Archive | February, 2013

Curse You, Blue Baron!

28 Feb

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike Blue Jays? It is only appropriate that their cry is “Thief! Thief!”  We have three feeders, well stocked with sun flower seeds and other goodies, and we also put out peanuts for the squirrels. We have a special feeder for the squirrels, but the jays have figured how to outwit that one, so The Squire built a sort of tunnel, which the jays cannot/will not get into.

Now, they sit outside either end and wait for the squirrels to bring the seeds to them. This morning, a squirrel came out, bearing a large peanut, and the bloody jay swooped down and grabbed it right out of the critter’s mouth!!

Let me tell you, that was one irate animal. He got up on his haunches and waved his little arms, then ran in circles on the patio, swearing like a sailor.

Never a camera when you need one.

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Spinning Straw into Gold

26 Feb

Our parish has a soup supper every Wednesday during Lent, offering one meat based and one vegetarian soup. As the Resident Vegetarian, I generally end up making two soups, and tomorrow I’m supposed to bring Butternut Squash. I stopped at the store last night and picked up eleven pounds of squash and six packages of cream cheese. (I’m serving 36 people, here, so don’t panic.) This morning, The Squire and I got started, and I discovered I did not have enough butter in the house. I knew I hadn’t gotten everything on the shopping list last night, so I asked if he wanted to go to the store or if he would chop the onions while I went shopping.

When I got home, the dear man had not only chopped 2-1/2 cups of onions, he had peeled and diced all of the squash! He waved the knife in my direction and asked if I remembered the story of Rumpelstiltskin.

Gulp.

Many years ago, when we were first married, the church was having a spaghetti supper and I remarked proudly that my new husband made really good salads. Next thing I knew, the poor man was signed up to make salad for 75 people! He and Eldest Daughter went to the grocery store and picked up 21 heads of lettuce and goodness knows what all else. As they were putting the stuff on the check-out belt, Eldest Daughter was having hysterics. The Squire told her to straighten up and help, or he’d “get rid of the d—d rabbit”, which only sent her further into gales of laughter.

So – Tuesday night I went off  to college and left him peeling cucumbers and slicing radishes. Wednesday night I went to the laundromat and he was home chopping celery and dicing onion. Thursday night I went to choir rehearsal while he washed lettuce and sliced tomatoes.

When I came in  I leaned over to kiss him, and he handed me a knife. After chopping lettuce in silence for a few moments, he pointed his knife at me and said, “If anybody ever asks you, I cannot spin straw into gold.” I replied, “Yessir” and kept on chopping.

Butternut Squash Soup for Six

6 tablespoons chopped onion

4 tablespoons butter

6 cups (about 2 pounds) peeled and cubed squash

3 cups water

4 chicken bouillon cubes (I use Temla kosher brand, which does not contain meat or wheat, but you may use whatever you wish.)

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon red pepper

1 8 ounce package cream cheese

Saute onion in butter until soft, then add everything but the cream cheese to the pot, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Puree squash and cream cheese in blender until smooth and return to the pot. (You need to do this in batches.) Reheat carefully – do not allow to boil.

The Heck With It

22 Feb

As I have said in the past, The Squire and I really enjoy watching the squirrels in our back yard. We have three feeders – a traditional hopper type with a baffle that actually works, and two globe-shaped feeders that are supposed to be squirrel-proof. None of them are starling-proof.

Normally, The Squire fills the feeders, as he gets up much earlier than I, but yesterday I came downstairs and found the two globe feeders tossed Feeder1Feeder3into the seed can.  As you can see, the squirrels took advantage of the missing lid to help themselves.

Both the squirrels and the black birds hang onto the wire cage, and chew, claw, grab, at the seed cups, and have managed to completely destroy the cups on the bottoms of the feeders. As a result, when seed is poured into the hopper, it just runs right back out.

I have replaced the missing cups with cut off bits of medicine bottles, but they do tend to fall out, and I can’t get in there with the glue gun.  Apparently, this particular morning, The Squire didn’t have the time, or the patience, to jiggle the plactic back into place, and just left the feeders for me to tackle.

You’ll notice that this globe feeder is all out of shape. The night, the racoons climb up,unhook them, and roll them across the lawn. During the day, the blackbirds get the things spinning, and unscrew them from the hooks, so they fall on the ground.

The Squire says he thinks he has come up with a method to keep the local wildlife from pulling apart the feeders. We shall see.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

17 Feb

The Squire is deaf as a post. Oh, he swears I whisper and turn my back when I speak to him, but he doesn’t hear anybody else, either. In truth, it is only high-pitched noises that he misses. Birds signing, the car brakes squealing, wind chimes clanging.

It’s the wind chimes that drive me nuts.  They hang from the patio eaves, on the back of the house. Our bedroom is upstairs on the front of the house, but we sleep with the windows open. I hear the blasted things racketing away in the high wind, and The Squire, literally, turns a deaf ear.

I must love him. I haven’t killed him yet.

 

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

7 Feb

I seem to be heading down the home stretch with this bug I’ve had for nearly two weeks. My sinuses are still so clogged that when I walk my upper teeth hurt – and I have dentures.

However, in spite of avoiding each other as much as possible and still live in the same house, The Squire is now coughing, dripping and sneezing.

He has my deepest sympathy. I wouldn’t wish this “Bubonic Cold”, as our rector calls it, on anybody, least of all the man I love.

Things that Go Bump in the Night

4 Feb

Our weather has been so goofy for the last week that I can’t keep it straight. We had a thumping rainstorm one day, bad enough to cause folks near DC to have to evacuate their homes because of flooding. We had one day that was so windy it practically lifted the cat off his feet, and in between we’ve had snow showers for the last four nights. Not much, maybe a quarter of an inch, but even that little bit, when it is accompanied by wind and thunder, can be impressive.

Every time there is a loud noise, Blazer has to go investigate, so he has been panting at the door almost constantly. Last night there was gunfire at half-time, and he was having a fit, but I wouldn’t let him outside because you have no way of knowing where those bullets will come down.

He did go out once to inform the resident raccoon that dinner was served. I put the dish on the patio and Blazer ran over to bark into the drain pipe. (Yell down my rain barrel/ Slide down my cellar door/ And we’ll be jolly friends for evermore.) The raccoon is large enough that when he growls the noise echoes inside the pipe. I dunno – maybe he’s all echo and not large at all.

We also have mice in the drop ceiling in the den. Whoever coined the phrase “quiet as a mouse” has never heard this bunch. It sounds as if they are staging the chariot scene from Ben Hur. And, of course, both of the “land critters” have to get into the act. Blazer races around and barks, and Eddie tries to climb up into the ceiling. Did you know fiber glass tiles don’t support the weight of a large cat?

The Squire says the game went on until nearly 11:00 last night, and then all 773H broke loose, but I was sound asleep and missed it all. I am glad the Ravens won, although there seems to have been a question about interference at the last minute.

This bug, whatever it is, still has me worn down. I got up at 8 this morning, got chased back up to bed – alone – at 11:30, and slept until 2:00! It is not quite 7 PM here, and I am just barely able to keep my eyes open.  G’night.