Jan 2 2012

Christmas Dinner: Roasted Rack of Venison with Red Currant and Cranberry Sauce


Welcome the New Year!  For Christmas dinner with guests, Roger made Martha Stewart’s recipe:  Roast Rack of Venison with Red Currant and Cranberry Sauce.  He added garlic mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts.  It was out of this world delicious, but before you start cooking, it required the elusive Juniper berry in the rub and red current in the sauce, both of which are not easily found in a local grocery store.  Maida and Roger (both planning to cook the same recipe) spent some time in frantic consultation.  He spent three or four days crafting the recipe in his mind, one day on the sauce, and another on the actual assembly.  Total Prep time: 4 days go to.  If we count that he had to shoot the deer first, Total Prep time:  well, it’s a labor of love.

Otherwise, all is well in our humble abode.  We have arrived at 2012 with healthy children, a dynamite grandson, and 16 (and counting) months of happy marriage.  Peso and Blue are thriving, despite Blue’s regular mysterious vomiting.  The only thing lacking is a little (2 – 4” or more, please) snow.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Sep 20 2010

Hyacinth Beans–Crowning the end of the garden


Hyacinth Beans Closeup 9-19It may be September 20, but we’re still bringing in tomatoes and canning sauce.  The zinnias are so heavy they are toppled over.  The purple dahlias are breathtaking, but the hyacinth beans form an amazing arch over it all india levitra.  I read up on these beauties and learned that they are a food crop in other cultures.  For us they are just ornamental, attracting bees and butterflies http://homepage.westmont.edu/make_account/images/pic/photoshop-cs5.html.  Thomas Jefferson planted them at Monticello, and that’s where we bought these beans.  Looking forward to saving some to plant next year. Perhaps we’ll cover the new fence.  Awesome!

Apr 11 2010

iPad for Breakfast


For Sunday breakfast, we were pleased to host our good friend Gini and her new iPad.  She demonstrated all of its various capabilities, and we showed her that Blue’s ability to do a Figure 8.  So we’re about equal in the “amazing” category.IMG_0262

Apr 9 2010

J & Y Shushi


Friday night.  The great debate.  Do we go to the mall and check out the iPad or stay home and eat hard boiled eggs.  Mmmm.  Compromise.  We went to our favorite local restaurant, J & Y Tokyo Market, Inc. on Liberty Road in Sykesville.   At dinner time, the parking lot is full, but many people are getting carryout, so there’s never a long wait.   It’s a plain white cinder block building in front of the beautiful storefront of the Knitter’s Nest.  The food, though, is spectacular.  Every time we eat there, we say, “What did we like last time?”  I’ve got the list:  Dragon Roll, Volcano Roll and Firecracker Roll.  The gyoza is amazing.  In the back of the restaurant, there’s a makeshift market with very unusual items including sushi ingredients, toys and mops.  However, in the frozen food case the pork gyoza comes in a family-sized package–great for parties or guests.

We’ve never ordered without the very cheerful chefs bringing us something extra to try.  Today it was the Green Bay roll.

Suggestion:  Order two rolls at a time until you’re full.  We tend to order all at once and then argue over who is FORCED to eat the last few rolls because we are so full.

Mar 28 2010

Signs of Spring


I finally feel like things are under control a bit in the getting-started-on-the-garden department. I have three flats of seed started in the basement under lights; planted them about two weeks ago, and have germination from a number of the tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and Hollyhocks. This weekend, I planted three more flats and put them in the greenhouse. We’ll see how the two compare. Also planted four types of lettuce in four window box planters in the greenhouse.

I did some cleanup in the garden proper today, pulling up the remaining dead plants, and stirrup-hoeing the raised beds. We have kale, a couple heads of cabbage, a few lettuce plants, and a few stalks of Brussels sprouts that overwintered and are starting to grow. The perennial herbs look to be in good shape, and the fennel may have even over-wintered. I wonder if the snow helped with that? Aside from the snow, it was a pretty mild winter.

And the weeds have started already. I mowed the tall ones down. I have to get the tiller in good working order — it was stalling out on me a lot at the end of the season, which is why the garden didn’t get its Fall tilling — and hope for some dry weather.

Natalie and I, with some help from CJ, have been working like fools on the yard. The annual Easter egg hunt is next Saturday. We’ve been weeding (mostly Natalie), pruning , cleaning, and have spread almost all of seven yards of mulch. It’s been nice that we’ve had such a mild Spring, to help us get a jump start.

I’ve started some perennials, and hope to get some more flowers into these beds by the house this year. Now if the tractor would just get back from the shop this week, I could mow before the big hunt. Well, I’ll mow anyway, but it will be a heck of a lot easier with the tractor!

Stay tuned for the seedling reports…

Nov 25 2009

Rest In Peace, Dear Charlie


March 1996 – November 25, 2009

charlie ft. mchenryThe best dog in the world — ever faithful, constant, loyal, loving, eager to please.  Accomplished dead-squirrel catcher, python-like whole baby rabbit swallower, lap swimmer.  The cute-iful to Trixie’s beautiful.  He was my constant companion for a good 12 of his almost 14 years, there with me every day of Double R Brand and beyond, through countless changes, never bothered by any of them as long as we were together.  He was well-loved and gave back more.  Good to the very end.

We had as good a last day together as we could, given the circumstances.  He rode in the truck with me to Uniontown, with front-seat privileges.  He didn’t complain about going with me, or going to work these past difficult weeks for him, though I know he would rather have stayed quietly at home.

His coat was wet with many tears today, from Luke and Nicole who chose his name as we sat at dinner at Bullock’s in Westminster, our three-month old pound puppy.  From Natalie, who took him in as her own, quickly won his love and devotion, and nursed him at all hours of night and day, never too tired to take care of him even when she was too tired to take care of herself.  And many of my tears, too.  He is missed so much already, and I can’t in this moment imagine life without his cheerful wag and eager smile.

I’m glad that we could all be there together with him at the end.  He waited for Nicole to return for her first visit home since leaving for college.  I was worried about her going through this, but ended up being glad she did.

I had prepared his grave last Sunday, knowing the time was short.  He had a proper funeral procession, including Trixie, and I found the perfect stone to mark his resting place.  This is what we read at his grave, from Walt Whitman:

I think I could turn and live with animals, they’re so placid and self contain’d,

I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,

They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,

They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,

Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,

Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,

Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth.

Farewell, our beloved Welsh-golden-Cocker-Corgi-basset-beagle.  We will miss you deeply, but revel in the sweet memories you leave us.

Thank you to all who loved him so well.  And thank you, God, for sharing him with us.  Please keep him well.

Nov 8 2009

Fashion Fit Formula


Yesterday, Mom and I attended a seminar which included a 40-minute presentation from Kathy McFadden and Janet Wood-Cunliffe about their company, Fashion Fit Formula, Inc.  I was prepared to be unimpressed because these two women believe that it doesn’t matter how tall, short, fat or thin a person is.  Clothing that fits properly is all a matter of math and proportions.  After listening to their pitch and watching several ordinary women transform before our eyes by simple adjustments, we were hooked.

Rather than try to explain all the details, check out their website:  http://www.fashionfitformula.com.  If I were a woman of means, I would arrange to have these women to my house to advise me on my closet.  It makes sense that we should have the clothing in our closets adjusted to fit our proportions better–rather than have closets full of clothes we WISH we could wear.large_whichgroupx520

Oct 18 2009

Tagging Monarch Butterflies


Cleaning in Uniontown today.  The leaves and fall decorations, new carpet and flooring, all conspired to make us want to stay forever.  Sorted through boxes of books and packed up nick nacks. Visited Uniontown neighbors Roland and Barbara Childs.  Barbara is a master gardener and Roger’s long-time friend.  We discussed fishing, hunting, gardening and tagging Monarch Butterflies.  Never heard of that–but I want to learn!

A little research later, learned that Carroll County hosts a Monarch Madness Festival at Bear Branch Nature Center in the last weekend of September.  I missed an opportunity to learn all about the Monarch’s flight to Mexico and to learn how to tag them.  Next year, I will be there!

Ate four delicious figs and returned home to make a cake for Emily’s brithday.

Sep 22 2009

Leo, Sir Septic


Emily texted me early this morning that Leo, our neighbor, was outside with a tape measure.  Shortly after lunch, he called me to tell me that he had found the septic clean-out–just four inches from the enormous hole that we dug yesterday.  Today, we are thankful for our neighbor.  We tease him because he is always offering advice, but today, we are really glad he took care of the problem.

Sep 22 2009

Test Post From YouTube


Trying to get the video posting thing down.  If you can see anything at the link below, it is Natalie and the backhoe operator NOT finding the septic tank clean-out.  :-(

May 10 2009

Pavers and Planting



Roger put down the pavers for the fence line on Saturday.  I’ve been warned that Mother’s Day is really a code word for Planting Day.  Onions and lettuce are tall enough to see from the house.  Can’t finish the fence until we move the peony bush, and it’s just starting to bloom!

Roger checks the weather more often than his email.  Last night, he kept watching the sky for signs of rain and studied the full moon, wind and stars with intensity.  I’m certain now that he was a farmer in a previous life–when he starts tasting the dirt, I’m going to have him checked out. 

After nearly two weeks of gray, this day has dawned sunny and warm. I can’t wait to get started!

Apr 19 2009

Kale is Delicious. . .really!


We ate kale from our greenhouse tonight.  Unlike the leafy greens from the grocery store, this was a vegetable I would eat often.  There’s a great article about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) in the most recent issue of Urbanite Magazine.  Author Tracey Middlekauf begins with the line:  “Serious about eating local?  Better learn to love kale.”  kale


Mar 26 2009

Realities of the First Garden


Yay for the Obamas (or their, a-hem, servants) planting an organic garden at the White House.  An inspiration and example, even for those of us who have to do it ourselves.  This article from Slate offers an interesting perspective on the realities.

Of all the reasons to plant a garden, free food may be the worst. – By Jennifer Reese – Slate Magazine.

Mar 24 2009

The Fig Revealed!



When we uncovered the fig on a semi-warm Sunday morning, the blanket of leaves and plastic wrap had conserved the heat.  The branches were warm, and small buds were forming.  This is our approximation of the Mediterranian climate they love.  Next, we move the fig to Taylor Park!

Mar 24 2009

Uncovering the Fig–Tah Dah!



This is Roger’s fig tree, wrapped for the winter.  It’s a combination of plastic sheeting, leaves and pole supports.  I remember reading Roger’s blog last year about this annual event, and I was pleased to be a part of both the winterizing and the spring revelation.