Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good Guys!
Since it's impossible to reach our compost bin because of the snow, we throw scraps out to the crows every day. These guys do a great job of cleaning up anything we toss to them. They are the best scavengers and show up twice a day to see if there's anything on the "buffet". It's getting so I can call them and they come flying in.

They're also great "watch dogs". They make a huge ruckus whenever they spy the fox in the yard.

Our steep driveway, fondly referred to as "The Luge" has been particularly slippery this year with all the snow so we've had to have it sanded several times already. It's now looking pretty bad. It's difficult to tell from the photo, but those side walls are about three feet high!

The really ugly part of the door yard right now is the nearly 7 foot high wall of nasty, dirty snow plowed up against the front of the house.

As cold as it has been, I imagine we will still be seeing this pile in June!

On the positive side, the garden has had plenty of insulation this year and the spring and summer show of flowers should be spectacular!

Life is good

Hugs, Giddy

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Nuff Said!

That is NOT a smile on my face, it's a grimace! Last night, we had another 12+ inches of heavy, wet snow. We lost power last night and the generator is sucking propane out of the tank at an alarming rate. The wind is picking up and I fear we will be losing more trees as many of them are bent to the ground from the weight of the snow.

We looked out the door this morning only to see the truck was covered and we had very little room to maneuver the plow in the dooryard. Fortunately, we have a wonderful neighbor who came over with his John Deere snow blower and helped us out.

Yesterday, knowing the storm was coming, we headed in to town to stock up on a few supplies. On our way back home, we passed a local fisherman who was selling Maine shrimp on the side of the road. The price was too good to pass up - .75 cents a pound. Wow! we thought. What a bargain and promptly purchased ten pounds.

Oh, but little did we know how much work we were in for. Maine shrimp are tiny compared to Gulf shrimp.

By the time we boiled, beheaded and peeled all ten pounds, we ended up with about 4 pints of a pound apiece. I'm not sure the juice was worth the squeeze, but they are pretty tasty with a bit of cocktail sauce.

Another project was making my own curry powder. I purchased the seeds and other spices online from Penzey's spices. We have been ordering our herbs and spices from them for years and have found the quality to be fresher and far above what one can buy in the grocery stores.

First I toasted the seeds in a large skillet......

fennel, poppy, black pepper corns, cardamom, brown mustard, cumin, coriander and chili seeds were toasted until fragrant but not burned. After they cooled, I added ground cinnamon, fenugreek, turmeric and ginger and then ground it all together in my old coffee grinder turned spice grinder.

The aroma in the house was incredible and the veggies vindaloo I prepared for lunch was delectable.

When there's 90 inches of snow on the ground outside, our home inside is always warm, aromatic and delicious! However, I think H and I are definitely contemplating becoming snowbirds next winter and heading south to be with our kids and grandkids.

Life is sooooooo good.

Hugs, Giddy

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Plethora of Pizza

Last weekend, a friend and I made pizzas for the folks at the Franklin Veteran's Club. We, of course, used "the recipe" from the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" cookbook for the dough. We both made huge double batches and we only used the Olive Oil dough which Heidi made.

So, here I was with a humongous batch of dough. What to do? Well, according to H, the only reasonable thing was to make more pizzas and put them in the freezer for future consumption. Thus, the title of this blog - A Plethora of Pizza!

We ate one and are looking forward to the rest one of these days. YUM! Oh, and I did make one boule too.

Most days, when the cats get into romper room mode, I don't have the camera handy. The other day, I was sitting at the computer, downloading photos and I happened to catch sight of Sluggo out of the corner of my eye. I could tell by the look on his face that he was in a feisty mood.

Spike was sitting on the island minding his own business, watching the birds and squirrels on the deck. Sluggo had stealthily leaped up on the stool........

Sluggo, sneaked quietly up, surprising Spike.

I got this shot off just before Sluggo, the Thug, pounced on Spike and the romp ensued. Notice Sluggo's ears pinned back and the hair standing up on his back!

The resulting chase was too funny to watch. They ran chasing each other from room to room. One minute Sluggo would be the chaser and the next would be Spike in hot pursuit of Sluggo. Whew, that was a lot of energy being expended.

Today, we were expecting (according to the TV weatherman), 3 to 6 inches of snow. H and I got up early and began plowing/shoveling around 9 am as there was already about 5-6 inches on the ground. It is now 1:30 pm and as far as I can tell, there is another 2-3 inches on top of what we had already and it's still coming down. So much for AccuWeather!

This brave squirrel was hanging on desperately despite the wind whipping him about.

The trees are beautiful cloaked in white, even though I've really had just about enough of the montone color.

I guess the grill will have to be idle for another few weeks! Oh well, there's always PIZZA!!

Life is Good,

Hugs, Giddy

Monday, February 16, 2009

Late Winter Doldrums

My Muse has once again flown the coop! Like me, she is tired of the dirty snow, the ice that has built up in the door yard and the wind which keeps blowing the cold arctic air in our direction.

It wouldn't be so bad if we could get out to hike in the fresh air, but with over 2 feet of snow still on the ground, that's not possible. Yesterday, in desperation, I walked up and down our long, steep driveway 6 times just so I could get fresh air and exercise. At least that was over a mile.

On a bright note, I did notice the pussy willow was beginning to bloom!

I have not been idle on these long winter days and nights. So far, I have finished knitting numerous market bags, dishcloths, socks and, TA DA!, the sweater is finished!

And here is my latest pair of socks.

The winter sunsets continue to amaze us with their beautiful colors.......

These Mourning Doves are regular visitors to the deck buffet.

And through it all, the cats do what cats do best!

Life is Good

Hugs, Giddy

Monday, February 09, 2009

And on it Drags!

Winter, that is. We had one glorious day yesterday. The temperature got all the way up to 47 degrees and the sound of melting snow was music to the ears! For the first time in weeks, we went outside without jackets on and soaked up the warm sunshine and natural vitamin D.

Unfortunately, this respite from freezing temperatures was all too brief, and today, we are back in the deep freeze. H and I have been pretty good about maintaining a good exercise schedule, and since it's too cold and icy to walk outside, we spend 30 minutes most days on the exercise bike or the nordic track and several days a week doing our yoga. We miss the fresh air though, that comes with a brisk walk outside.

The day before yesterday, we had sea smoke on the bay.....

and yesterday, we had record breaking warm temperatures. The sky had an eerie glow and looked for all the world like we might expect a thunderstorm!

Sluggo hunkers down in his basket for several naps a day....

I'm almost finished with my cardigan. I just have to sew on the band with button holes and then sew on buttons. I tried to get an updated picture of my project, but it seemed that Spike thought I was knitting it for his comfort!

In our attempt to keep from putting on those "winter" pounds, H and I try to eat healthfully. Our meal of spinach stuffed meatloaf, steamed veggies and a baked sweet potato really hit the spot the other day.

Another one of our favorites is one we had frequently while stationed in the Azores - Caldo Verde, which is just a soup of kale, onions, garlic, potatoes, and andouille sausage. Just the thing for a cold winter's day.

I was rummaging through my photos this morning and found this one of a visit with my eldest son in Florida. Gee, a day at the beach sounds pretty good right about now!

Life is Good,

Hugs, Giddy