in the video, even the poor bald one.

I put that egg in my pocket and forgot I had. I broke it, of course, and now I have an icky pocket.

Hope you are all keeping warm. I am going to go out today and get ingredients for a couple of batches of soup. Maybe I should be putting up recipes. Jan sent me a crock pot chicken that I am going to alter a bit and make a second time. I am also going to make a pot of pea soup, if I can find smoked turkey wings.

Categories: Chickens and Birds, Nature | 9 Comments

It’s the beginning of bird photo season!

I like to take photos of the birds when it is snowing, but we have not had any since November, so I had to take some photos anyway. We have lots of birds: the Tufted Titmouse, chickadees, finches, and gold finches. However, I have not seen a cardinal yet. Last winter we had many sets of cardinals, but nothing so far.

This is my favorite from today. I did not realize I was catching the rain in the photos.

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Sometimes Pippin tries to interfere with photography.

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This one looks very serious.

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Ok, I think this one has had enough to eat!

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You can see the beads of rain on this one.

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I am calling this new feeder The Thunder Dome. I have seen a half dozen birds in it at once, but each time I go out, they fly away. This is the only one that could come to it while I was out there.

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I spent the day taking down all the Christmas decorations on the outside. I had probably put out fifteen strings of lights, and they all needed to be put away.  I got them all put into a tub that we will store under the house.

The coop had blue lights on it during the holiday, and I just did not think they were the color to keep up. Ann and I were out yesterday and we came across some clearance lights. This is three sets of PINK light. I know, they look lavender, but the box said pink.  It does not matter though; I like them.

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I liked the lights, and I really did not want to wait to Halloween to have them again. So I have ordered small white lights that should arrive by the end of next week.

Categories: Chickens and Birds, Photos | 4 Comments