someday sunday: chickens!

my next step in self sufficiency would be chickens! we finally have enough space that i would feel comfortable getting a couple chickens, so at this point i need to convince nate that we could probably leave chickens alone for a couple days if needed. that’s always his problem when we talk about getting chickens. 

another thing that would probably work a lot better for my not-really transient lifestyle that nate’s so worried about is getting some honeybees. we’ve got this huge field behind our house that’s in CRP that would be great for bees. 

weirdly enough, both these thing would come via mail… funny thing, eh? i just looked up chickens, and i can get a 4-week-old bird for $17. if i were so inclined, i could get a pair of breeding trumpeter swans for $5200, but i don’t think i want to go that route right now. 😮

i think what’s holding me back is the start-up work, learning, and money. i know i have a lot of things that i deal with as far as this goes, but these two things seem daunting for some reason. i can’t imagine that these would be any more work or cost than dealing with 3 cats, but chickens and bees aren’t as snuggly.

worker-honey-bees

foodie friday! squash-potato soup

Squash Potato Soup
mmmm soup
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  2. 4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  3. 2 medium onions, roughly diced
  4. 2 celery stalks, roughly diced
  5. 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. Chicken stock to cover vegetables (about 9 cups)
  8. 1 pint cream/milk
Spices to taste
  1. salt
  2. pepper
  3. fresh thyme
  4. parsley flakes
  5. balsamic vinegar
  6. powdered mustard
Instructions
  1. Take all your veggies, garlic, and bay leaves, and put them in a pot and use chicken stock to just cover. put over medium-low heat and let it cook until all the veggies are really soggy and mushy. Take out the bay leaves and use a stick blender to blend it til smooth. Or you can run it through a blender or food processor in batches. It should be really thick - mix in your cream/milk. If you want a looser soup, add more milk.
  2. Spice it up! I used fresh thyme, salt, pepper, ground mustard, and parsley flakes. For this batch, I ended up using about 2-3 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) of salt. Don't sell yourself short on the salt. I shook a couple shakes of balsamic vinegar in there as well. If you know you like a certain spice in soup, give it a try. Taste your soup and spice it til you like it.
  3. Another tip: cook up some bacon really crisp, crumble it and put it in the soup. I might do that tomorrow.
Notes
  1. I like cheese on my soup. I used feta this time, but I would also recommend some shredded parmesan. Cheddar might also work. Can also crumble some bacon on top.
Life in the Cheese Drawer http://katerrific.com/

once a year i give a go at squash potato soup. it’s always sweeter than i remember it (that squash is sweet!), but i really like it. so here’s your foodie friday post! unlike most food bloggers, i put the recipe at the top so you don’t have to scroll for days through someone’s life story before you find the recipe. (i hate that.)

prep

i had a bunch of butternut squash from my garden this year, so i had to do something with it. hello soup!

thyme

I also have some thyme growing in the giant flower garden that was here when i moved in. the gift that keeps on giving! now it’s just like it’s freeze-dried (haha. stupid cold weather.)

cooking

blended

after the stick blender. best $15 i ever spent. seriously, it’s worth it if you do a lot of soups or sauces.

bowl

mmmm, topped with feta cheese and leftover thyme leaves.

throwback thurs: christmases

this year is going to be different at christmas. last year was different at christmas. and while i do value traditions, sometimes change can be good. 

christmas for 36 years of my life was pretty predictable. at some point, you have to look at your traditions and decide they’re stagnant. i know my mom likes christmas the way she does, but it gets a little overwhelming. there’s so much food to prepare. everyone needs to be doing something. if you aren’t doing it right, prepare to be learned. even though you’ve been doing this for 37 years, somehow i’ve forgotten what it is i’m supposed to do. everything needs to be checked on. for the past few years, we’ve tried suggesting to scale back. maybe not quite so many varieties of food. maybe not so much food. maybe we each bring something, potluck style (tried that, but i was told not to bring potato soup the next year). then there is all the cleaning and dishes. ugh.

trying to keep it laid back just doens’t happen. 

last year, i stayed home. it was perfectly nice. i cooked when i wanted to. i didn’t clean when i didn’t want to. i made a fantastic buche de noel cake that i’ve been wanting to try for 20 year but can’t because OMG christmas cake. stuff happened on my terms and it was great.

15726249_10102146554629671_195428359268536551_n that’ what i like about thanksgiving. i can cook all the thanksgiving food by myself and be ok with it. i will leave the mess on the counter and not care too much. and if other people want to help, that’s fine too. 

but anyway, christmas is changing again this year. instead of buying each other presents off a list of items that we would buy for ourselves anyway, we are going to try to do a trip instead. we’ll each come up with an idea for a trip and then decide which one is the best. we’ll decide at christmas and then take the trip sometime over the next year.

sure, it’s changing. but what is life if you can’t roll with the punches every once in a while? if somehow my parents decide to scale it back and make it laid back at christmas, maybe i’ll consider making the drive to st. charles. especially if they let me bring the buche de noel. 

word wednesday: clue

colonel mustard with the candlestick in the parlor! 

the word clue has its origins in some greek mythology! remember theseus and the labyrinth? he went in there to find the minotaur, but daedalus told him he should make sure to get out again, so bring a spool of thread so he can find his way.

that spool of thread? it’s called a clew. hence, clue! 

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review tuesday: sleeping beauties

i feel like a bit of a poser whenever i read and review a stephen king novel because i picked him up so late in my reading life, and for reasons that are pretty dumb. he writes horror novels! he’s a weirdo! his writing is scary! he looks like a weirdo!

whatever. get over it. just pick up a book of his. 

want an easy place to start? “the green mile.” “shawshank redemption.” “the body (lean on me).” they’re all familiar to you. 

so, i picked up his latest book, “sleeping beauties,” which he co-wrote with his son. when i first started reading it, i thought, Oh! i can totally tell this is more owen than stephen king. but then i got more into the storyline and was like, ok – this has gone full stephen.

i’ll try to give an overview without getting into spoilers because this is a great book. what i love about SK novels is that i KNOW there is always going to be some supernatural thing crop up eventually at the root of any scariness, so it’s expected now.

sleeping_beauties_prop_embedso it was with sleeping beauties.

premise of the book: all women are made to go into a deep slumber and not awaken before this one thing happens. it’s a pretty telling story about society and what would happen if women did suddenly decide to take a vacation from life. 

there are characters you hate, there are characters you love, and there are characters that i wondered were really supposed to be written that way (writing female characters from a male eye is always a questionable thing in my mind. women are not THAT CONSCIOUS of their boobs. they’re just not. i’m not going to notice my shirt caressing the sideboob. not happening.)

but what was really exciting for me about this book was the build-up to the climax, which i don’t think i’ve gotten with any other SK novel quite like this one. i’ve gotten great build-up from other authors, just not him. it was really exciting to see how things came together and what was happening. i was glad when the baddies had it coming. i was sad when the good guys lost. and i was hopeful yet melancholy for the bittersweet ending. 

I keep telling people to pick up a king book. you won’t be disappointed. and if you want to get a story that you’re not familiar with for your first read, this is a good option. 

meme monday

remember when we would post memes like this on livejournal every other day? those were the days! sure, i stole this from facebook, but it’s the essence of the meme that counts, right? 🙂

also, siblings, if you want to offer different opinions, feel free!

SIBLING WAR! Answer how you feel about you and your siblings.
1. Who’s the smartest? Me
2. Most spoiled? Charlie
3. Most sensitive? Jane
4. Worst temper? Jane?
5. Most social? Charlie
6. Most stubborn? Me
7. Who’s Dad’s favorite? hmm…. 
8. Most likely to fight someone? none of us I think
9. Best cook? Me
10. Best Clothes and Shoes? Liz
11. Who was the bad kid? Charlie
12. Who has the biggest Heart? Liz 
13. Who’s the quietest? Me
14. Who’s the worst driver? CHARLIE
15. Who was born 1st? Me
16. Who is better at sports? ????
17. Best hair? Charlie when he grows it out
18. Most organized? Me
19. Coffee drinker? all of us! (charlie wants to drink it but can’t)
20. Who is the loudest? Charlie
21. Most expensive taste? Liz
22. Most bossy? probably me but could be Jane?
23. Funniest? Jane

someday sunday

i’m not one to hold a lot of stock in long-term plans. i hate those interview questions where they ask you where you see yourself in 5 years; i know you’re supposed to say something about how you’ll be with the company and moving up and professional development, blah blah blah, but my answer is always more deviant than they’d like. i always say something to the effect that i don’t like making long-term plans because you never know what will happen tomorrow, let alone the next five years. there are so many variables to life that a long-term plan is not something i place a lot of stock in. 

which is REALLY weird, because i’m a planner. i enjoy making lists, plans, itineraries for vacations. i like to stick to the plan. when something goes awry or differently than the plan, i try to go with the flow, but it’s a little difficult at times. 

when there IS a plan. if it’s my thing, there’s a plan. if it’s other people’s, i tend to go more with the flow and the changing ebbs and tides of their plans. 

but i still like a plan. a short-term plan.

so someday sunday is not something i’d necessarily write about, but i take my readers’ suggestions when i can, and jane came up with this one. 

i have an idea of places i’d like to go eventually, when time and money permit. one of those places is machu picchu. i think it’s fascinating to have an abandoned city in the high mountains of peru. i’d like to go and see what it was like, experience the south american culture a little bit, and just get out of this country.

i mean, how could this not appeal to people?

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getting there is always the problem. generally, when i decide to do something, i’ll do it, so at this point, i just need to say: ok. in 4/5/6/7 years, i’ll go to machu picchu. 

the thing with big vacations for me is that i will always be looking more to the small vacations because i like what i know. and the smaller vacays are easier to do. packing up to go to the black hills for a week is a lot less expensive that going abroad. getting to a lake for four days during the summer will always be something i do. and at this point, it’s not time that’s the issue; it’s money. i could stop spending money on the little things to save up for the big things, but the little things are a lot more helpful to my instant gratification problem.*

at this point in my life, i have to take a step back and think: is this REALLY something i need or want to do, or would i rather stuff this $50 away to go to a place i’ve never been and want to go? i have everything i need, really. it’s just the allure of stuff. so maybe i need a realignment of thinking. we’ll see if i can work on that.

*interesting side note: people who have last names that begin with a letter toward the end of the alphabet have more problems dealing with instant gratification than those with letters toward the beginning. and this is all rooted in childhood, so no, moving up in the alphabet with a married name won’t help you at all. think about all those years of being at the back of the line while the Bs, Ds, Ms, Ts, Us, Vs, etc. all go ahead of you. i was the last in line all through gradeschool. sure, we rotated, but the first day of school, i was always last. one article here about this

word..friday….?

so i was going to do a foodie friday, but i’ve been at conference the past couple days and the food, while good, was not made by me. i suppose i could review it quickly, but i want to do a reprise of word wednesday but on a friday.

thursday: we had a mexican food bar for lunch then headed to tin whiskers for supper, which is actually just a brewery. so i had a beer there, and the system office ordered in black sheep pizza, which was really good! i would like to go to black sheep and just get a bunch of pizza. after we left, i walked to keys cafe and got a piece of pumpkin pie, which was delicious. 

that was the interesting food.

word break

let’s talk about what’s happening this weekend: daylight saving time. note: daylight saving time. NO S.

daylight savings is a misspelling. i’m sorry that you’ve been saying it wrong all this time, but it’s time to switch it back. drop that S! i checked why we use the S, and it’s guessed that it’s because it’s used in everyday speech like savings account. so, check the S. it’s not supposed to be there.

this weekend is the big fall back day, so check your non-phone clocks! we get an extra hour of sleep, but we also lose an hour of light at the end of the day, so that bums me out. welcome, SAD! 

(contrary to popular opinion, i LOVE DST. i love the extra light at the end of the workday, the 9:30 p.m. sunsets. sorry, whiny celebrities on twitter. that’s the way it is.)