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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Farm animals

Not much to report from up on the farm. All the snow went away, then it came back but just a few inches, and now it's gone again—raining most of the night and morning, and in the 40s°.

Animals are all settling in for the winter. The Husband has stopped milking Lucille, no more goat cheese or yogurt until the spring. Charley may or may not have bred her. She was in heat and now she's not. Rose, her kid, should also be coming into heat soon, and should be bred as well, but since we have boys and girls all living together, there is no way to tell if Charley has succeeded in doing his studly duty.

The all-living-together part is working out well. The goat book, Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats, says exactly what everyone else says about housing bucks and does separately, but I still have not discovered the reason why. As long as there is no fighting, I cannot figure out why we can't leave them in together. That, and we have no separate housing for the buck boy anyway.

The photo has Lucille, Rosie and Rico all in the crib, and Jack and Charley in the doorway looking on. One big happy family, don't you think?

I took some chicken photos as well before the really cold weather comes and the ones with big red combs get frostbite. We use the deep litter method, allowing the hay and poo to build up in a thick layer as insulation in the unheated coop. Their feathers do a pretty good job of keeping them warm, but the rooster especially is in danger with that big red comb on his pretty head. Most of the Easter Egger hens, and the 2 remaining Silver Laced Wyandottes have short combs that hold up well through the bitter cold.

Fiona and Richie, the piggies, are hell-bent on finding a way out of their muddy pen, but are otherwise well behaved and still more adorable than obnoxious (that comes later). They come to the fence to greet us and stand on each other's back trying to reach up first for a good head scratch. We haven't had any problems with frostbite on the pigs or goats, both seem able to snuggle up in their bedding and stay warm. Just like the rest of us...all snuggled up for winter...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving and we're getting snowed in!

Our tradition of going to the Otesaga for a Thanksgiving feast with B&E has ended. Alas, B&E have turned into snowbirds and will be spending the next few months in sunny Florida. Just as well, since this Thanksgiving would have been a tough travel from NJ to NY—we are getting snowed in!

The prediction was for the snow to start around 7 am, and for us to get 4" to 6" by tomorrow at 7 am. The snow did not start falling until around 10 am, and this is what we have at 3 pm. I think we have already passed the 6" mark and it's still coming down fast and furious!

I already bought the fresh turkey and goodies for us to have here tomorrow, just the 2 of us, so no worries about having to go anywhere. Just saying a little prayer that The Husband gets home from work safely. They are pretty good about clearing the roads up here, but I don't think they have even started plowing yet.

Last photo is of the MonkeyCat growing up quickly, but not losing his monkey business. He has made it his mission to become one with the WoodMan, even though the WoodMan barks like a fool and chases him back up the stairs every time he sees him on the first floor. Monk is playing with the camera-shy Hub on the sofa in the pic...must have been while Woody was sleeping.

Wish I had one of those security cameras to capture the mayhem that goes on while the Hub and I are at work. And Sophie just sleeps through it all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Birthday uncles and suburban turkeys

I took a little trip back to NJ to visit with Little Sister this past weekend, and then we both took a trip to PA to visit with the birthday uncles.

Monsignor B recently turned 75, and Uncle Jack will be 80 in January. Uncle Bob, who lives in FL, celebrated his 75th on Sunday, but we only visited with him by phone. And, I came home to find out that The Husband's sister, who came to see us a week ago, also celebrated a birthday this week.

So Happy Birthday one and all! Hope you all are enjoying the (mostly) beautiful fall weather we've been having.

Also while in NJ, I stopped by to see Brian and Eve. When I pulled up in front of their house, I disturbed this huge turkey who was sunning himself in their driveway. Apparently there are a lot of homeless turkeys who have taken up residence in the local suburbs. Not enough of their original habitat remains, so they are moving into town where all those nice people are feeding them and taking lots of photographs. Don't tell them what holiday we are celebrating next month...

We have plenty of original habitat up here in NY, but the weeds are too tall this time of year for us to see turkeys or just about any other kind of critter roaming the property. But we know they're out there!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

For you, Kimberley

We had some family visitors over the weekend, causing me to give the house a quick makeover. Thankfully, I washed the kitchen floor, because I hear that The Husband's sister was sitting on the floor playing the role of Woody Whisperer. His behavior has greatly improved, but he still needs some work—especially when we have guests for dinner.

In the good weather, which is nearing an end, Woody spends a good part of the morning sunning himself in my chair on the back porch. I have seen him sitting up in that chair sound asleep, looking a lot like a human dozing off watching TV. Yes, he snores.

Monk is fitting in very well, other than waking us both up throughout the night being his monkey self. He was just down here a few minutes ago testing out the weather downstairs while Woody was sleeping in the other room. And Woody is getting better about not barking at the cats on the stairs, but Will has not been down lately to notice any improvement.

Goats and pigs are doing well. Chickens are either slowing down their egg production because of the cold, or we are going to find a cache of eggs when the weeds die down.

Good weather is supposed to return for next week (60°s and sunny) but for now it is chilly, rainy, and the woodstove is my friend.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Another goat boy joins us at Lester's Flat

We added Monk, the new kitten boy last week, and Charlie, the goat boy just today. He is an Oberhasli/Alpine cross, from 2 good dairy breeds. You can see the brown and black OB coloring like little Bart, but Charlie looks like he's going grey, with a lot of white hair mixed in. He is young though, born in April just like Rosie and Tony (who we traded him for).

We saw Tony today, all grown up. Almost didn't recognize him because of the black markings on his face. And I didn't notice until we got home that Rosie is getting some black on her face as well. (in the middle, top photo). Tony and Rose were our first kids born here, and Lucille, the all-black goat is their mom.

Charlie will be the sire of our herd...the only intact male. We had to get a buck who was no relation to the others. Usually people keep the bucks separate from the rest, and only put them together for breeding. We will learn as we go whether or not we can leave them all in our one little goat shed. This may be the reason why The Husband claims we need a new barn...

Poor little Rico (last photo) got banded today. You might be able to figure out what that means in this context... So he is not very interested in the new guy, just sunning himself in the grass. So far they are not picking on Charlie like they did with Bart, and the smart boy is hanging out with Lucille, the true leader of our gang.

If all goes well, Charlie will breed Lucille and Rosie in the next few months and we will have more kids next spring.