Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Where's the Bear? #75

The bear must be working on some kind of secret project in Dad's woodshop this week.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

And the Green Grass Grows All Around, All Around...

Well, it's happened.  JP had to do the entire 4 hour circuit of mowing for the first time this spring.  I'm sure he's thrilled.

The first project we worked on today, however, was relocating the hens' field.  Being normal chickens, they scratched and pecked until there was not a single living thing, nor bit of greenery growing in their run.

We ordered a second 160 foot electric netting fence, and effectively gave them twice as much space to spread out, all of it covered with grass and dandelions a-plenty, and 2 shade trees to boot.  They seem to be happy with their new space.  We plan to re-seed the old area, so that we can continue to move their run to new green spaces.

I took the push mower down to the garden and hacked down the paths.  We are hoping to get a dump truck load (or two) of chipped wood from the electric company this summer - they will be trimming along the lines in our area, and have promised us at least one load.  I was thinking that this would be the perfect substance to cover the paths between my raised beds.  I would love to no longer have to mow in there!

I also picked the asparagus today.  It was the first real bunch of the year.  With it I tried out this recipe for Asparagus Salad that was in my April/May Cook's Country magazine:

Asparagus Salad with Radishes, Parmesan and Croutons

Serves 4-6


2 T unsalted butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, crusts discarded, cut into 1/2" cubes
salt & pepper

Heat butter and oil in 12" skillet over med heat until butter is melted.  Add bread cubes and 1/8 tsp salt and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brow (7-10 min.) Season with salt & pepper to taste.


2 c fresh mint leaves
1/4 c fresh basil leaves
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 t grated lemon zest
2 t lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil

Process mint, basil, lemon zest & juice, garlic and 3/4 t salt in food processor until finely chopped (20 sec.)  Transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in oil until combined and season with salt & pepper to taste.


2 lbs asparagus
5 radishes, trimmed & sliced thin
2 oz Parmesan cheese shaved with vegetable peeler

Cut asparagus tips from stalks in 3/4" long pieces.  Slice stalks 1/8" thick on the bias .  Add asparagus, radishes and cheese to pesto and toss to combine.  Top with croutons.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Where's the Bear? #74

The bear thought that my Dad's new tractor mail box was a good vantage point!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Where's the Bear? #73

At least SOMEONE is working in the garden recently!

Monday, April 11, 2016

You Put the Lyme in the Coconut & Drink it All Up!

The girls had a 2 hour delay this morning, as the teachers had In-Service meetings.  Unfortunately, they didn't get the chance to sleep in or take it easy at all.  J had an appointment with the Pediatric Rheumatologist regarding her JIA up in the city at 9:30, and I wanted to give us 2 hours to get there as we would be hitting the tail end of rush hour traffic.  L had to catch the bus, which comes here more than 1 1/2 hours before the start of school.

You would have thought that I had masterminded this evil plot to get L on the bus against her will this morning, by the way she was behaving.  I must have heard "It's not FAIR!" at least half a dozen times before I left.  My mother, who was the lucky one who got to actually get her to the bus, told me that L was quite pleasant the entire time she was there this morning, so apparently she had an attitude adjustment after I left!

J and I had an uneventful trip up to Children's Hospital.  Apparently the GPS in the Subaru actually routes you around the worst of the traffic, so we had only about 15 minutes of stop-and-go.  We were listening to "Snap Judgement" podcasts, so it was not an unpleasant ride.

We saw a new Rheumatologist this time, since it has been more than 3 years since we've been there and J has been in remission that whole time.  This Dr. remarked that viral illnesses can cause flares sometimes in kids with JIA.  J has missed 7 days of school since Feb for GI viruses, so I guess that correlates.  She did say that it is a bit unusual to have random joint pain or stiffness that comes and goes with JIA, so if she would have another episode of joint pain/swelling, she would want to get a Lyme titer right away to rule out Lyme Disease.  That was interesting to hear, as her Lyme titer was questionable when she was first diagnosed back in 2010.

J and I stopped briefly at Krispy Kreme for donuts and coffee on our way back to town.  The excuse from Children's stated that she could "return to school/work on 4/12/2016."  She was hopeful for a minute that she could stay home the remainder of the day, and I almost caved as both girls are just about BURNT OUT with school at this point, but I dutifully dropped her off at the Middle School, a mere 1 1/2 hours late for school.

Well, I feel a bit relieved.  It is not a trip that I like to make on a regular basis, and I don't ever want to see J in the continual distress that she was in was she was first diagnosed.  The Dr. says that she has a 40% chance of outgrowing the arthritis eventually.  Perhaps we are already there and I just panicked a bit when I saw her swollen knee.

The house was cold when I returned home.  I have started a fire, and I've been trying to ignore the nagging gastric discomfort that started on the drive to the city.  I guess I should just give up and take some Zantac and try to relax.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Where's the Bear? #72

The bear was kind enough to start a fire in the wood stove for us this morning.  It was chilly, in the 20's outside.

The forecast had been calling for 1-2 inches of snow Thursday night, but I think that has changed.  Now they are calling for a low temperature of 17* Saturday night.

My asparagus and flowering trees have frozen.


April Fools Redux

It took me a long time to get these pictures posted (sorry L!)

L brought home a beautiful cupcake decorating book from the school library last week.  She wanted to make some of the "trick" cupcakes for April Fool's Day.  Since my decorating skills are extremely basic, we decided on the "Popcorn Ball" cupcakes.  Couldn't be too difficult, right?

When we read the directions carefully, we realized that we were supposed to cut 225-250 mini marshmallows into thirds, arrange those pieces in a cloverleaf pattern, then glue 225-250 more mini marshmallows to the tops with frosting.  It took us an hour to make the 60 that we ended up with.

Here's the final result:  not amazing, but they tasted good anyway!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April Fool!

I had a rude awakening this morning.  On my way out to light a fire in the woodstove (because it was only 20-some degrees outside), I was blinded by the sunlight reflecting off of the thick layer of un-forecasted snow covering everything outside, and stepped in a puddle of dog vomit.

Happy Sunday to me!

Saturday was beautiful and warm.  I managed to get the gravel raked up from the chicken yard (again), as well as more gravel raked out of the lawn.  JP took the snow plow off of his lawn tractor, and put the mowing deck back on.  He checked it out by mowing out back  by the veranda.

We were able to get last minute seats for the musical "The Little Mermaid" at the local University on Saturday afternoon, and then went out for dinner with friends.

By the time we were heading home after dinner, it was pouring rain, blustery, and spitting snow.

Sigh.  It seems that April is coming in like a lion as well!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Today is a Gift, That is Why it is Called "The Present"

I had no patients scheduled yesterday, which is unusual as of late.  My day off was a true gift!  I had been getting a bit irritable about not getting things done at home, what with Easter and excessive cooking on Sunday. The girls' last day of Spring Break was on Monday, and we went shopping for fabric for J's Home Ec. project, I also had double Library meetings that evening, for which I had double minutes to type up.  Tuesday, I had a fairly busy work schedule.  Wednesday was chock full of errands.  Plus I've been trying to get out into the garden to do some broad forking whenever I can.

Yesterday I had the chance to finish all those little projects that I hadn't been able to get to all week, as well as pay the bills and walk around, enjoying the spring flowers outside.

It seems like everything is blooming at once!

One hive of bees have been out and about!

Bleeding Hearts

Apricot in orchard
Peach Tree in orchard
Weeping Cherry
Pears along the drive