Monday, March 31, 2014

Befriending A Magpie

You heard it hear first………..yes it’s true…………I’m becoming friends with a magpie.  Who would have thought that I would befriend a loud, squawking magpie.  It started out with me going outside, throwing bread pieces on the ground and whistling the sound of a chickadee.  I was trying to get the chickadees to come in and eat the bread while I sat in my swing to watch and take photos. 


Not to be outdone by a little chickadee, one magpie started coming in every time I whistled.  All the other magpies wait at a far distance until I go in the house and then they will come and snatch up all the rest of the bread.  But Gus (that’s what I named him) will fly in the tree close by and then fly to the ground and get the bread, within 9 feet of where I am sitting.  While he is sitting in the tree, we actually squawk back and forth to each other – too funny!



In the video below, one of the little chickadees is eating bits of bread.  Not in this video, but shortly after, the chickadee picked up a piece of bread and tried to fly away with it.  I don’t know if it was too big for him or what but he dropped it on the ground.

Chickadee Eating Bread

Gus, standing close by noticed that the chickadee dropped his piece of bread so he hopped over, scooped it up and took it a short distance away and proceeded to bury it in the grass.  After he buries it, he covers it with dead leaves.  He frequently buries the bread he takes and comes back later and gets it.


I guess if I keep befriending Gus, I’ll have to keep feeding him.  Good thing I Started making bread, hmmm.  I must admit, he is fun to have around.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bread Machine Bread Cooked In Oven

Yesterday when I went to get something in the pantry I noticed that we were very low on bread.  In my head, it was Thursday and I was thinking that my husband had to work the next day and he wouldn’t  have any bread to make a sandwich for his lunch.  I didn’t feel like going to town so I thought I would make some bread, a rare thing indeed!  I also didn’t want to get out the heavy KitchenAid mixer so I thought I would just make the dough in my bread machine then take it out, form it in a loaf and bake it in the oven.  I’m so glad that is the route I chose.  Very easy and the bread turned out wonderful.  I’ve never done that before so it was new to me and I was very pleased with the results… much so, that I actually made another loaf today, only this time instead of using entirely all-purpose flour, I added in a cup of wheat flour.  I’ve got an old wheat grinder (Kitchenetics (K-Tec) Kitchen Mill) that I bought at a garage sale for practically nothing.  It’s been about 20 or so years since I purchased it but it still worked like a charm.  They had a nice picture of it on Google Images, which is pretty similar to mine so I will use it to show you what it looks like:
This is how my first loaf looked after taking it out of the oven and brushing butter over the top.
After leaving it on the counter to cool, my next step was to slice it and bag it.  For slicing, once again, I’m going back 20 years or so and using my old Presto bread slicer.  This little gadget is wonderful too.  All you do is put your bread on it and slice between the grey and white pegs, getting all nice, even slices.
The recipe I used is an old recipe that my father used to make bread in his bread machine.  It is a very tender, good bread.

For the loaf of bread using wheat flour, I used the same recipe and just replaced one of the regular cups of flour with one cup of wheat flour.
That was just simple enough making bread this way that I think I won’t be buying too may loaves of bread anymore. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

What Day Is It….St. Patrick’s or April Fools?

To those of you who think today is St. Patrick's Day, raise your hand.  I’m thinking it’s more like April Fools Day.  This past weekend it was so nice and warm that my husband and I put our two-seated swing back up that we had put away for the winter.  Well, look at the following pictures I took today and try to tell me once again that today is really St. Patrick's Day and not April Fools Day!







UPDATE:  Just looked out the window and the wind is still blowing wildly but a lot of the show has melted.  St. Patrick’s Day….hmmmm, maybe?!

Freeze Tag/Photo Bunny

As I was driving down a dirt lane yesterday, I spotted this bunny sitting along the edge.  I drove up pretty close to him (assuming he was a him) and started taking pictures.  I think this little bunny was playing a game of freeze tag……or freeze photo…….thinking – hey, if I don’t move, maybe this human thing will not notice me and go away.  Same bunny, different photos.



After sitting there for a few minutes, I could see he wasn’t going to move.  So, I slowly started inching my car forward and off he hopped over to the fence.  And once again, there he sat………..not moving a muscle.  At the bottom of the fence, I could see his escape route.  Smart bunny.  Once again, same bunny….different photos.



I very quickly got tired of playing freeze tag/photo as all my pictures looked exactly the same.  When I started moving the car, as suspected, the smart little bunny took his escape route under the fence and hopped away.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Whole Wheat Pancakes

No fancy photo with a dollop of butter on top and syrup cascading down the sides…topped with fruit of choice, but just a plain photo of pancakes….really good pancakes.  I’d gotten this recipe off the internet some time ago and filed it away in my many, many recipes.  I have an addiction to recipes.  I have a huge stack of printed recipes that I’ve collected off the internet, many cookbooks, my (full) recipe box plus oodles and oodles that are saved on my computer.  It wasn’t until I retired that I’ve taken the time to try out some of these recipes.  I must say, it’s been fun trying and tweaking out recipes.  These pancakes fit the phrase of “It’s a Keeper”.  Give them a try…you won’t be disappointed.




Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring – Bring It On – In Reverse

We need the moisture, yes……..but did it have to come within a few hours of me posting “Spring – Bring It On”.  We literally went from basically bare ground to a windy, snow blizzard.  It’s still fairly warm outside which makes the snow heavy and semi melting.  I just went out and measured and we received 1” of snow.  It’s like….we sure need the moisture but I was so excited with the green blades of grass I photographed earlier today.  Oh well, maybe this will bring on the green more quickly.




Spring – Bring It On

Just looking out my back door today, you would think that Spring is never going to come to our home.  Now, is that dead looking grass, or what?!


But, still looking out the back door, I saw two robins sitting in our tree.  Hope………….there is hope that spring is on its way.  Thank you little robins for making my day (sorry, no photo).  We still have some snow on the front yard that the sun rarely touches but for the most part, all our snow is gone.  You can see a trail through the grass where I walk to get our mail.


But when you look through the patches of snow and out further where the snow has receded, you can see GREEN!  Green, green, green………… it.



I love this picture where you can see the big contrast from a totally dead looking lawn to where it starts to green up where the snow has slowly receded.


SPRING – Bring It On!

Mackay Reservoir Picmonkey Photos

I was playing on the computer today with the “Picmonkey” program.  Picmonkey is a free editing photography program.  I’ve had it on my computer for quite some time but just haven’t taken the time to really get into trying it out.  Just by doing this one photo, I can see now that I will need to get on the program a little more often and see what all its features can do…..although, I just have the free version loaded but you can upgrade to Royal for as little as $2.75 a month.  Not quite sure what that is but you can also upgrade your program on a monthly plan, at $4.99 a month, or the annual plan, at $33 a year.  After I get into the program a little more and see what all it has to offer, I might just have to invest in the upgraded program.  Here is a picture I took one evening on 8/2/12 of the Mackay Reservoir.

Mackay Reservoir Sunset

Here is the same picture, adding a few sparkles to the sky.

Mackay Reservoir Sunset.4

In the next two pictures I kept the sparkles and added sun bursts in different places.

Mackay Reservoir Sunset.2

Mackay Reservoir Sunset.3

If you take photos, this just might be a program you could have a little fun with………….I know I will.

Baby Clothes Cleaner

I spent the past week over at my daughters home and had myself a little Grandma Time.




One morning while sitting at the table eating breakfast, this little fella was running around the deck.  He didn’t seem bothered in the least that I was standing at the deck doors taking his picture.


I didn’t get a picture of the mess that was made all over the mirror and vanity of a cleaning concoction that my daughter made….but we laughed a good one over it.  She had heard that if you mix Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and peroxide together that it will take out baby stains from their little onesies, jammies, etc.  She mixed it up, put it on a little onesie, put the flip top down on the bottle and hoped it would work at taking out the stains.  Yes, after letting the onesie sit overnight, it took the stain right out….it worked wonderfully!  BUT, here is where the mess came in.  She noticed the plastic bottle that she made the cleaner in was bulging so she flipped up the lid and WHOOSH… we had a little problem of shooting cleanser.  Maybe it was just one of those moments that you just had to be there, but for us, it was a good laugh.  Just in case you want to make your own cleanser to take out baby stains, you mix equal parts of soap, soda and peroxide.  Just don’t get to anxious to seal off your container until the ingredients have had time to chillax for a long amount of time.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

“Bull”arney Stones….Sugar Cookies

According to Wikipedia, this is their definition of the blarney stone.

The Blarney Stone (Irish: Cloch na Blarnan) is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney, about 8 kilometres (5 mi) from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446. The castle is a popular tourist site in Ireland, attracting visitors from all over the world to kiss the stone and tour the castle and its gardens.

The word blarney has come to mean "clever, flattering, or coaxing talk". John O'Connor Power's definition is succinct: 'Blarney is something more than mere flattery. It is flattery sweetened by humour and flavoured by wit. Those who mix with Irish folk have many examples of it in their everyday experience.


Now, my definition is a bit different.  This was a few years back that the idea came to me to make some sugar cookies and put green dye in them and take them to work for St. Patrick’s Day.  I made the cookies and then thought I wanted to put a sign with them.  I didn’t want just any ordinary sign and my thoughts went into another direction and putting a play on the words “Blarney Stone”, this is what I finally came up with……..”Bull”arney Stones”.  With this, I didn’t/don’t mean any disrespect to anyone.  Just something fun for St. Patrick’s Day.


Here is the cookie recipe I used.  They are a really good, drop sugar cookie.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

I found a recipe on a blog today for a Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole.  It sounded really easy to make and where it was Fast Sunday, and I had no other plans to fix for our meal, I decided to give it a try.  I did, however, change a lot of the ingredients since I didn’t have the items called for on the blog recipe or I just wanted to add different ingredients.  Whatever the reason, as my husband would say….”It’s a Keeper”.  If you would like to view the original recipe, go HERE.  Below is the recipe I used…..Mmmmm, Good.  Sorry for the picture, but I didn’t think about taking pictures and posting until after we’d already eaten over half the casserole.



Hoover Halloween Extras

Every year at Halloween, Mr. & Mrs. Hoover decorate their home to the point it’s the one home in our little town that everyone talks about.  If you want to see more on his Halloween home, go  here, here and here.  As I happened to be driving by their home earlier this week, I noticed his two-headed bone monster in their field.  I don’t know how long it has been there but I do know it wasn’t there at Halloween time.  This man is a genius when it comes to making scary, fun projects.




Saturday, March 1, 2014

Snow….And Still Snowing – Yes!

We went from a little tad of snow this morning while watching my flying garbage disposals clean up some old cornbread.



To 3” of snow……………………



And………….IT’S STILL SNOWING!  Yes, yes, yes…..we sure can use it.  We haven’t had much rain or snow this year and our little valley sure is thirsty!