Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Glorious Fourth

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! I hope your day is filled with explosives, processed meat in tube form, and lots of beer. In short, everything that makes this country great.

God bless America.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thank God SOMEONE Is Professional

One of my many character flaws is impatience. This manifests itself in many ways, but the most appropriate to today's post is my absolute inability to write a real, detailed recipe. That's because I can't be bothered to measure and think out all the steps carefully enough for anyone else to follow along. Good thing I never pursued that degree in secondary education. I think I would not have been a very effective teacher.


Luckily for me, someone else did the work for me for one particular recipe. Someone who is much more patient and thorough than I am. She also takes much better photos. I speak of the mysterious Phoo-D. Luckily for all you lushes out there, Phoo-D decided to make a Slippery Slope. And she actually measured and wrote it all down for you. Plus, she even wrote out directions for how to make mulberry juice. So if you have access to mulberries and want to make a Slippery Slope, you no longer have to rely on my half-assed, vague description of that delightful beverage. You can just go to her site and follow directions.

Let's all say thank you to Phoo-D.

In other alcoholic news*, I have strained the elderflower champagne and bottled it in empty Pelligrino bottles. I took the liberty of having a very small taste before I put it in the bottles. You'll be happy to know that there is no hint of cat piss in its bouquet. In fact, it reminded me of hard lemonade. Which is never a bad thing. It has to sit for another week before it's ready, and then we'll have a tasting party. I'll make sure to report back.

Have a fabulous weekend, duckies!

* Hey! I just realized that it's Friday! And Friday is, of course, Alcohol Appreciation Day on Going Country. I swear I didn't plan on that when I wrote this post. Isn't it funny how things just work out sometimes?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Question for the Ages

Yesterday's responses about cereal got me thinking about milk. Not surprisingly. It occurred to me that people have very strong opinions about milk. For instance, growing up my family always drank 2% milk. Except my mom, who always drank the powdered skim kind. She still does, actually. Then, when A. and I moved in together, he drank 2% for awhile, too, even though he's a whole milk kinda guy. He only drank the 2% because I was the one doing the grocery shopping. Left to his own devices, he always goes for whole milk. Or, even better, heavy cream.

At some point, I gave in and now we just drink whole milk all the time. It's not exactly a hardship, you know? I haven't had 2% milk in awhile, but I suspect it would not be so tasty to me now.

What say you, poppets? Skim, 2%, whole, chocolate? Which milk does your body good?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Cheery Start to the Morning

We don't really eat cold cereal in the winter, because it's, well, cold and so is our house. We eat a lot more oatmeal and eggs and things. But in the summer, cold cereal once again comes into its own at our house. Specifically, Cheerios.

Besides being sugar-free and relatively healthy, as well as the snack of choice for very small children, Cheerios are THE best cereal to eat topped with berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries . . . they're all yummy on Cheerios. The MiL went to the U-Pick a couple of days ago to get strawberries. She was shocked at how few there were--a late frost got them or something--and she came home with only a couple of quarts. Not enough to make jam, but enough for my Cheerios.

And so this morning, I'm eating my Cheerios topped with strawberries. I also add sugar, because I ALWAYS add sugar to berries. I also always add sugar to cereals like Cheerios and Grape-Nuts, thereby negating some of their health benefits and driving A. crazy because he thinks sugar on cereal is an abomination. Good thing he's not here.

Another lovely addition that also compromises the healthfulness of this breakfast is a tiny bit of heavy cream along with the milk. Sadly, we do not have any heavy cream at the moment, so I had to go without that indulgence. Still tastes pretty damn good, though.

What's your favorite cereal, duckies?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's a Random Kinda Day

My brain seems to be scattered and disorganized this morning. (And how, I can hear you asking, is that any different than most mornings? It's not--I just decided to announce it this particular morning.) So instead of a post with a central theme, you get one of the random lists that require little effort on my part, since all I have to do is spew whatever is in my head at the time onto the screen. Isn't this FUN? Say yes.

1) I know that dogs like to "make their beds" by scratching around to fluff things up and make everything more comfy, but why can't our dogs learn that an Oriental rug (which is what all our floors are covered in) does NOT fluff up, no matter how much they scratch? And I thought collies were supposed to be smart.

2) Speaking of Oriental rugs, remember the musical rugs we were playing last year with Duchess's rugs and the rugs they replaced? Yeah, I STILL have one of the old rugs upstairs, waiting to be put down in the north bedroom. Its current position, rolled up in a plastic storage bin, does not so much contribute to the aesthetic appeal of that room. Then again, that's the room with ice on the walls in the winter, so how much aesthetic appeal can it have?

3) One of the reasons the rug isn't down is that we have to paint that room. More painting. For a house that's been continuously occupied by the family for so many years, there seems to be an awful lot of painting and furniture moving to be done. Somehow, I always associate those activities with moving houses. And yet, here we are, three years after we moved here and never planning to move again, hauling furniture up and down stairs with regularity and choosing paint colors.

4) I'm hoping I can get A. to paint the north bedroom. He's a better painter than I am. But he doesn't like painting any better than I do, and he doesn't care about things like cracked walls and peeling paint, so my chances aren't good.

5) I really need him to come home already. He has about two days of chainsaw work to do, plus the mower threw its belt so I can't mow until he comes home to fix it and the sheeps' bathtub water tank needs to be refilled, which requires getting the pump going. Oh, and I, uh, miss his bubbling personality, too. Not just his abilities with machines. OF COURSE.

6) What the hell happened to the address bar in Microsoft Internet Explorer? It disappeared when the MiL was working on the computer more than a month ago, and I cannot figure out how to get it back. I've searched all the icons in the toolbar, I've consulted troubleshooting websites and Microsoft discussion boards, and . . . nothing. I KNOW there's just one little simple thing that will fix this, but I can't find it. Being a moron about technology in such a tech-driven world is a real burden sometimes. It is also extremely irritating.

Okay, I think we'll end at a round half-dozen. Have a super day, duckies!

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's Been a Long Time Since We Rock and Rolled

Actually, it's been a long time since we've had a garden update, which is, of course, exactly the same as rock and rolling. I think Led Zeppelin would agree.

To be specific, it's been almost a month. A whole lotta growing happens in a month. Especially in the last month. The corn didn't wait for July 4 to get knee high. It passed that mark about three weeks ago and is now approaching head high.

A clear case of over-achieving.

The tomatoes have finally stopped sulking and decided to grow. The Stupice wins for the first plant to have a wee tomato in evidence. Several more have appeared on various varieties, and I've started tying some plants to the bamboo support system. I think I'm still at least a few weeks away from The First Ripe Tomato, though. Boo.

Get a move on, there. I'm almost out of salsa.

Behind the tomatoes you can see some of the potatoes. I have hilled the potatoes many, many times already, though never as high as they should be hilled. Most of them have already started blooming. I think we're going to have another big potato harvest this year. Yay french fries!

We ate the first beets last week. Also the first broccoli and Swiss chard. The garlic and shallots are just starting to get tipped with brown, meaning the green part is starting to die. Once that part is all dead, the plants are done and can be harvested. Probably another few weeks before that point, though.

From left to right: broccoli plants, carrots, Swiss chard, Kestral beets, Bull's Blood beets, parsnips, and garlic and shallots. What a lovely family portrait.

We're still eating lettuce. Lots of lettuce. As well as some basil. The jalapeno and bell peppers have the teeniest little beginnings of peppers on them already. The cabbages have already gotten huge and started to crowd each other. They're pushy, those cabbages. No blooms on the squashes, cucumbers, and green beans yet, but all in good time.

I leave you with my best attempt at a full-garden view.

Supermarket produce section, I spit on you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When Chickens Are Chicken

Our chickens are refusing to come out of their coop. Ever since the tree fell on Thursday, they've been hanging around inside, avoiding their little chicken door and eating food that I have to buy at the farm store, instead of all those free bugs in the great outdoors. This has got to stop.

They appear to be afraid of the large, water-filled hole outside their door left by the roots of the tree when it ripped up. It also doesn't help, I suspect, that the big mat of roots itself is hovering over the hole, looming over their chicken door. Although the chickens could technically get around the hole, they do not seem inclined to try. I'm at a loss as to what to do here. I can't fill the hole until the tree is disposed of. That won't happen until A. is home to run his chainsaw. Which is another nine days. Not that I'm counting or anything.

I guess the chickens will just have to remain under voluntary coop arrest until then.