Monday, March 2, 2015

Here are the first two signs of Spring!

I spoke too soon! Rosie, one of our kids from last year, just gave us 2 new babies. I think they are both bucklings, but not sure yet. Too excited to give them a good look—both them and me!

More pics to follow. Gotta head into work.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Still no sign of spring!

We still have over 2 feet of snow on the ground, still some overnight temps below 0°, still some heavy winds blowing the snow all around. When will it end?

Dunno, but it will. The chickens are laying eggs again—average about 5 per day—up from about 2 per week. And our Greek friends are making the trip up from the city again, fighting over the chicken eggs. "Don't sell them to anybody else. Save them for me!"

Sadly, we lost 7 of our 9 ducks to some unknown predator, probably a fox, but the 2 remaining are a male and female, so we have some hope that more are on the way...some day. (Although this particular female has never laid an egg that we know of...)

MonkeyCat and WoodMan are getting better at coexisting, but the Woody still gives chase every time he is awake enough to notice.

MonkeyCat still is carting things up from the basement to the second floor. He ran out of egg noodles (since I took them all away) and has moved on to the hot peppers that I had drying down there. Woody still eats whatever Monkey throws back down the stairs to the first floor, but he has discovered that the hot peppers are not quite as tasty as the noodles.

I have been busy working for the newspaper, and my dear friend Maryellen has been giving me a good bit of work as well. Small pic is a map I am doing for her (for Pilot Freight) that was particularly difficult. One can only fit so many cities in a state in 6 pt type... I'm just sayin'!

Not looking forward to tax time.

Never do.

Procrastinate as long as possible...

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The groundhog was right

We are not seeing the end of winter anytime soon. I think we have close to 3 feet of snow on the ground, and it's still coming down. The big pic will give you a good idea of the amount of snow, especially in comparison to the photo up top with the big Lester. That one was from Thanksgiving Day. Now you can barely see the top of the black bench.

And the cold temperatures make it even worse. It's supposed to get up to a high of 0° tomorrow, high of -2° on Sunday. Low on Sunday night is expected to be -20°.

Inside it is nice and warm by the woodstove (75° right this minute) but the poor animals outside are not thrilled with the cold. The ducks somehow make the trek from the duckhouse through the snow all the way to the chicken coop every morning. I'm not sure why they need to go out there other than they enjoy the chicken company. This is maybe 100 feet through the deep snow, only about 20 feet down the cleared driveway.

And I know how difficult that trekking through the snow can be, as Woody likes to take me through it while I am walking him on the leash. He has to leap through it since it is up to his belly, and he pretty much just drags me along behind.

He is definitely still missing Sophie and so are we, but I am going to hold off on getting another dog, even with the temptations from our favorite animal rescue (Burlington County Animal Alliance in NJ). Lorraine has sent some heart-tugging, adorable, perfect pup photos which I am not even going to post here because they will just tug at my heart that much more... Let's just say that one of them looks like a 6MO Woody...

The WoodMan definitely still needs some one-on-one training. I want to be able to trust him off the leash before I get another dog, and winter is not a good time to practice that. Is spring coming anytime soon? Please?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Missing our Sophie!

I didn't want to bump Sophie, so I am reloading one of my favorite pics of her—resting after a prolonged romp with the Libby pup back in 2007 in NJ. She was a great one for putting that belly in the air for a good belly rub, and sometimes just to rub her back on the floor or the grass.

We are all missing her, especially the WoodMan. He keeps looking for her. He looks at the front door if I say her name. He went out to the garage (where he saw me put her in the car to take her away) the first time I took him out for a walk after she was gone. In fact, he did not even want to go for a walk, he stayed on the porch and refused to come with me until I dropped the leash and he ran to the garage door.

I took him into work on Friday thinking this is the most subdued he has ever been. He was mostly well behaved, and I think it was a nice distraction—for him and for me.

First pic is him in the office of The Freeman's Journal ( Second pic is him on the rug in the kitchen by the sink. This is the rug I had up in the bedroom upstairs, the rug that Sophie spent a good bit of time sleeping on. Not his usual hangout spot...maybe it still smells of Sophie Girl...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Striped bass and the mystery egg noodles

Chapter 1
The Husband found some remarkably fresh fish in upstate NY (unheard of unless you have an in with one of those crazy ice fisherman! You know who you are, Jack!).

We regularly buy vegetables from Heller's Farm in the Cooperstown Farm Market. The market continues through the winter, but the pickins are slim. Apparently Heller's has a large pond and has started raising striped bass.

This was my first attempt at cooking a whole fish, but we both agreed it turned out pretty well. I used a recipe they provided which involved coating the fish with a kind of pesto made from fresh mint, dried oregano, scallions, garlic and olive oil. We left out the mint partly because The Hub is not a fan, partly because it's not exactly fresh in Price Chopper.

Score the sides, rub in the pesto, and broil for 5 minutes (more like 7 minutes) each side. Served with mashed sweet potatoes and a spinach salad.

Chapter 2
Dried egg noodles started appearing as cat toys on the second floor, mostly in the middle of the night being noisily batted around by some silly kitten. I could not figure out where he was getting them.

I take them away, more appear.

I discovered a few days later that there was an extra bag of egg noodles in the basement. I am thinking the same silly kitten broke open the bag and must have been carrying them upstairs one at a time.

I added Chapter 2 just now because same silly kitten batted one of them down the stairs while I was writing this. The Hub took it away, so kitten went down in the basement and just brought up another one. He left it for a sleeping Sophie as a gift. She woke up a few minutes later and ate it—thank you very much!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

MonkeyCat has eye surgery (along with getting snipped!)

Not much to report here on the home front, I just wanted to get that awful photo from Paris off the top of my blog. Too sad to think about...

Monk went in last week for that special operation, and while they were at it they tried to fix his very weepy eye. They cut away a lot of scar tissue, but the eye is no better than before, in fact maybe worse. Either way, he doesn't seem to notice there is a problem, so we will do nothing further about it. They told me he stopped breathing when they administered the anesthesia, so there will be no future surgeries if we can help it. Thank heavens they brought him back, and he lost none of the spunk he had when he left us for the day.

He and WillieCat have really bonded, so much so that when Monk is downstairs trying to get a rise out of Woody (easily done!) Willie is upstairs whining and calling him back. This photo is the 2 of them posing for a close-up after some serious grooming of each other. Nice to see that they do indeed like each other! Davey and Willie did too, but never enough for the grooming bit.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Nous sommes Charlie

I removed the other photo today, 01/15/15, because I could not bear to look at it anymore. This photo at least shows there is hope.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Last few days to vote!

If you were on our Christmas card list, please vote for your choices of Noels in the sidebar to the left. (No votes after the New Year.) Two have guessed all 3 of the photos inside the card, but for the most part, everyone is perplexed. I am not surprised, as I probably would not have guessed 2 out of 3...

If you want to be on our Christmas card list—contact me.

Looking back on 2014—it has been a good year. We lost a few chickens to some more dog attacks (not our dogs) and to undetermined medical ailments; we gave up some of our unruly poultry (all male of course!) to our Greek friends, and we lost 2 goats to reasons mostly unknown...but overall we have had a good year.

In the large photo, you can see that the apple trees did not produce well this past year. The one tree on the right put out a few apples way up high, but the one on the left put out none. That was pretty much the standard, very few apples, but enough to make some apple butter for us.

The garden faired about as well as the apple trees. We got plenty of plum tomatoes and winter squash, but no corn at all, even after replanting. We planted several other vegetables and sunflowers, but had very little to show for all our work. In the second photo, you can see my new, magical, processing device for all those extra plum tomatoes. No boiling, no peeling, no removing the seeds, just cut them into small chunks and run them through. It does take some muscle power, though! The basil in the pot on the counter did well because it was protected inside.

Final photo is of Bucky Pizzarelli. This young deer was hanging out around the house with his Mama for a long time, and then all by himself after that. He is still around, although the edible plants are not as easily found, so he is wandering more. I didn't even know he was a buck until I enlarged some of these photos. They call them "button bucks" because their horns are just buttons when they are this young.

I hope he sticks around. He is safe here.