I had the best time with the kids. Even though the visit was way too short. They came late Tuesday night and left Thursday morning to visit with more of Jason's family.
Cara was fascinated by the kitten, and of course I have way more pictures than I'm sure you want to see, but I'm going to subject you to them anyway.
So, there has been a lot going on in the past month since my last update...
There has been so much that I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of it. Sorry, so irresponsible.
Let's see... Of course as I said before, Jason, Joanna & Cara came to visit. The real reason for them coming this way was to go see my other son Brandon... he and his wife Tina just had a baby boy named Luke Gregory Patterson. That makes me a grandma twice now.
Luke Gregory Patterson
Luke and Brandon Patterson (aka Dad)
It's become mating season here on the farm. Every morning the roosters chase the hens around. They squawk and squawk as the roos try to catch one... mostly without luck. Then later in the day one of the Americunas will gladly give up and tada - no more frustrated roo.
As for the ducks, they haven't gotten it quite figured out yet - though they haven't given up trying yet. Buddy will lay down flat on the ground and Buster will climb on top of her and do nothing. He climbs off, she stays down, he climbs on again... still nothing. So now we have a frustrated female. I'm sure they'll get it eventually. She's not due to lay eggs for another month yet.
It's really neat to see the changes in Buster as he gets more sexually mature. Check this out. In the video below look at his dark stripe at his wing, and how his face is turning dark... Then check out the picture below that to see how almost black his face is now.
I love it when they shake their tails...
Buster in the foreground. Notice how dark his head has gotten. Also look at his tail, it's much darker too.
Check out Buddy's markings - isn't she beautiful!
The ducks are kept in the garage at night because Buddy's quack could wake the dead. And when it's the neighbors and they are 'dead' asleep, I don't want to be the cause of them waking up and getting mad at me... So each night the ducks come in to the garage and each morning they go back outside.
It's very cute to watch. As it become dusk they waddle up to the patio door and start quacking. We'll open the slider and in they come with Buddy in the lead (always!). Off she'll go to the garage and she walks right into their pen. On the rare occasions I've forgotten to open the pen she does a U turn and heads back into the living room, with Buster in tow - to the dining room and back to the screen door (which is now closed as I say to myself "Oh crap!") Another U turn and she heads back to the garage where she's hoping I've finally remembered to open the pen. She and Buster waddle right in, I close the pen and they usually head right to the water. It's very comical. Maybe I'll catch it on video and share next time. If I remember, no promises.
Poor Little Roo - his right foot appears to be broken. He's still hobbling around on it and has been for a couple of weeks. I've been keeping him with the ducks at night to help protect it.
Miss Priss has recently joined Little Roo in the garage at night - just for company.
I don't know if it's the breed or not, but the rooster that we slaughtered in a previous update was the same type as Little Roo - they are Mille Fleurs - and they have funky feathers at their feet. I'm wondering if that somehow is detrimental to them and if I shouldn't have had them caged up by themselves all along. If you recall, the other rooster also did something to his foot or leg - but he couldn't get around to eat or drink. Now this one. Miss Priss seems to be fine so far though.
It's that time again...
It looks like Halloween is going to be a day of death. We are going to slaughter our two big roosters. Big Jed and No Name look to be about the same size, but Big Jed is much heavier. They are the same age. The original one we slaughtered still hasn't been eaten... he's in the freezer.
You know how they say roosters crow at the crack of dawn? It's true. They also crow before the sun even comes up, but not every day. The thing is that they hardly stop crowing until the sun goes back down. Ugh! And these two like to crow in chorus. One crows, the other crows, and back and forth it goes.
So we will be ending up with 5 hens and one Little Roo - who also crows, but not as much nor as loud. But he had better watch what he says, because the stew pot is big enough for one more.
I will actually miss the roosters. I like them a lot and I think they are so much more beautiful than the females. Some day I hope to be in an area where I can have them, they can crow their lungs out and no one will care.
More barnyard fun
I spread a lot of the mulch we got over the garden area and roto-tilled it in somewhat. I still need to go over it again, but I did rows and then let he birds in to eat the cut-worms. We have tons of them!
The birds are having fun scratching for the bugs and Toby gets along with all of them and so just sits in the middle of them and watches the world go by. Except lately he's really taken a dislike to George - our tan rabbit. He just won't stop chasing him. Rex, the white rabbit you see at the beginning of this video he has no problem with.
This was taken about a month ago and I still haven't planted anything in it. There just seems to be stuff to do, and I don't get around to it.
One of the Ameracunas has started laying eggs. We've had 5 so far. She doesn't lay one every day yet. They are a greenish color. I have the first egg here next to a standard, store bought large, white egg so that you can see the difference.
Our first egg (the green one)
Remember when Scraggles was such a small baby?
He always wanted his bottle, but I didn't always have time to give it to him... so I would prop it up.
This is Scraggles today 10/29/2010
He's got it pretty well figured out, wouldn't you say?
I'd heard about the show from Facebook. Actually from Home Grown Edible Landscapes. It was a 2 day event and I wanted to go. We got a room at the Cecil Hotel down town. A very old hotel, but not bad - and only $80 a night for the both of us. But next time I'll book earlier and stay right next door at STAY which is a hostel and only $40 a night.
We went to the show both days, but really one would have been sufficient. We bought a bunch of grass fed beef for $49 - frozen and we've already sampled it - yum. We got some maple bacon and pepper bacon that were both pretty tasty... and while I was there I became inspired by the Flying Pie Man. If you ever get a chance to eat his meat pies, do! I ate them on both days. They were fabulous!!!
I came home and did my best to replicate it. I didn't even come close, but there were no complaints, it was delicious. On the bottom of the deep dish pie plate I put home made mashed potatoes with just butter in it, no milk. Then the filling - I sauted onions and the grass fed ground beef we bought at the show. I drained the meat well, though there wasn't a lot to drain off. I added some thyme, marjoram, chopped carrots and beets, some chopped garlic and a little corn starch for thickener. This went on top of the mashed potatoes. I added some low fat sharp cheddar on top of that and a pie crust I found a recipe for online. I'd never made a pie crust on my own (without my mom standing beside me - and that was 25 years ago) so I've always been intimidated. It wasn't flaky like I was hoping but it was still good. This I baked at 350°F for 1 hour. It was really good. It was even better the next day once the flavors mingled a bit. What's more - since PIE is my favorite dessert, I'm willing to make them myself from now on. I'm sure I'll get better and better with time.
Each design on these chocolates was a different flavor
Chocolates from the same manufacturer
We got to try different liquors made with all natural ingredients. Yes, gin still tastes horrible.
... and I declined, but we had the opportunity to try lots of different types of cavier. I wouldn't kiss Kevin afterwards, he smelled like fish. ICK.
We sampled different types of brittle - here's their list. This was pure heaven for me.
We got to sample different butters...
I bought some of the Fig & Port butter
we were given free plants
and sampled tasty jams
Backwards Beekeepers - they have bee hives on some of the roofs in downtown Los Angeles. Pretty Cool!
See the roots of this plant? Looks red, right?
That's the type of plant that was used to color this piece of cloth.
The highlight of the show...
Lindy & Grundy - female butchers
They are expecting to open their shop in L.A. around December. Unlike grocery store butchers who receive boxes of pre-cut meat, these ladies specialize in the almost lost art of whole animal butcher. (This does not mean slaughter.) They had a full 1/2 pig - weighed about 70 pounds total, and Grundy cut it up while Lindy wrapped and labeled the pieces... then they were raffled off to the crowd. This is the entire reason why we went to the show - and the crowds formed to watch them. Within 30 - 45 minutes, the pig was cut into pieces, which were explained to us as they went along. They will be offering classes at their shop as well. Pretty cool I think!
So on day #2, we didn't spend all day at the event, instead we went shopping! I'd never been shopping in L.A. before - what a treat! I think I spent $300. I got lots of fabric and a couple things for Cara, some doo-dads - my feet hurt when I was done but it was so worth it. I had a blast!
I'm a CLUTZ!
When Jason & family were visiting us, I decided to make some fried potatoes and onions. I was slicing the onions on the mandolin without the finger guard. I don't recommend doing that. The "Ouch" picture was the 4th or 5th bandaging that Jason & Joanna had done on me and after about 2 hours I was still bleeding. On the way to the Urgent Care it decided to go hog wild and was dripping down my arm, puddling into my other hand, dropping onto my shorts - not a pretty sight. I ended up getting super glue closed and my finger healed. It's been about a month and my finger is still tender, and a little numb, but I forget about it most of the time (except when I type). Lesson learned - use the guard.
Almost all better
But it's still hard to protect yourself from yourself. Just this week I was cutting the grass which was wet. Between our house and the neighbor's house there is a cement strip about 6 inches wide showing the property line. My wet foot hit it and down I went. I'm sure that the electric guy who was out upgrading boxes had a good laugh.
And since we have gore (2 days to Halloween after all)
Kevin's Halloween costume for work. He won 2nd place. Doesn't he look gross?!
However, not as gross as he did in the early hours of the day. He was hoping I still had some meal worms left so he could stick them to his face. I didn't. I did have darkling beetles though, so he took a couple of those and tried to get their backs to stick to his face. They had their little legs squirming at me. They ended up back in the bin with all the other beetles (chicken and duck food)
Then he wanted a kiss goodbye as he left for work. No thank you! He went kissless that day. ha ha ha
Me and Meg Whitman just this week in Riverside.
California has become such a loser state! We are running out of chances to get it right. I think Meg Whitman is our last hope.
As for Jerry Brown, check this out - this was after his last stint as Governor of California. http://meg4.me/9mzr
If you are undecided as to who to vote for on Tuesday November 2nd for governor, please vote for Meg Whitman.
I've been scanning in some pictures of the kids when they were growing up. I'll be putting them on a disc for them so they can compare with their kids. I'm still not finished but here are some that I'll share... I wish I could go back and see them like this again. I miss these days.
Slide Show ... Move cursor over picture and Click Play or arrow through.
That's All Folks! (For now)
I know, I know ... I didn't talk about the raised beds - we've been harvesting salads so far. Or the trailer, I have a leak in the fresh water tank that I need to figure out how to fix. And I didn't add pictures of either one. But that just leaves you hanging until the next update - which if I don't get too side tracked will be before another full month is over.
And remember to VOTE on Tuesday. Our ancestors fought for that right, don't take it for granted.