Oh, geez, I just resituated my car and put one of the legs down on a cat's tail. And then sat in the chair. THAT'll pull me out of my pity party! ;)
Plus, tonight I'll get to see Bundle of Joy and her parents - we're long overdue for a visit - PLUS My Girl AND the whole family from Let's Get Real! AND some other friends! I think there'll be cold beer there, too, and I'm out. ;) I was told, "What can you bring? YourSELF!" Of course, that means that I'll make rhubarb muffins for dessert. ;) Who can go empty-handed? Oh, right: men. (Hahahaha! Sorry just had to throw that one out there!) Ooooh, AND, I just saw that the Let's Get Real family has named their acreage: Tanglewoods Homestead! I LOVE it!
Hang on, since my time is precious today, I need to make a list. Scratch paper . . . ??? And I even got up and down w/o stepping on a cat!
I know that another reason I'm complain-y is due to my espresso machine and washing machine. Which have both gone belly-up. After a long stint of inactivity, I put the espresso machine in a more user-friendly location in the kitchen and got all set to use it on Monday. I was really looking forward to it! And . . . nothin'. The water does NOT come out. I took off all the visible-screw parts but couldn't get far enough into the guts. Eventually, I found a hidden, miniscule screw which I think will afford me that access, but I can't get the dang thing off and fear stripping the head. I need to soak it in WD-40 and hope that will do the trick . . . and that the WD-40 won't drip into any of the wrong places. WD-40 infused lattés? Mmmm, don't think so. ANYWAY, I'm hoping that the problem is just a clogged water tube. Something I can easily fix. I don't relish the thought of boxing up the heavy beast and sending it . . . where? . . . for repairs. Plus, it was an expensive, quality bugger that I CAN'T just chalk off to our throw-away society.
And, remember how I said I got a load of rugs washed on Monday? The proper nomenclature would be "I TIRED to get a load of rugs washed on Monday". And all night Monday into Tuesday. And all day yesterday. Finally, I took out the sopping rugs and, having the same problem with NO LOAD in the machine, realized I need a repairman. I realized, too, that this problem has been long in coming. I've had to baby this new (what, in the last 5 years?), digital (bah!) machine for several months. Unless I do various re-sets to the program after re-sets, it wouldn't finish a load. So, literally, a single load would take all day to complete. Not an efficient use of my time NOR off-grid power! In a whacky way, I almost hope the cost to fix it is too prohibitive in comparison with a new machine. Mama Pea is giving up her (one of the first) front-loading energy & water-efficient machines for a good, simple, old-fashioned top loader. And, I want to copy her. I HAVE found the need for a machine in which clothes could soak. And, you can't do that in a front loader. I shudder to think, too, what a service call alone (forget about the repair work!) will cost all the way out here! Time will tell. Stay tuned. Until then, in I go to the laundromat tomorrow.
Speaking of things not working right . . . I didn't think it was possible to screw up rhubarb crisp, but I did it! I made (correction: attempted to make) Mom's recipe yesterday, and it was a failure. Not in the "can't eat" kind of failure but definitely the "wow, that's ugly!" category. The sugar-cornstarch mixture (need to buy some arrowroot - didn't know that cornstarch was made with GMO corn, but, of course, that doesn't surprise me) was quite thick (maybe I cooked it too long?) and just sat on top of the rhubarb. ALL through the baking process . . . and I even baked it 15 minutes longer than called for. Wouldn't soak in at ALL. Very weird. And, none of the usual moisture came out of the rhubarb, so the bottom crust / crumb mixture stayed dry. What the? Yeah, I checked all my measurements - and they were all correct. Harrumph!
|At least things looked pretty until they came out of the oven! ;)|
AND, to top it all off, I've been having problems with my new laptop being s-l-o-w . . . which, as you can imagine, is neither RIGHT nor stress-relieving. So, trying to do my office work, 95% of which is online, has been aggravating. But, Norton is showing no viruses or worms AND I downloaded and ran Housecall yesterday which also picked up no problems. So, that narrows it down to my Internet connection. Either the satellite my dish uses is becoming too filled up (something I've already heard tell of) OR a tree has grown into the telecommunications path. I'll have to look into that latter option. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do about the first.
In other news, critters and phenology. (What's phenology of your own making - your front yard - called, I wonder?)
The dragonflies have arrived but NOT in the droves I need them to in order to really make a dent on the bugs (dragonflies eat mosquitoes). I think it was Judy who made a comment about the bugs - happy for me that they've abated a bit - and it made me wonder: do most of my readers think that we have an outbreak at the end of May / beginning of June and then they go away? No, no, no, no, no, no, and au contraire! As the joke goes, northeastern Minnesota has two seasons: winter and bug season. Here at Swamp River Ridge, I'll have three full months (June, July & August) of needing to keep bug dope, head net, and my bug jacket handy.
Speaking of plantings and when they begin flowering . . . do you know anything about Dolgo Crabs? I planted several a couple of years ago here and, while they are flourishing and thick with foliage, they've never blossomed. Mama Pea asked me if they were close enough for cross-pollination, and the majority of them are - all along the front walkways. Anyone know?
|The blue / purple lupines are beginning to bloom, and the bumblebees are loving 'em!|
|The pink lupines are still a little shy.|
|Here's a picture of the leaves on the funky Siberian Peashrub I planted. Each one is no longer than a dime!|
Internet update: yup, I think it must be a tree in "the line of sight" issue 'cause I'm having troubles uploading photos (which require a constant connection) AND it's windy. If it IS that, though, I'll take it: that one, I can fix! Even tho I HATE to cut down a live tree. :(
|I think this large tree in the distance is the culprit.|
|Another shot of the Faverolles and their feathered feet.|
|One of the Barnvelders. I love when they're young and their feet are such a vibrant color . . . before they start to bleach out with age.|
|This Faverolle looks as if she's (??) saying to me, "I'll be a good broody hen! See? I'm already practicing!!"|
Well, this post is going to have to wait to be published, because I can't upload any more pictures or save my work. I think I'll have to wait until the wind dies.
Okay, it is 4:05 now, and the Internet is finally cooperating (although it's still windy, so . . . ?!). Rhubarb muffins are out of the oven (at least I can still bake THOSE), and it's time for me to jump into the shower. Of course, on the one of my three days that I haven't spent any time outside, it's cooler with a lovely breeze keeping the bugs away. Go figure.