Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Embracing My Inner White Trash

Why yes. That is a 'see ment' goose. Yes.....that is an inflatable ring and a beach towel. You might be a redneck if you have one of these! Now, please, people, I wouldn't do anything as tacky as dress it as Uncle Sam or anything. Relax already.

The mothership has landed. Please help me make peace with this huge blue plastic thing in my yard. My yard is all loveliness and tranquility, and then your eye hits this, and well.....I'm REALLY having a hard time coming to terms with it. Can I do anything to make it a little more subdued? Maybe not have a goose with a fluorescent beach towel next to it??

Every day I'm getting a little more and more used to it. When we first put it up, I went in and typed an ad on Craig's List to sell it. Then we thought it would sell better if it were filled, and then we filled it, and then we swam in it, and we were all like, 'oh man' this feels good, and now I can't seem to stop this run-on sentence, much in the way that I can't decide about this dadgum pool. Maybe it can just stay this year. Next year I'll build a fabulous brick oven in it's place. Ya, that's what I'll do.

It doesn't look TOO bad nestled in the garden does it? Oh Lord. It does. It's just...so....blue.

It gets better. After going to the local garden walk this weekend, and seeing this adorable clothesline, I realized I must have one. NOW. The problem was that laundry day is Monday, and well, I didn't have the time to cement a clothesline in the ground, paint it and plant a Clematis around it, so I tied me up a line between two trees ya'll! I shore nuff did. Worked wonders. I'm determined not to ever use my dryer again, so help me God. Unless, like I spill something on my work pants and I'm on the way out the door, and there are no clean pants, and then I like HAVE to. Take that Obama and your Cap and Trade Bill! Who needs that new fangled E lek tricity? Not this farmgirl! The pool, the goose, the tree clothesline, the fact that I put up my chickens at night in my gingham cotton nightgown. Does this make me a bonafide redneck?

Loveliness abounded at the Lowell Garden Walk. A few times I didn't even think I was in Indiana anymore. The yards were so lovely. I whined alot. Imagine me whining....'ohhh mann....I want a little herb garden like that.....I want that little wood trellis around my window....I want a little nook with a swing....ohhhh mannnn....not fair.

I always tease that I'm going to walk around with a bottle of 'water' laced with Round-up. When I see things that are just too perfect, I will 'accidentally' spill a little. It's not fair! If I can't have it, neither can they!

This blue chair was one of my favorite vignettes. I've wanted one of these old chairs for a long time now. I would paint mine blue too. I would so totally match the pool.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Freaky Friday

It was just a weird day. A weird week really. Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and now the Oxyclean man. Friday morning a family of five were killed at the interstate exit closest to my house. They were on their way to Florida for a vacation. They were about 10 minutes from home, and they were all killed instantly. A little two year old girl that had been missing a few towns over was found. It wasn't good. I was traumatized at the gynecologist. I'll spare you the sordid details, but I did wake up having nightmares that night about it all. I cried so hard in the office and couldn't even go to work that day! Ok ok...I'll give you the details. I know ya'll are used to every gruesome detail, with photos on this blog. There will be no photos of this!! I needed an endometrial biopsy, and went for it. I'd had this before, it wasn't too big of a deal. This time, it WAS a big deal. She couldn't get in my uterus. Ok..that's enough of that.

The bright spot in my day. Jesse and Rhonda. They came over for a long overdue dinner. We'd scheduled a couple of dinners, but always had to cancel. One winter night, I had the food all made and ready, and they had to cancel due to inclement weather. You guys REALLY missed a good meal that night!

It was a really laid back dinner. I'm finally getting better about having company without turning into a lunatic. I made the crust.....

Jesse peeled the garlic....lots and lots of garlic......

Scratch and sniff......

Glenco picked the strawberries for the salad.....

And I let my meal get cold trying to get a picture without using a flash. I gave up and used the flash, so now it looks not so good....

Are you wondering what Rhonda did? The dishes of course! Thanks girl.

Ohhhh...but it WAS good. It was a BBQ Chicken Pizza with Garlic and Cilantro. You won't believe how easy it is to make. Start with your favorite pizza crust, be it Boboli, or homemade. Brush on some BBQ sauce. NOT a lot. Just a thin coat. Sprinkle liberally with chopped fresh cilantro. In a pan, put a little olive oil and 10 cloves of garlic. Saute them til the garlic is a bit tender, not browned. Add to that about 2 or 3 chicken breasts, chopped up in little pieces, and cook until the chicken is ALMOST done. Sprinkle the chicken and garlic on the prepared crusts. Top with as much shredded mozzarella as you desire. Bake until golden brown. Yum-o.

We laughed alot that night. We talked alot about raising kids, and our families. It was a good ending to a weird week. I can't shake that little girl being found the way she was. I can't shake the thought of a family of five, on the way to Florida killed in an instant. I can't. It makes no sense. Life is so fleeting and frail It's time like this when the garden is my refuge. When friends my fortress. Laughter healed my soul that night (and my uterus). I'm so blessed, so thankful. God help us to realize that each day here could be our last. Look up, look around. Breathe.

Oh look, the daises bloomed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Blogging Bottleneck....

That is what I'm having. A bottleneck of blogging. It's not that I can't think of anything to write, it's that I'm thinking of TOO many things!!! Cooking, crafting, gardening, chickens, goofy things...I don't know where to stop or start.

I interrupt this blog to thank you readers that are here, and sticking with me while I learn how to do this. I'm not really a blogger, I just play one on the Internet.

I've never even introduced you to the new girls on the block. While Helen was recuperating, Anne (who has since been renamed to Fifi LaFew, because she seemed like a nervous French woman while she was alone....seriously, I imagined her in a beret, chain smoking and drinking strong coffee)...so Fifi, formerly known as Anne, needed company. I figured she was lonely. Chickens don't like to be alone. Soooooo....I got six more babies! Oh yes I did. Two Buff Orpingtons, two Black Australorps and two Rhode Island Reds. I'm in heaven. I've named one Mrs. Puffington, the others are still waiting on names. Wait...a moment of silence for our fallen fowl. Thankyouverymuch.

I never got to fully tell you about all my yard sale treasures. Those bowls? Oh yes. They are pink. And they are Pyrex. I got the set for $1.50. Don't hate, don't hate. I managed to get pictures of everything I bought that day, but did I post them? Of course not! The deal of the day that got away.....bless her heart, this lady kept me talking at her garage sale about her dead Chihuahua . I tried to be polite and look around even though there was nothing there to see. I have no idea why it MORTIFIES me to be perceived as rude. Where did that behavior come from? So I listened to her for a while talk about her little dog that was born half dead, and only managed to live for a couple of years all the while on shots and iv's or something. I'm sorry that I kept thinking "Lady, I'm sorry, but....there are deals to be had!'. Just keepin' it real here. Don't you know that the VERY next yard sale I get to, I witness a young man buying a TABLE FULL of antique cameras for $20. These are the cool cameras that Pottery Barn uses for decor. I can't even think about it now.....arrrgghhh.

I delivered the Strawberry Jam to the winner last night! Shorty was the winner and he was one happy camper. Of course I made him eat some right then and there for me. This is magical jam. It changed Shorty's life. He wins the jam, next day he gets a job. He was IN a jam, then WON some jam.....get it?

I guess I'll just spill the beans about Project D365NR. It stands for Dinner 365 days, No Repeats. We've been going for a week now. I'll be happy just to pass my four month record. There is no reason we can't make it this time! I'm determined! This was an Italian Potpie that I made. It was 'good'. Not type out the recipe blog worthy good. I'll let you know about those.
The family will be happy when I can get a better camera, and get good pictures right away so they can eat their food warm.

I had company stop by the Squirrel last week for a visit. This is the lovely Lisa. Love that girl. Haven't seen her in almost a year, and she up and tells me she's moving to Texas. She came by for some wine and long overdue conversation. She's talking to Donna on the other side of the Cramper, oh, about four feet away.....Don, I didn't post your pic, cause it wasn't too good of you. Oh ya, I got yer back baby.

This is a new little super cute girl I met this week. Her name is Dana and she works at Gardens on the Prairie in Lowell. I put her name on my Direct Deposit at work. All of my money will now go directly to her. She is helping me design my dream garden. I'll be blogging all the before and afters. I can't wait to see what we make together.

Sunday, we drove to the town of North Judson, Indiana. I publicly apologize to this town, because I've been badmouthing it since. But look, it does have a large ice cream cone sculpture, so it can't be all bad.

We took a ride on the historic Engine #765 for two hours through the countryside of Indiana. It pretty much looked like our backyard. It was fun though. I never realized what a lonesome sad sound those train whistles had when you are ON the train. I just imagined what it would have been like, years ago, on that train, leaving a loved one, sad, burning up, dressed in long black taffeta clothing. Good Lord it was stifling on that train. How DID the women do it back then??

Here's the keeper of the Coop Keeper. Glenco. :-)

I liked this old door for some reason.

Ye Olde Coop Keeper looking out the window. What is up with my hairdo?? This is right before I embarrassed the samhill out of myself on the train. All I can say is 'thankyoujesus' for open windows. I'd had a protein drink for breakfast. If you've not had one, you don't know about the gastric distress they can cause. Suffice it to say I probably could have powered the train. JUST before we got to the final destination, I just couldn't....I tried...I so couldn't...I was turning blue, and green....and well.....I waited until the whistle blew.............it was HORRID. I never put my head up again. No eye contact....let me off this train...................

What's that Helen? I shouldn't be telling such things on the Internet? I should go to bed now? Ohhhh...ok.

Night night.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Why do I feel it necessary to apologize for not being here!? Oy. Life has been a bit busier than normal lately, and Friday and Saturday I was down with a bit of the stomach flu.

LOTS has gone on this week, and there is a lot to tell, but it's bedtime dear readers and I have to get in it.

I promise to tell you how to make the wonderful strawberry chicken salad that is pictured above.

I promise to tell you and show you all the wonderful yard sale things I've found this weekend, and about the deal that got away, all because of a dead Chihuahua.

I promise to tell you all about Project D365NR. This picture is just a tease of it:

I promise to tell you how I completely embarrassed myself twice this week to the point of wanting a paper bag over my head.

I promise to tell you how I've cancelled my trash service and why.

I promise to tell you about my old steam locomotive ride today and show you pictures.

My head is so full of stuff right now I fear it will explode, or worse, implode. Why is imploding worse? I don't know. It just sounds worse.

Even though this looks like a baked cow pile with almonds on it, it was actually quite tasty. Aaron took one bite and closed his eyes and said 'Marmie, this is your best work ever'.

Strawberry Scones. Just the word scone evoked happiness. Say it. Scone. Scone. Doesn't it make you feel refined and lady like and cozy and happy? Good things come with scones. Happy things. Time with friends. Time spent alone in reflection with a cup of tea and a scone. I can't think of one unhappy thing associated with a scone.

Oh, I promise to tell you why I'm called Marmie, and give you the recipe for the cow pile, er, I mean Strawberry Scone if you want it. Strawberries are coming out of my ears now. Still more to pick.....

I've finished the Sarah Brightman version of "Wicked Coon" if anyone wants to hear it.

Goodnight to all....

PS Mama Hen, Jennifer and Anne, I replied to you on my last post. :-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strawberry Thingie Recipe

Summer in a cup. A great dessert for a backyard bbq. I like these cause you don't need a plate to eat them, you just grab and go, and grab and go, and grab....and grab...

This is what you'll need. Wonton wrappers, cream cheese, strawberries (these are old pics before my strawberries were ripe), cinnamon, brown sugar and honey.

Spread all the wonton wrappers out in a single layer, and brush with melted butter.

Now, I don't measure things on this recipe...I'm sorry. I put about a cup of brown sugar and two teaspoons of cinnamon together, and mixed it good, and then sprinkled it evenly over the wrappers.

Push them down in a cupcake tin like that. (look up :-) Bake them at 350 til they are brown and set. Some will inevitably fall in on themselves. Happens to the best of us.

Whip up your softened cream cheese and enough honey for your taste and spoon it in the cooled shells.

You'll want to fan out your strawberries for dramatic effect! Cut them almost all the way through, but not quite, then smoosh with your fingers.

Put them in the cups, and garnish with a little mint if you have it.


You've just made 'Strawberry Thingies!'

And the Winner is......

The random drawing is final....the winner is....

Comment #2~ Shorty! You are the winner my friend!

Thank you ALL for your lovely comments, and being a part of the drawing. I had so much fun doing this....and there will be more to come. I have alot of ideas floating around in me old brain.

Linda...you don't want to be me, trust me on that one.

Sparky :-)....I'd be more than happy to ship the jam, and would have if you or any of the other non-locals had one it!

Shorty lives in town here, so I'll be stopping over to present him with his jam. Please have the toast ready for a photo shoot.

I am SERIOUSLY working on that 'Strawberry Thingie' post right now, and will post it right after I post this.

I'm also working on a project that I'm calling D365NR. Curious? Not sure if it is possible, but we will try to pull it off.

Thanks again to EVERYONE!

PS The photo above has nothing to do with this post. I just liked it. It's my fresh laundry, and it's Tuesday. See how I do that? Tie things in? Cooooool.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Strawberry Daze Giveaway

It's finally here! Hopefully you aren't disappointed with all the lead up to this! We are knee high in strawberries here at the Coop. I've been giving them to the chickens, the neighbors, and anyone else that wanders in to the yard. I really can't believe how many I'm getting from such a small patch. I've picked about 5 gallons so far, and there are that many more to be picked I bet. I'm starting to smell them as I walk by, which is wonderful, but also a reminder that it's time to pick.

Wouldn't you like to eat a jar of strawberry jam, knowing that your strawberries were raised humanely, and organically? Wouldn't you like to know that they were treated and picked with loving care and processed with joy? I thought you would.

Just look at these jewels. You can eat these.

Cause look what I made. Aren't these jars adorable? They seemed so indulgent. So European.

The ripening strawberries bring a lot of wildlife to the yard. Lookie here.....

Walt Heger drove all the way from Ohio to experience the luscious berries. (Ok, that is a fabrication, he was in town already). You have all met Donna before....Walt is her dad.

My friend Chris came in from Canada.....ok, another fabrication, she just happened to be visiting when the berries were ripe a couple of years ago. Mike, Melissa, Renee and Shorty drove all the way from town to come out and eat a bowl. Seriously...they did...no, I'm not lying!

I worked my fingers to the bone with these berries lately. No blood, sweat or tears got in the bowl though. Am I the only goofball that would wear a WHITE shirt while processing strawberries?

This is where most of the berries went. I managed to save enough to make jam.

If you'd like to win a jar of this jam, please leave a comment! It's that simple. You can just say hi. You can tell me your life story. You can tell me you hate strawberries, or that you are allergic to them. Just say something! I will be doing a random drawing tomorrow night at 10pm CST. If you have trouble leaving a comment, please email me at gardenhoe1962@sbcglobal.net.

I suppose I should have a disclaimer here that states if you choke on this jam, it ain't my fault. If the jar falls on your toe and causes injury, you're on your own. If you break out in hives, go into anaphylactic shock, um, so sorry. If you spill the jam on the floor, which results in a fatal blow to your skull because you slipped....wow...I'm so sorry, but seriously, not my fault. Do us both a favor. Get the jam, and just use it as decoration.