Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let's bust some clay pigeons

Today marked the second time that The Deerslayer has competed in our state's annual trap shooting competition.




So, this meant that we hauled out the luggage (again), packed up, and hit the road for a two hour journey to the state shooting meet.





He did a great job.





So great in fact, that he shot his highest score ever. We are so proud of him and exhausted as all get out.



Sunday, June 28, 2009

Home is where the ...... dirty laundry is...

This past week Secret Agent Man had business to tend to in our nation's capital. Since we are off on summer break, the chiclets and I decided to tag along. We literally had a whirlwind week of museums, sightseeing, and generally squeezing in as much as the city had to offer, in a week's time. I have to confess that my favorite activity of the week was a visit to The Spy Museum. Awesome tour and information about some inner workings of the CIA and FBI. You can read more about them here.







Many of the places we went to had a lesson to teach. When we went to the Vietnam Memorial, there were several items left in memory of specific soldiers. There were coins, name tags, and flowers. The Smithsonian collects these items, and a few years ago they did a display of all the items that had been left at the wall thus far. This sparked a discussion with the Deerslayer about this historic/controversial time for our nation. Although we had a good discussion, the next day he did ask why he had to keep learning stuff since he was on summer vacation. I was so proud.











Abe is still sitting on his chair. Right where I left him many years ago when we left the city.











We did spend a day at the National Zoo. The Pandas are thriving as are many other animals. You can check them out here. Our favorite activity had to be the gigantic outdoor aviary where you could walk among the birds.













We also made a stop at the National Cathedral. I had actually been there before, but it seemed even more spectacular this time around. And, yes I did take this photo from the top floor observatory. You can read more about the National Cathedral here.






As soon as we arrived home late Friday, we hit the ground running with softball and trap shooting practice. Saturday and Sunday were more of the same, with laundry piled sky high at the house. I would like to say I have it all under control, but that would be a fib. However, it is still good to be home.


In the next few days I will be loading more photos of our trip on Flickr. If you are interested in looking at them, scroll down and click the Flickr badge. It will take you to my photostream.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Say hello to Charlie

A few months ago we became the new parents of a Lab Pointer mix named Charlie. He actually belonged to my brother, Doc, and because of work schedule changes, Charlie needed a new home. So, Mr. B kindly drove him to our farm to join our other four dogs who live in dog heaven. Dog heaven would be 25 acres of running in pastures, chasing squirrels, trotting through ponds, tracking in cow manure, and generally being happy.....and a little dirty.




Young Charlie has adapted well and he has found plenty of things to point at.





He especially loves to hang out in the house and enjoy a good game of Monopoly.



Charlie is still just a pup and he has chewed his fair share of items around the house/farm. But, how could you get upset at a face like that?





We love him and our Jack Russell loves him the most. She gets him down out in the yard and nibbles on his ears. He loves it.


He is definitely here to stay.






Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Mr. B and his cousin, circa 1953






Happy Father's Day to my dad, Mr. B.

We love you!


Creatures of the night

Whew....running this Appalachian Wildlife Preserve is some hard work. Between the cows, skunks and turkeys, it's hard to get some decent rest around this place. Throw in some unruly wood bees, spiders, and fighting hummingbirds, and this Farmchick needs a vacation.

A vacation that includes a restful, undisturbed night. With no barking dogs in the middle of the night. When the barking does not subside, I am forced to go outside in my....uhh...nightclothes and take a look around. This also means that I am outside, in sheer and utter darkness, using my "authoritative" voice trying to get a sassy Jack Russell Terrier out of the garage. This also usually means that I give up, go back to bed, and ten minutes later Secret Agent Man is outside in his....nightclothes, making the dog come inside.

A garage that held this lovely creature. Here we find him in the glow of early morning. He looks very demure in this photo, but I know he is one wily, nasty little dude. Complete with germs and drool that hangs in strings from the rafters all the way to the floor of the garage. I love nature.




Not to worry, this creature finally ran off to join his wildlife brethren. The Deerslayer tried to gently persuade him to give up his comfy spot by shooting around him with some BB's. He was not injured, and he was also not giving up this spot.

Secret Agent Man came home later in the day and used his trusty raccoon removal tool to shoo the creature out of the garage. In case you are wondering, it was a garden rake. Yes, the man stood under the raccoon and poked him with a garden rake. I had my camera poised ready to photograph the moment when the raccoon jumped down upon his head. Alas.....this did not happen. (Darn it) The raccoon took off and now all is right with the world.

Until our next debacle.....over and out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Let's take a drive

Not much has been going on here in Smalltownland since school let out for the summer. Rainy, lazy mornings have been the norm, thus far. A few days ago I decided to take a drive out to the southern end of the county. A drive to my favorite garden center, run by a family of sisters. They are the owners of this slanty little barn, beautiful flowers, and some of the fattest chickens known to man.






Lilies are everywhere. Growing carefree on the sides of every country road I drove down.






Sunny creek beds run right through every patch of land.







On my journey storm clouds started moving in for the day.








As I was leaving the garden center I discovered a deer checking me out from the side of the road. She was very patient and let me take a few shots of her, before she scurried away.











Monday, June 15, 2009

Easy summer recipe


I am going to post a recipe for a cake that isn't really a cake at all. The recipe title may say cake, but it is really layers of graham crackers, pudding, and chocolate icing. Your family will love it.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

2 pkgs. instant French vanilla pudding mix
3 cups milk
8 oz. container of cool whip
1 box graham crackers
1 container of chocolate frosting

Line the bottom of a 13x9 inch cake pan with crackers. Mix pudding, milk, and cool whip in a bowl until thick. Alternate crackers and the pudding mix, finishing with a layer of graham crackers. Warm frosting in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or until warm enough to spread easily over crackers. Chill and serve.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Grannie

This picture is of a little girl raised on a farm in Kentucky. A girl whose parents ran a small store and raised many children in a house far out in the country. A girl whose first name is Annis, the Scottish form of Agnes. A girl who had striking blond hair as a child, that changed into jet black, wavy hair as she grew.



This lovely girl is Mr. B's mom and my Grannie. An accomplished seamstress and quilt maker who used to have my mom take my measurements and she would make clothes for me. She used the extra fabric to make my dolls clothes that matched my own. At the time we lived far away on an Air Force Base and you can't even imagine my surprise at opening a box filled with fabulous clothes that fit me perfectly.

She has told me stories about growing up in a house full of children and staying home from school, at times, to help take care of a baby. As a child she, and a few of her siblings, were stricken with Trachoma, an eye disease with the potential to blind. They were sent to a special home to live and receive treatment. She has told me how the boys and girls were separated. Her brother would stay on his side of the field, and she on her side, and he would read the letters from home to her.

In this picture she is sitting on a car with her future husband, my grandpa. As she would say, they were, "sparkin".


Many years ago, while I was living in the Washington D.C. area, she came for a visit. When we went to the WWII exhibit at a Smithsonian Museum, she told me she had to leave. She said it brought back all the memories of her brothers leaving to fight in the war and the hard times at home.



These days Grannie likes to kick back in her home and watch a little Animal Planet. She is not able to quilt and sew like she used to, but many of her creations are with her family. She is still chock full of stories. She and my dad, Mr. B, have a standing telephone conversation time on Saturday mornings. I am told it can get pretty lively.
Love you Gran.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The mothership has landed.

Let us all gaze upon the loveliness of my brand spankin' new heat pump. I think it looks like an alien spaceship. Maybe it's those legs it is sitting on. Now....let's not look at this picture anymore, because it gives me the urgent feeling that I need to sell my kidney on the black market to pay for it.



Instead, let's look at this hot mess. This was created when the two nice workmen said, "Can you empty that closet so we can use that attic access?" Holy mother of pearl, what a mess. Said closet resides in my spare bedroom and everything that gets put into it is "stuff" that I generally don't want to have to deal with at that moment.

The picture doesn't even show the half of it and I can't believe that I am showing it to the world.





On the upside, we found so many things that we had forgotten about. Long lost pictures, toys, purses, and a plethora of plastic dinosaurs.

Toots decided that they needed to be sorted into piles, according to size.






She even found a pair of jockey goggles that she purchased at Churchill Downs.




You never know when you are going to need a good pair of jockey goggles people, you just never know.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Score!

Finally, school is out for summer here in Smalltownland. But, wait.....that doesn't mean sleeping late and goofing off, yet. The Toots signed up for a week long soccer camp being held in a town that was an hour away. Yes really, an hour away. When I say we are a small town out in the middle of nowhere....I really mean it.




But, it was really worth it. She learned a lot, made new friends and even shed a tear when the week was over. She even won the coaches award, in her age group.





One of her coaches played professional soccer, back in his day, and the other two were college coaches.




And, yes they were from Chile and were totally "easy on the eyes". That made getting up early and driving an hour much easier on my brain.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bicuits


Biscuit - n. a soft bread in small cakes
Biscuits are a staple here in the south and there are so many ways to make them. Let's see....Beat Biscuits, Buttermilk Biscuits, Cream of Tartar Biscuits, and Baking Soda Biscuits....just to name a few. Becky, from the Twisted Fence Post, and I were having an e-mail discussion about biscuit making. She did a wonderful post on making her Buttermilk Biscuits, but I had to tell her that I really prefer a Whipping Cream Biscuit. They only take two ingredients and when I bake them on a baking stone, I always have perfect results....even if I leave them in the oven for just a bit too long.
Here you go:
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
Mix ingredients gently. The dough will be wet/sticky and add just enough extra flour to make the dough workable. Turn out onto floured surface and pat out into desired thickness. Typically 1/2 inch thickness for me. Cut out biscuits and place them on baking stone. Bake at 450 degrees for "about" 10-12 minutes.
Yes, I am one of those cooks who do not always use precise measurements and/or times. If you like your biscuits really brown just leave them in until they are to your liking. I usually use White Lily self-rising flour, but Becky did encourage me to try some Hudson Cream Flour.
Make sure you have some preserves and butter on hand. My grandpa taught me to pour out a dab of Bob White Fancy Table Syrup onto the plate and mix it with a little cut of butter. Put this on your biscuit and you won't be sorry.