Thursday, October 30, 2008

BOO Who? What the .....

Check out this website to see what GHOSTING is really about.
Ok, I was GHOSTED by Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch and I am finally going to post my scary story. Which also happens to be a true story. Now before I start let me just say that I have studied paranormal stuff for years and am a great fan of horror stories and films. However I do not believe in ghosts and hauntings. Maybe I better say I did not....
A few years ago I was babysitting for a relative who had to go for her postnatal check-up. A few years previously her and her husband had bought an old farmhouse and they and other relatives had experienced strange happenings in this house and I being the skeptic that I am, made fun of their experiences.
Well the baby was asleep and I was keeping myself entertained by playing computer games. I got up to get a drink of water and was looking out across the road through the kitchen window, when all of a sudden I heard the back storm door open and close. Then I heard an irate elderly male voice say, " What the Hell? They never lock the back door." And then an elderly woman's voice shushing him.
I turned around and looked out the big picture window towards the back of the house but couldn't see anyone, so I went to the back door and opened it. There was nobody there. So I ran back inside and looked out the kitchen window at the driveway, no car and nobody. I went to the front door, no one in sight and the road in both directions was empty.
Now a chill went down my spine. The house was completely quiet. I had been playing the computer games with the sound turned off. I would have heard a car if one would have pulled into or out of the driveway.
Later when my relative returned and I told her of my experience she only said, "See....Welcome to the club."
I have no explanation for what I had heard. And I KNOW that I heard it.
Now I have to "GHOST" someone else to tell a spooky story or tale or post a spooky photo so I choose:
Please include the photo/link at the top of this post.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hallowe'en Birthday Party

My sister Mary was born on Nov. 1 and her favorite holiday is of course Hallowe'en.
So we had a surprise birthday party for her disguised as a Hallowe'en Party.

Here's the Birthday Girl

and again with her crown.
Her sister and Bro-in-law
Her OLDEST brother with his camoflaged back to the camera, her husband in the blue wizard suit.
Even her 80 year old Dad and Step-mother were there.
As was her Mother-in-law and her 1 year old Grandson.

My Granddaughter

My Grandson

My youngest Daughter

And of course me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What Happened

Pride goeth before the fall.

Well egg lovers, I have waited a week to post this, you will not see any more Mammoth eggs here. My mystery hen has either quit laying or finally started laying normal eggs. I guess those 3 0z. eggs were just too much for her.
Either way her future is secure here at least until we decide to get rid of our chickens.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stewed Chicken & Dumplings

One of my grand children's favorite meals when they come to our
house is my stewed chicken and dumplings.
I learned how to cook this dish from my Great Aunt Julia Baker,
with the help of her niece, my mother.
Anyone can stew a chicken, but what truly makes this dish is the dumplings!

Aunt Julia and Uncle Joe were both from pure Hungarian stock. Each of their parents came straight from Hungary.
They lived on his father's farm and took care of his parents (both of whom never learned English) and worked the farm.

One of my fondest memories of my Great Aunt Julia is her cooking.
She had a knack for making a truly great meal out of leftovers or stretching what she had on hand to feed company.
My Great Uncle Joe was quite an avid hunter and many times the "stewed chicken and dumplings" that she served was made out of canned pheasant or rabbit that he had shot and they had canned and stored.
When our family dropped in for a Sunday visit, one of our favorites was this dish. Mom tried and tried to copy her Auntie’s dumplings but couldn't get her to write down a recipe because she cooked by measuring the ingredients by using her hands and eyes.
One day Mom decided that she was going to learn how once and for all. We loaded up the car with all of the necessary ingredients and threw in some bowls and measuring devices just to make sure there would be enough, then I drove her to Aunt Julia's. We talked Auntie into making them while we switched bowls with her and measured the ingredients and wrote them down.
It took many tries to get it right, but we had a ball, and ate a lot of buttered dumplings.

With a little practice you can make this special treat a part of your family’s meals. And it’s a great meal extender for when extra guests show up for dinner. It’s fast and simple. And it also goes great with chicken, with or without the gravy.

Hungary boasts of having 116 types of dumplings of different tastes and textures and traditional uses. This is just one of them. I wish I could remember the Hungarian name for them, but since I can't I will just call them:

Hungarian Dumplings

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2-3 eggs

Fill a Dutch Oven half full of water and bring to a boil.

Mix dry ingredients, add the eggs and milk, mix well.

Dip a teaspoon into the boiling water

and then scoop out about 1/2 of the teaspoon full of batter

and immerse into the boiling water and gently shake spoon to release batter.

Repeat until batter is gone.

Cook until done (about 3-4 minutes after last dumpling is added)
As you can see the water foams up. If your pan isn't high enough
you may need to turn down the heat.

and remove and drain them.
Rinse with cold water to remove foamy coating.

"VIOLA" (pronounced wa-la')

Dumplings should be chewy inside and slippery outside with an egg noodle flavor. Coat with butter and serve as a side dish.
Or fix them as I do, unbuttered with stewed chicken and gravy.

Now for the rest of the dish.
In another Dutch Oven cover a cut-up chicken with water.
Add salt (less if you use one of them store bought ones with a saline solution already injected in the meat) and pepper. For a little color add some dried parsley.
Cover and bring to a boil and simmer for 1-2 hours or until chicken is just ready to fall off the bones.
Just before the chicken is done is when you make the dumplings. (Do NOT make the batter until the water is at a full boil.)
Remove the chicken.

Add 3-4 heaping teaspoons of corn starch (traditionally use flour, but I like the corn starch better) to 2/3 cup of milk and stir until dissolved. (cooking hint: add a little milk to all gravies to make the oil and water blend better, Oh you want another, ok, add a drop or two of yellow food coloring to enhance the eye appeal of any chicken gravy. What, MORE? Alright, if you need more flavor add some chicken boullion (omit the salt) or boil the chicken in chicken stock instead of water)
Pour into stock while stirring to make a thin gravy. Repeat if necessary.

Serve and add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Now eat until full and then sit back contented and comforted in knowing that you just served a meal full of hundreds of years old tradition.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Raising Kane

Last night we started watching my son's dog Kane while him and his wife went on their anniversary vacation. This is our first experience watching Kane and his first time being away from his family since they got him, except for an overnight stay at the vets after he was neutered. And surprisingly Harley has been getting along pretty good with him. Kane enjoys rough housing and Harley has been his main sparring partner. Until he gets worn out or Kane gets too rough, then Harley puts him in his place.

What?....were just playing!!!

And the chase is on again....

OK! Fine!....I'll quite for a little while....

at least 'till you turn your back.

Now this has been a role reversal for Harley as he is usually the one rough housing with poor ol' Bear. Bear has been trying to stay out of the way, but sometimes has been joining in for a little action himself.

And Kain has been harassing our cats as well, both the inside and the outside ones.

And the chickens. And our cockatiel. And when all else fails there is always Me and Ma to whine at and nibble on when we put our 2 dogs out for a rest or potty break.

So Kane has been raising Kain continuously since he has been here. Except for a 2 hour nap with Ma this afternoon. Since his nap he has been doing pretty well, and calmed down to about half speed. Neither him or Ma got much rest last night as he was constantly jumping on and off the bed. But he has been listening pretty well to her today and really seems to have taken to her. Whenever she went outside and left him in, he went nuts, whining and trying to get out, until she finally came back in. Here are some of the pictures she took while taking care of the animals.

Our bunnies, all 6 of them.

A Rhode Island Red hen.

A Grey Leghorn hen.

Our mammoth egg suspect.

Again next to a Barred Rock hen.

This is Stew. Our Barred Rock roo. He is KING of the yard or at least He thinks he is. But he has been attacking my wife a lot lately and she is ready to pot him.

That will make this guy the last remaining roo. He is our Americana, and a sly and crafty fellow he is. Always on the run from Stew, and always looking for an opportune hen. He will provoke Stew into chasing him and then run him far away from the hens and into the tall weeds. Then he will lose him and head back for a lightning attack on the hens, before Stew can make it back. And then the cycle continues until Stew finally catches him and puts him in his place.

Well it's about time to try and get another nights sleep. Tomorrow will be our last day for watching Kane. I think Ma will miss him too.