It was an even lovelier day yesterday with high winds and lower temps. I got a LOT of lawn mowing done and didn't even have to wear my bug suit . . . although the mosquitoes certainly WERE biting, especially near the end of the day (a real reason why I stopped when I did). HOWEVER, the mower suddenly got louder and was making a real racket near the end, too . . . I'll have to look into that before I mow again today. I was starting to get paranoid that the blade was gonna come whizzing off and down either me or one of the dogs! And, my fear over it being one of the dogs eventually got to me. That and the bugs. Frustrating, though, when a machine does that right after it's been repaired and, otherwise, is working better than ever!
So, this is war now: I have caught four mice in the kitchen in as many days! WHAT the . . . ?!!! I can understand one. Maybe even two. But, WHERE are they coming from??? Okay, I know, I know: it's through the screen door that I leave open at night for the cats and dogs, you'll say. But, I dunno . . . I mean, how's a mouse gonna know to take a sudden 90 degree turn through a flap in the screen door and into a house when its running the perimeter? Although, at this point, I'm beginning to think that "word's out" in the rodent community about my welcoming home!
It's doubly aggravating, too, because I spent a good chunk of my day yesterday disinfecting all my kitchen counters and all the appliances, etc., they held. I was pretty sure all the health code violators had been killed. Damn, damn, damn. And gross.
After lawn mowing and a good dinner last night, I made Mama Pea's Blueberry Buckle. YUM-EEEEE! I actually physically started this morning as I lay in bed, thinking about getting up . . . and remembered what was waiting for me in the oven! :)
|First piece out of the pan.|
|But, really, only NOW is it ready to eat! Anything like this (pie, cake, you name it) should be eaten in a bowl while soaking up fresh milk. :)|
While I was in the kitchen disinfecting yesterday, I also got a big batch of dishes done and a start on a new batch of dog food. Due to the high price of good quality dog food (I was paying over $40 for a 33 lb. bag!!) and my limited funds, I finally started making my own dog food a couple of weeks ago. And, I've gotta say, the dogs LOVE it! The other thing I've noticed, too, is that their poop is SO MUCH smaller! No more "filler" in the food = less waste. Yayyy!
So, how do I make it? Well, I'd like to have enough meat to not have to use any of my own filler (rice, mostly). Maybe I can get a deer (from someone) this fall during hunting season. But, since I can't make it all meat, I stew two old chickens or ducks in a huge pot (poultry in first, then fill to the top with water) and then strip off all the meat and fat when tender. That goes into a food processor and then back into the broth. (I know I could probably skip this part, but I don't like the meat to be in large chunks because the dogs like it so much that they absolute gobble it down w/o chewing . . . and I don't want to risk choking.) Then I add rice or millet to the stock and let that simmer for a day or so (stirring every time you walk by) until the stock has almost completely evaporated and the meat and rice have soaked up every single bit of the good juice. Package and toss into the refrig or freezer, and voila!
Do YOU make your own dog food? If so, what goes into it?
Another reason I found the need to do so much work in the kitchen yesterday (did quite a bit of organization & putting-away in the pantry, too) was so I could continue listening to my current book on tape. It's 'Blood Oath' by Christopher Farnsworth and really good! I discovered that he's written a sequel, too, so I'll put that on my list to order from the library. I do wonder if Stephenie Meyer (author of the 'Twilight' series) gets any kick-backs from this book, though, because 'Blood Oath's vampires are just like hers. I mean, if I were her, I'd be like, "Hey! Invent your own creatures instead of using mine!" ;)
Rambling on . . . I was looking at my teenage poultry the other day, and I think I've got 4 hens and two roosters out of each batch of six. So, that means I'll have 8 layers and then 2 or 3 roosters to go into the stew pot. Sounds good to me! Normally, I'd like to have a larger flock, but considering that they won't be allowed outside until I have the time and money to redo the chicken yard to make it critter-proof, it's a just-fine number for the size of the chicken house. All the old, inherited-from-Papa-Pea-last-fall hens (5) and one rooster are gone now, thanks to predation. The rooster was the last to get it, and I thought he'd survive . . . until I went out to do chores one morning and realized I hadn't heard any crowing. :( There he was, in the corner of the fenced-in yard, deader than a doornail. It seems to be a persistent marten that's gotten them all: something not large enough to carry the chickens back out (like the fisher did last year). And, of course, the blasted things are too smart to go into the live trap I'd set out. The three remaining geese continue to live out there in the poultry yard with no (knock on wood) predator bothering them.
Finally, and most importantly, I've got a new blogger to tell you about! Green Teen of Peace, Love, and Veggies is the incredible daughter of a dear friend. She was raised, food-wise, in a "typical American" way. I think that's a fair description. Somewhere along the line, though (maybe it was Papa Pea's teachings to her when she was in 3rd grade?!), she got very interested in healthier eating as well as the treatment of animals in the process of turning them from sentient beings into food for humans. So now, she's become a vegetarian . . . or vegan. I think she's waffling between the two. She's experimenting with new foods and recipes and is doing the bulk of the cooking for the family of four!
I'm in the process of trying to show her that she doesn't necessarily need to become a total vegetarian or vegan . . . but rather just learn about the healthful ways animals CAN be raised and treated in order to produce eggs, milk, and meat for us. But, I'm certainly not telling her to NOT be a vegetarian / vegan, either . . . just, rather, to learn that there are options. Anyway, take a look at her blog and follow her on the path to better living through better eating. We can ALL learn something from her, I think! :)