Dining on the terrace

The first in a series of reposts, now that the technical issues have been handled. Nothing like trying to recreate whatever was in your head at the time you wrote something.

We’re in the kitchen, hanging out, talking, probably cooking, and mom says, “What’s that?”, pointing out toward the road. “Is that the big black dog taking a dump?”

I looked, and surely enough, a huge black shape is doing something out there. Then, suddenly, there were two. “Not a dog,” I said, and grabbed my camera for some long range shots to see what was going on.


Ah, buzzards. Part of nature’s cleanup crew. We couldn’t quite make out what it was they were eating, so I walked out to the road. They promptly showed their displeasure with me for interrupting their lunch.


Since they’d cleared out, it gave me a chance to see what they were eating.


Rabbit. Hopefully one that was munching through my garden beds not too long ago. Curiosity satisfied, I left them to finish.

Eat up

Life in the country.

Technical difficulties

I haven’t really been paying attention to the main site, but apparently I probably should have, because nothing I’ve posted in the past week has shown up. This is what I get, I suppose, for looking after other peoples’ stuff better than my own. There is an automated job I use to post things that I write and save, and not only has it not posted them, the posts have vanished entirely after the job runs. That’s not a good bug (or, shall we say it isn’t a beneficial insect, given that this is at least in part about gardening?). Time for another automation job, or a return to the way I used to post, just posting things as they were typed up. We’ll be catching up on what’s been happening here.


My cat is dying.


She’s been dying for awhile, of course, just as we all are at our own varying speeds.

Boots outside

Her time is simply coming to an end sooner than that same end is coming for the rest of us.

In the sunshine

For now, she occasionally gets outside to sun her old bones, but mostly she sleeps. She eats a little here and there, drinks a bit from time to time, but not much and not a lot. She’s still affectionate, and her motor still runs harder and louder than you’d expect from such a small cat.


And she still has her buddies to keep her company until she’s finally ready to move on.

Comfort food

I’ve said before that I could eat thanksgiving dinner every meal and be happy. There’s just something rather comforting about a nice plate. This one, for instance.

Turkey dinner

In a way, it’s one of those true southern meals: meat and three.

On the upside, the multicolored gunk is dying off, and I’m feeling not as badly as I have. Still coughing, which I could do without, but as long as it continues to fade, that’s all that matters.

What word didn’t you understand?

“No action is required on your part.”

This is plain English, I think. Only two words with more than one syllable. Seven words total. This is why it astonishes me that we receive a ticket from someone telling us they don’t understand and asking what they need to do. Is it that they are surprised they have to do nothing, that they don’t believe us, or that they truly don’t understand a simple sentence? I hesitate to claim the latter as the explanation but in reality, it does seem to be that way. How do these people manage to get through a day without killing themselves in some tragically humorous way?

Gunk is bad

I’ve been sick for about a week now. This in and of itself wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the incessant coughing, some of which is so hard that it feels like I’ve pulled muscles. There’s also been so much coughing that the constant flexing of the abs has led to a severe ache, like overdoing situps or going a few rounds with a boxer.

My mom forced me to go to the doctor, which I did. Since I was coughing up and blowing out green gunk, they gave me a scrip for some anti-robotics…I mean, antibiotics: something very cool, and suited for me, since I can’t swallow pills and crushing them up all the time is nasty (and makes me not want to take them). It’s called Zmax, a one dose, extended release antibiotic that, as a bonus, comes in an oral suspension. Perfect for those of us with pill issues. How well it works remains to be seen. I can say that the smell (cherry/banana) is not bad. The taste, however, is, as it tastes like roasted ass. Or at least bad fish, something with which I’m a bit more familiar. Unfortunately, it isn’t for cough, and that’s what’s just killing me here. It makes it very difficult to sleep, makes my throat hurt, my ribs hurt, hell, I think I even almost pulled a groin muscle coughing so hard last night. There is only so much Nyquil one can take, and it tastes horrible anyway.

I’m hopeful that this is not going to hang around for three weeks(!), the length of time the doc said most people have been seeing this last. My ribs and abs can’t take it, and I’m anxious to get back out in the yard and get some more things in gear for the impending chicken arrival and the arrival of less schizophrenic weather so we can get our seedlings out of captivity and into the semi-wild of the garden.

The morning after

I think I figured out the issue I’m having with WP and posting. So, another recreated post here and hopefully that will be the end of that.

We had a household of people the morning after the baby shower, since the Atlanta folks couldn’t very drive home after a very very long day of eating and visiting and more eating and more visiting. They all sacked out, and in the morning, as people begam to stir, I started breakfast. After all, it’s only hospitable, and you can’t send people off on empty stomachs.

First up, start the hashbrowns: potatoes, onions, salt, pepper, and garlic. That’s all you need.


Threw some ham on the griddle to warm it.


For a lot of people, you need a lot of eggs.


Because I was already feeling not so well, and because everyone wasn’t quite fully up and about, no special orders. Scrambled in batches, with cheese.


The gravy that no one allowed on the table the day before…


…was paired up with biscuits. Not homemade. I didn’t have the time or energy for it.


Hi, girls!

Morning, girls

Put some melon out, and breakfast is served.


Just watch out for the circling sharks.


The big one

Here we go.

I actually starting prepping and cooking things on Thursday for Saturday’s gathering. The turkey and the pork butts both went into the brine on Thursday. Both were drained and rinsed on Friday, then went onward to their next destination. For the turkey, into the oven, accompanied by some beef tips that would serve as dinner Friday evening for the hordes descending on the place.

Turkey in the oven

The butts received a rubdown.

Rub ingredients

And then 14 pounds of pork went into the smoker.

Butts in the seats

With those things out of the way, I moved on. Mom had made some cakes for her Hawaiian dessert.


Those were topped with a combination of vanilla pudding, coconut flakes that I toasted for her, crushed pineapple, and frosting. People love it. I also made a couple batches of strawberry ice cream to go with the vanilla ice cream I’d made previously.

Strawberry ice cream

We also boiled some eggs…


…and some shrimp.


Potato salad, shrimp salad. Yummy. We were running low on barbeque sauce, so I decided to whip up another batch.

BBQ sauce

Between doing all this and working the “real” job, it was starting to get late. There was still quite a lot to do, though. Like pull the turkey out.

Turkey's done

Nothing quite like the smell of roasted turkey. In the wee hours of Saturday morning – about 1 AM, I suppose – I had made four batches of dough for sandwich rolls.


At 2:30 AM, I pulled the butts from the smoker. Fourteen hours of smoketime.

Butts done

I made a funny face at the butts and they started to fall apart right before my eyes.


Just kidding. I actually pulled them both by hand. They melted like butter, though.

Fully pulled

I’d also shaped the rolls from the dough.

Rolls shaped

While those were undergoing their final proofing, I carved the turkey. White meat and wings/thighs…

Turkey sliced

…and dark meat.

Turkey dark meat

The rolls went into the oven and the gravy train started while those were baking.


The batches of rolls were finished…

Rolls done

…and by this time, it was approaching 5 AM, so a nap was in order. Just after 6 AM, I got back up and started up again. T-7 hours to the arrivals.

First up, getting the crabcakes formed.


As usual, lots of crab, very little cake.

Crabby closeup

The day before, I’d sliced some cucumbers and onions on the mandoline.


These were combined with sour cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dill to make a cuke salad of sorts. One of my sisters’ favorites. Aubrey had picked up the flowers and started arranging them.


I got the spinach-artichoke dip started.

Spinach artichoke dip

This went into the fridge to wait until it was time to heat it through. We also roasted some beef to slice for sandwiches.


Another batch of crabmeat, to mix with a few things to stuff mushrooms.

Crabmeat stuffed mushrooms

A little onion, red and green peppers, Old Bay, pepper, butter, and the crabmeat went into mushrooms caps and was topped off with provolone.


We steamed some broccoli for the gratin.


Publix made the cake.

Publix cake

Mom also contributed a sweet potato souffle (great, by the way). We put it all together, got everything for the main meal on the table (the appetizers having been put out some time before, with people snacking away), and forced everyone to back off while we got a final picture.


Let the games begin.

Feeding frenzy

Later that evening, since apparently I’d not had enough cooking for the past couple of days, and since someone had mentioned it, I decided to whip up some focaccia.


Two batches, actually: the second batch I formed into doughballs for pizza (or mini focaccias).


The cheese was added to the bread about halfway through the baking time.

Bread's done

In retrospect, I probably should have made two focaccias.

Another shot

Because eight minutes and forty seconds after taking the above pictures and pulling the bread out, this was left.

All gone

Tasty stuff, I guess.

Eventually, almost everyone left except those enjoying the hospitality at the estate. Those who were left crashed where they could find space. Based on the lack of leftovers to pack up, I’m guessing that everyone enjoyed their meal. That’s always a good thing.

Surivival of the seedlings

That might make a good title for a b-grade horror/sci-fi flick.

The seed flats that were blown over and crashed on the ground appear to be surviving, and even thriving. I did not get any photos today since I spent the bulk of the early part of the day in bed wishing away the nastiness that has infected me. Tomorrow, though, some pictures and hopes of sorting out what is where in one seed flat, given that my layout doesn’t match any longer. It wouldn’t be bad to be surprised by any or all of it, but it would help to know what’s what when we prep them to move to the frames. Also on th list: order more chicken and worm poop – our worms are about ready for their next tray, it seems, so eventually, we should be self-sufficient on that. I’m not sure how much poop three chickens will put out, but whatever they give will be cured and then added to the outside compost pile to add to the party. Heather tells us that our chicks will be ready probably the first week o March – only a couple of weeks away, so we need to get cracking (ha – get it?) on a coop for those critters.