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Monday, November 17, 2014

It can't be...

Two days in a row? Why yes, it is. Because I wanted to share last nights deliciousness with you all! It was that good. I was going to right it in my book, then thought that this was a better place because I could share it with everyone and they could have a little fall explosion in their mouths (that didn't sound so dirty in my head).

Are you read? Porch chops with cinnamon apples.

3-4 lean pork chops
Sea salt, Rosemary, and sage to taste and a splash of toasted sesame seed oil
Around lunch time rinse meat, combine spices and oil and rub the chops with it. Place back in the fridge.

Heat oven and a casserole dish to 200 degrees.

Peel, core, and slice thin two large tart fall apples.
Mix with three heaping tablespoon brown sugar, a couple heaping teaspoons of cinnamon and teaspoon of nutmeg. Let sit while you start the chops.

In a skillet, melt one tablespoon butter or your oil of choice over medium heat. Before it smokes, add pork chops and cover. Turn down to med low and let cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn to other side and repeat. Remove from flame, and place in the warmed casserole dish and cover.

In same skillet, heat two more tablespoons of butter or oil and dump in your apple and spice mixture. Cook over medium low heat until apples are tender, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and serve up pork chops with apples and gooey sauce spooned over the top.

I got the idea for this perusing several recipes yesterday and this version was what I figured out to do for dinner. It was wonderful and I knew I needed to keep this recipe for later usage. Don't you hate when you are trying to find something simple and the recipes are so over the top or talk about tools only professional cooks have? That is what caused me to make up my own version with ingredients I had on hand and no tools most people have. You need a covered skillet, a casserole dish, or even a Pyrex with aluminum foil to cover it, a couple knives and a spatula. Bam! Oh, and I was in a rush with the apples and just used my potato peeler to skin them. As long as the apple is crisp still, that works just fine.

If you try it, hope you enjoy. The salt of the rub and the sweetness of the apples are a nice I have to get out in that blustery winter day and go to work.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Let's Chat

Well, it's more of a "I'm going to talk now" kind of thing since there's not really a way to chat as I type up a blog post, but you know what I mean, right? It's been a bit, and I'm sorry for that. Why has it been a bit? Well, Last weekend was the midwest Men's knitting retreat. No, no I don't have pictures. Sorry, I was having to much fun laughing and carrying on with Matthew and friends to really take pictures. But oh boy, did I have fun...

I did get the three singles for this yarn done and wrapped it all up last Sunday night. It's a 85% BFL, 15% tussah silk blend that still needs it's bath. It was from Greenwood Fibers. It's as lovely as it looks. I also wrapped up a couple sock objects before this week late one night starting another sock project.

It's my last pair for the 2014 12 months, 12 socks challenge. Thank god. I'm sick of socks.

And this morning I wrapped up a cowl project I started at the retreat. This is a lovely fiber that I got from huckleberry fibers as part of a fiber club. The colors were wonderful, it was a joy to spin and now a joy to knit. The pattern was based on something I saw someone wearing and they couldn't give me the pattern name so I made it up as I went. It's not quite what I was going for, butit's a starting point. I have some yarn set aside that I'm going to do version two in. I'll keep you posted.

I had to edit my face out of this one because I realized when looking at the photos I had a big ol'boog hanging from my left nostril. How embarrassing.

But having done all that, it doesn't explain my absence from here. You see, The Guy was gone this week. He went back to Wyoming to visit his ailing mother and that left me working everyday he was gone, most days a 10 hour shift. By the time I got up, fed the monsters, walked the monsters, fed myself, showered, went to work and got back home to restart the feeding and walking, I was feeling kind of mellow. I looked at some blogs, checked on weather, and took my knitting to bed after doing things like eating, the dishes, and vacuuming.

Today though, as the Guy got home last night, was my day to relax. That's what I kept telling myself. It was my day to knit and do a blog post. The first I did. See?

And now the second item on my list is done. They went on their morning walk with the Guy and I got to stay in bed then cuddle them when they got home. Ahhhh. Then I knit, but I kept getting the look as they wanted to go out in the fresh snow. Again...

That's right, we got a good real snow finally. See this? That was last week before Matthew came and crashed at our house before the retreat. It's where we walk the dogs most days. A little half mile loop through the woods and hills. We normally walk it 4 times round. That gives me just over a 2.5 mile walk.

This was it yesterday.

I had a short work day yesterday and was able to get them out while it was still light. They were excited, can you tell? Having light means they have more freedom to run and goof off because I can see them, and hunt up their poops with ease for clean up.

Then The Guy sent me a text to say he was going to get home early. I immediately told the kids. Can you see the repressed excitement? No? Look at the blurry tail. It's wagging furiously as I make him stay so I can get a shot before running to buy dog food. Really, do I have to feed them daily?

This morning it snowed even more. We have three inches of fluff. It's getting a bit wet but the kids are liking it, and Tucker is enjoying the cool for squirrel hunting? See, he's waiting patiently for one of them to come down and play with him.

Sunruse Saturday morning from the bedroom window

Of the blogs that I read this week, Sarah had a little Meme Challenge that of course I had to check out. What's a Meme? Not really sure, but this us what Lord Google says:

  1. an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.
    • a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.

And of course I wanted to see what I would get. These were the top three that came back.

It's like they know me... Except it was some teenager's face that I didn't know what this came from and decided that if it was some form of cyber bullying, I'd pull his face off of it. To "make a cyber joke" of someone being gay struck me as either a dumb teen prank of someone goofing off. Since I didn't know the situation this seemed appropriate.

It think this was my favorite, and I'm not sure what it says about my character that it is. I can so see me mumbling this to myself with evil glee when I do something kind of stupid. You know, like hitting your head on the cupboard that you just left open while searching for your favorite glass. Or how about the other morning when I was listening to a book and thought, "Really, who ever thought the excuse 'I walked into a door' could cover domestic abuse", minutes before walking into a door. Seriously, the Guy wasn't even home when it occurred. It was the downstairs bathroom door and it rubs on the rug in the hallway so it doesn't close properly. I just let the dogs out and it was dark, and I turned around and "Bam!" It was kind of funny and I could see myself saying in a cartoon raccoon voice, "No Mr. Quinton, The Game is on YOU!" as I held the right side of my face and tried not to cry in solitary embarrassment. That crap hurts!

And third to top the list... speaking of faces, that's a great one. You can almost hear the cranks of WTF gears turning in his head.  This last one was a ways down the page, but I still liked it and had to share, because as Taylor says, "The Haters are going to Hate Hate Hate.

Shake it off. That was just for you Jason...

Getting home form walking the dogs the day before our snows started, I found this guy on the door frame. Kind of cold for dragon flies but neat none the less. He didn't move with me opening the screen door or dogs checking him out so I can only imagine he was not far from his winter demise.

So, now that the dogs are walked and relaxing, I have to look at what I need to get dinner on. Pork chops with fall apples and potatoes here we come!

Have a good week everyone. Stay warm and have fun! I'm going to leave you with a video from an artist that ITunes Radio introduced me to last week. Something about her voice just pulls me in.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The lack there of

Not a lot of pictures were taken this week. Mainly, due to the fact that the sun wasn't up when I was doing the morning walks just after 6am, and by the time I got home most of the week, the sun was down and The Guy had already done the evening walk. The one night that I had gotten home and the sun was up, I sen t them out for a walk while I made dinner (pesto and mozzarella stuffed chicken breasts, yum!). However, I did snap this crappy photo out the kitchen wind that night.

Obviously I didn't take a close look at it because the little icon on my phone looked good. Today when I pulled it up, I realized the lens had focused on the window screen. Oops... Sorry. But you can still see the oaks glowing in  the sunset. Fridays rain, snow and wind have taken many of those leaves down.

But, back to my week. This week was crazy! I put in a lot of hours, and my one day off was supposed to have just some computer training for 3-4 hours on it, jumped up to several hours due to a slow computer. Ugh, so I was ready for yesterdays short 10a-2p shift and some time home. While the Guy finished up the re-running of the sump pun and water softener drainage, I cleaned up the massive amounts of dead beetles in the garage (I think having a ready protein source like that in the garage was adding to the mouse problem), and running the John Deere over the leaves in the front yard. Yeah yeah, mulching is easier and eco friendly. Then we took the kiddos for a good walk before dinner.

Emmitt was the only one who would cooperate for a picture. When I tried to get Sullivan's attention, he turned his back and walked off trail. Opinionated dogs are such pains... Almost all the leaves are down where we have been walking them. Can't wait to see how it looks in the snow here, and possibly get to ski with the boys! That would be great fun for sure. And I'm sure this park will be just as beautiful as the Provin trails as spring starts to green up the woods again.

Emmit however is starting to get old, and just as stubborn as his sister was in her maturity. He is 9 after all in just a few days. He really didn't want to give up the good chair last night when we were watching Brave (Silence! It's a great animated flick, and I felt compelled to continue the Scottish theme that Prairie Home Companion left us with). And as you can see, The Guy let him get away with these antics...

Can you say push over?

Anyway, speaking of dogs and the like, I have been thinking hard, and harder every time a mouse is found inside, of getting a cat. But today I was thinking, maybe a small dog instead? Those little terrors, I mean terriers, were bred for rat and mouse killing after all... And we're not allergic to dogs, which let me tell you, I've enjoyed not living on Zyteck 356 days of the year since moving here. It's a thought, I'll keep you posted. I'm no more a small dog fan than I am of the thought of a cat. Either way, there's no guarantee that either will be a good mouse since Shiela was a selfish one and never shared the secret and the joy of  the mouse hunt with her boys because that meant she would have had to share the kill...

And, it's dog bath weekend, so I better get cleaned up and moving. Hope you all enjoy your extra hour of sleep like I did.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Battle Wages On

Damn mice. The good thing is, we believe we found where the little boogers are coming into the house from, and we've stymied the flow, but the garage... The Garage! The other day I came home in the dark and upon opening the door I saw a couple scamper away. So, I bought some more traps and laid them out Saturday night. That morning, both traps were full. So, I baited and reset them yesterday and as expected, the daylight hours left them empty. So, I made the plan to check in on them before bed.

About 9, I went out and found them both tripped with little furry corpses caught in them. I rest and went back into keep knitting on my socks before checking one more time an hour later before bed. You guessed it, full again. So I emptied, reset and went to bed and before falling asleep I though I heard the death knell for another mouse. Early this morning after the boys were fed and since I was awake, I wondered back out and found them both full. Since it was a couple hours until dawn, I reset them and tried to get some more sleep. Sleep eluded me, but two more mice did not. That's right. 8 mice, in less than 24 hours. So, the traps are set and ready to go for another night, I plan on getting a few more traps and catch them in the garage before they make their way into the house. The Guy found a spot in the garage that has some sunflower seeds stashed which concerns me that we have a bigger resident than a mouse so I'm going to pick up a bit larger trap in case we have a squirrel or chipmunk also nesting in there.

In case you are in need, the Victor Power Kill traps seem to be a great choice. All but one of their catches thus far seem to be instant. That's a must for me. I don't mind killing mice, but having them starve or panic and suffer heart failure on a glue trap just doesn't sit well with me. And poison, though not as bad as a glue traps seems nasty, and there's that issue of having other animals possibly accidentally poisoned that worries me.

Enough of that. Lets talk pictures. I finally figured out one of the reasons I seem to be having a hard time blogging, besides being busy with the house and other projects. The lack of a camera. The only pictures I have had lately have been off my phone and I don't take as many with it as with a camera due to it just not being the best photo option, though it's better than the crap little camera I bought. However; this last week, I have snapped a few. A few so much that I had to decide which ones I would include. And that was a trial because with the fall colors here, it's hard to take a bad one! Just look at that tree in our back yard! It was so beautiful that it even lit up our bathroom onothe second floor with its reflected glory.

But, as it's fall, we've had our autumn work cut out for us. Last weekend I cropped the garden and ran the burn pit as the floor installers worked. I held onto my flannel I was wearing as I burned just for the smell. One of the best parts of camping is the infusion of wood smoke to the wardrobe. At least I always felt so.

While I was working on the garden I found many a multi-legged friends. And some with no legs at all. Mostly slugs and snails on that count, but did startle up the rat snake who quickly retreat across the grass to the edge of the yard.

This was one of the biggest grasshoppers I have seen. Since it was a cool day, like the snake it was a bit sluggish.

We also have more and more of the fuzzy caterpillars. And not just the monarchs.

This one was my favorite. Makes me think of the tufted rock hopper penguins. And do you see the other little visitors in that picture? The red ones with black spots that everyone swears when I speak of them, are the invasive Japanese Beetles? Which, by the way, they are not. To see what a Japanese beetle is, see here. These are another species that we brought over from the far east, as they are an Asian Lady Beetle. They just like our native lady beetles, they consume aphids and other garden and plant pests so can be beneficial. As long as they aren't congregating in huge numbers trying to find places to winter over they aren't that different in appearance. Congregating you ask? Oh yes...

Sorry, its a bit of a crap video from the phone, but you get the idea. All the things you see go by in the  air are them too. Thousands, and all sides of the house. The little beasts get under the window screens and around doors to boot. They stalin the walls and floors and as they die in the cold evenings in huge numbers, there's a smell to them. I'm looking forward to a really good freeze so they dissipate a bit as I'm tired of no less than five of them coming in with us or the dogs every time a door opens.

It's just a reminder that all seasons have their time and reason.

The boys have been enjoying the park we've found nearby. The trails are light on traffic and they get to run and blow off some steam as you see here as they run up and down the trail just because they can.

It's nice to have another spot to walk them that isn't over run with rabbits as they caught one in the yard the other day and now have rabbit fever as bad as squirrel fever. Little buggers. We never saw or heard it happen, The Guy happened to find it as he was investigating what had their attention. Looks like it tried to go back out around the gate it got into the back yard through, but wasn't fast enough.

Every once in awhile, dogs have to remind us that they are domestic descendants of one of the most successful predator species on the planet.

The other benefit of the park is a great place to just enjoy the woods and the color of the season. I couldn't resist snapping this one as the afternoon light illuminated some of the leaves. And these next ones are just for you Betsy.

I found many these tiny delicate mushrooms in the garden.

And these heftier ones at the park.

And then there's these.

That's right, all that white and tan is a collection shelves and shingles of a fungi colony that I knew you would appreciate a closer peek of Betsy. For those who don't flow Betsy's blog, she's a mushroom fan. Take a peek, she's good with a camera.

For all those who have sent me messages and what not regarding Wyoming's decision to legalize a more equal opportunity to marriage (why call it gay marriage? If it's equal in rights shouldn't it just all be called marriage?), of course I'm happy for it. It's a wonderful step forward for a fairly conservative republican state. However, as many of you know, I tend to stay away from politics and religion here on my blog. This is a choice I as the writer of this blog because this is a spot to just keep people up to date on my life, not my political views. I am not someone who considers themselves politically active. I'm interested in it, I try to make informed voting decisions, but we live in a nation where it's a private ballot. I agree with the fact that it should be a private ballot and don't think that everyone who knows me should know what decisions I make on said ballot. Therefore I make the choice to not discuss that here. I leave the political shouting, rejoicing, and heckling to those who feel that they are somehow an expert on the facts and that their voice should be out there because somehow their decisions and thoughts weigh more than the rest of ours and we should weigh them with our own at the ballot.

Look at that Bobotie. How's that for a subject change? Just roll with it. What's Bobotie? It's a delicious south african curry dish.

Chop a large onion and garlic to taste and cook in a large casserole dish until translucent. Add 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder and a teaspoon turmeric admix in. Cook just long enough that the fragrance blooms. Remove from heat, mix in 2 pounds ground meat (I used a half and half of lamb and ground sirloin, but you can use whatever. The robust spicing of the curry compliments the fast of lamb or wild meats. I've used elk in this dish before to great success) Add in a quarter cup chopped almonds, half cup bread crumbs, the grated rind and juice of one lemon, 1/3 cup chopped apricots, 1/4 cup golden raisins, one large green apple peeled, cored and chopped, 4 bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. and optional crushed red pepper for a bit of spice. With it all mixed well press down evenly in the dish, cover and bake at 350 degrees for an hour and 15 to an hour and 30 minutes to assure the meat is cooked though well.

Take out of the oven and drain off any excess grease. Increase oven heat to 400 degrees. Beat 4 eggs with a cup of milk and a dash of chili powder and top off the dish with the mixture. Return to the oven uncovered. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the egg topping is baked firm and browning. You can throw some cheese one it if you want, but it's not necessary.

Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy! Tucker says to have a good day too... He's like that, always needs the last word. I better go and sweep up all those dead beetles, again.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Putting it all back together

Since we didn't move to Honolulu (I think I recall there being a Hawaii position open when The Guy was given the list), and we weren't in the path of Hurricane Ana, what are we putting it back together from?

Remember these floors?

Pretty huh?

Though not attractive to look at or even walk on barefoot, the subfloors smelled so much better than the dog urine soaked carpets that were in the house when we moved in. As the summer heated up, the stench got worse until we had to yank them. It may have been our imaginations, but it seemed the upstairs hallways sub floor was even still damp beneath the carpets.

So, we sprayed them down with Lysol to kill germs, and Natures Miracle to help kill the odor and let them be. Until this last week...

Now, isn't that a bit prettier? Ignore the trim in our bedroom, it still needs painted.

I have to say, it was worth waiting, and stressing out the dogs as we shuffled things from upstairs to other places and made them wonder if we were moving again. Sullivan has his bed back!

And someday I may even get to use the loom in the loom room. Someday...

And there's new doors too! We're slowly classing up this joint I tell ya...

Okay, I need to go scrub the tile floors before going to work for a bit. Have a good day everyone.