Thursday, May 31, 2012

slow roasted

We have a new favorite way to cook meats:  

rotisserie cooker!

It's a brand called SHOWTIME

This cooker was a gift from our family, and we use it quite often.  It took a few attempts to figure out the best way to mount the piece of meat, but once it's firmly in place the cooking doesn't take long at all.  According to the chart, it's actually faster to roast in this oven than it is in my conventional oven.

We expected the rotisserie to take longer;  and there is a way to continue the rotation without the heat.  We can also leave the heat on and stop the rotation (to sear the meat).

So far, our favorite meat to roast is chicken.  The meat we can't get good results with is beef (doesn't cook to 'medium' only rare)  I think my next attempt will be ham - picnic shoulder!  We haven't found any cut of meat too large to fit in the roaster - but I'm sure such a thing does exsist.  I also haven't tried any fish yet but I feel like this would be a great way to roast a large fillet.

Cleaning this cooker is also much easier than I expected.  It's got a heavy coating of non-stick and most of the juices stay in the meat.  The interior has parts that are easy to remove and wash.

The aroma coming off this rotisserie is heavenly! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

wordless wednesday

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chigger Creek

The little brook that runs beside my house is infested with nasty chiggers!  I can't go near the creek or fence line without some serious protection in the form of powerful bug repellent.  The gentle 'family' spray-on just won't do.   I already have 8 or more bites and the season has just begun.

What the heck is a chigger?  There alot of old wives tales around chiggers:  they burrow under your skin, they lay eggs in the whelp, or that they can be suffocated by applying nail polish.  None of these is true.  Their bites may feel like a parasite has entered your skin (and caused painful itchy bites that are slow to heal) but it's a feeding tube that the chigger has left behind.

Chiggers are actually larvae of scrub mites, and once they've matured their source of nutrition comes from plants.   They are extremely small - only 1/50th of an inch - which may explain where some of the old wives tales come from. Chiggers are attracted to concealed, moist areas on the host - attaching to sock line, waistband, groin or armpits.  You can greatly reduce your chances of getting bites if you shower immediately after outdoor activity.   Chiggers won't remain or live on clothing or inside your house, but the sooner you can shower the better.

When my brother visited, I warned him about Chigger Creek and made sure we had lots of heavy duty bug spray.

One day, Mike walked his dog down the creek and decided not to spray.  When he returned to the porch, one look at his thighs sent him into a panic.  He was covered with thousands of chiggers!  His upper thighs were crawling with so many chiggys he freaked - a quick shower, and he washed his clothes, bath towel, bath mat and bedding.  He suffered several bites, but it could have been much worse

Mike even went to great lengths to 'Raid' his vehicle before he left - still having a creepy feeling about it. We took some time and looked up info online, but he continued to be creeped out.  He kinda cut his trip short, and I can't really blame him on that.  His dog seemed to love Chigger Creek and was her favorite place to go.


Sorry to tell you this, Mike but the chiggers  much worse this year.  Not to worry . . . because I have a ready supply of repellent.  It's just one of those things about living in the country that you have to deal with

Saturday, May 26, 2012

CATurday standoff

Mimi and Bubba in a midnight stare down - first one flinches loses!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bowl Yer Brainz Out

My husband, Jody has updated my bowling gear :

 new Cyclone ball with fingertip grips and a custom (2-ball) bag!

My new CYCLONE ball has a burst of orange flame color streaking thru it with subtle purples on the cover stock.  It was drilled for me with fingertip grippers that make for a nice, snug fit.  I bowled 2 games yesterday to try to get a feel for it - but I can see it's gonna take time to master.  My previous ball was drilled with a conventional grip that allows fingers to be inserted farther into the ball.

My new bag is customized with my name on both sides and a large "C" on top.  The wheels are modified for stability and the structure of the compartments is reinforced for duribility.  Special thanks to my good friend Glenn Harvey ("The Bag Man") for all the work  he did on my gear bag.

Be sure to read my article "MEET THE BAG MAN" to learn more about Glenn
and the hundreds of bags he's worked on over the years.

I'm infused with new enthusiam for the sport.  Sometimes working at the bowling alley can dampen your fun when it comes to playing the game - but I think this new gear will bring my game back to life!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

recipe: KAVIN'S MAC

Kavin's Mac
preheat oven 350'

8 oz elbow macaroni
8 oz sour cream
8 oz small curd cottage cheese
16 oz grated cheddar cheese

boil macaroni for 9 minutes, drain
mix all ingredients well and bake in cassarole dish for 30 minutes

This is a favorite for my family - it's a nice alternative to the prepackaged mac N cheese

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

my Trail Name is Pokey

Since I'm not able to actually visit the Appalachian Trail right now, I decided a quick stop to their website might feed my cravings for natural surroundings.  I've been very fortunate to have hiked sections of the "AT" when I was in Girl Scouts.   Very pleased to see an article on their front page  about Girl Scouts on the trail - brings back so many wonderful memories.

We hiked, we sang, and we loved every minute of it.

The old trail songs we belched out at the top of our lungs are still fresh in my memory after 40 years.  I wonder if the girls from Troop 36 still remember these songs?  Well, I'm sure that my sister remembers them, because we've compared notes.  Every time we went hiking or camping with Girl Scouts we'd learn dozens of new songs.  I hope that tradition is still alive in the scouting experience.

I should tell my readers that I went thru a hat phase in my childhood, and would mostly wear my favorite 'badge' hat. It was a denim floppy hat with big panels that I had emblazoned with embroidery patches.  That hat was lost long ago.   I still indulge in hat-wearing as an adult - it's just not an every day event.
back row - 2nd from left

Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to return to the "AT" and bellow out some tunes.  I'll even retain my old trail name "Pokey".  See you on the trail?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

wordless wednesday

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wild Things: Rabbit

Rabbits can adapt to many environments and are known to inhabit open meadows, dense woods, forest, grasslands, desert and wetlands.  Long ears help the rabbit detect predators, and powerful hind legs help them evade capture.   Wild rabbits can have fur with mixed colors such as brown, gray and buff.  Their puffy tail might also fool a predator because the rear has so much movement.

As any rabbit can tell you, they are prey animals and constantly on alert!  Sometimes a rabbit might thump their hind feet on the ground when they perceive a threat.  Rabbits have a remarkable wide field of vision, making it very hard to sneak up on.

Did you know? that in one season a female rabbit can produce 800 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.   Because the mother rabbits milk is so nutritious, they only have to nurse their young for a few minutes once or twice a day.  Rabbits usually live about 10 years but the oldest recorded rabbit lived for 18 years.

 Difference between rabbits and hares:  rabbits have young that are born blind and hairless, whereas hares are born with hair and sight.

Rabbits have worked their way into many folklore and tales, and they're a favorite subject of my woodburning.

woodburned gourd

painted rock

woodburned plaque

WILD THINGS is a series of articles from Edge of the Wildwood about small furry animals of the forest.  Next up is:  skunk!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

flows like a fountain

Mallie and her fountain

In 2008, my family decided to get a fountain for Mama.  She had seen a fountain at the local store and commented that it might be nice to have it in her backyard. 

We like to surprise her - but let me tell you it's hard to!

The store only had one left (the display model) so they gave us a big discount.  My father, Gary used his trailer to deliver it, but Mama kept asking him why was he hooking it up?  What are you bringing through the side yard?  She was getting suspicious!

 It really stressed him out - so he finally had to spill the beans.

Mama was thrilled to see that he was bringing her the exact fountain that she saw in the store - and just at the right time to setup her garden.  I think we were as happy as she was!  Gary got off the hook, and we all get to enjoy it.

Gary, Chris and Nick set it up

We setup the new fountain where she wanted, taking pictures of it and giving our praise for the fountain.  We sat on her porch for hours admiring the fountain lights and enjoying the soft trickle sounds.  It's a great spot to pose for photos, and it has a central location in the garden.

Carey Lynn

The fountain takes alot of maintenance - and Gary is really good at keeping it flowing and glowing!  Seems like there's always cleaning, filling and lights that need to be replaced.

This would be a good time to say thank you to Gary, Mallie and Nick who keep the fountain project going.

Didn't really know what we were getting into, but it sure means alot to Mom.

Recently. my parents decided to update the 'topper'.  The original topper was a large pot, but wasn't exactly a great place for a live plant.  When that piece cracked, they gave the fountain new life with a darling golden angel statue.  It's a nice improvement, and we're so pleased to see that they still enjoy it!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

a begonia is born

Took on the project of planting a few containers around my yard, starting with some bodacious begonias in a terra cotta planter.

Fibrous Begonia needs about 3-6 hours of sun and daily watering.  Grows about 8 inches tall with blooms throughout the summer

I keep a few small containers on the side porch, and I don't mind watering  them as long as they're not 'hanging'

I moved on to a large iron pot that's partially buried on the southwest corner of the house.  I've been told that probably nothing will grow in an iron pot - but I'm stubborn, so I tried a perennial ground cover plant called Lamium.

The 'easy to grow' statement on the tag was what sold me on Lamium.

Next, I filled the large rectangular planters on the front porch (faces east) with hydragea macrophylla.  This is a good spot for a plant that prefers afternoon shade.  I wanted something showy and bushy that would have blooms that I could cut.

Digging out the dirt in the planters was the hard part, and just as I was finishing the task a big thunderstorm came through that lasted over 2 hours.

I chose all of these plants because they're low maintenance, they're hearty (that's garden-talk for they'll survive just about anything) and they bloom all summer.

Makes me want to grow more!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

more wine, please

My previous post on CHOCOLATE WINE promised a followup - the tasting!  So, here's a quick take on what to expect from this novelty product:

Aroma is strong!  Not a good selection to make if you'd rather not have alcohol on your breath.  Sweet and heavy notes, what you'd expect from cocoa.

Appearance is rich, creamy and solid.  Even on close inspection it still looks like chocolate milk in a wine glass.  What it lacks in elegance it makes up for in novelty.

Taste is better than expected!  At first, I was a bit repulsed by the thick consistency of the product.  But. after a few sips, I found myself rather liking the flavor.

I would recommend this wine for a special occasion, because it would be unique as an event to remember.  It might also work for a romantic evening with decadent food:)   If you are offered Chocolate wine, why not give it try?  You might like.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

wordless wednesday

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

scooter mania

Can you get 120 MPG??? yuppers.

My sister, Kelly and my father, Gary want you to know that scooterin' is good fun.  They found matching scooters at a reasonable price...Kelly got the powder blue (calls it "Bennie and the Jets")  Gary got the candy red one (named it "Rocket Man")

Truth is we can't get them off the scooter now!  Got a top speed of about 45 mph and loads of backroads to travel and explore.  Gary loves to take 'Rocket' the 2 miles to work.  Kelly takes 'Bennie' out for errands and sightseeing.

Note:  you cannot carry a 24 pack of toilet paper on yer scooter

Kelly's favorite part of scooterin' is having people wave at you - feels like a celebrity!

Gary's favorite part of scooterin' is passing by all those gas stations!

Scooters is fun LOL

I'm sure to have more scooter mania stories to pass along . . . watch for motorcycles

Monday, May 07, 2012

Wild Things: Raccoon

"The one who takes everything into its hands" is of course, the raccoon!..  Large bands on their bushy tails and streaks on their face make this forest creature easy to spot.  Raccoons are known for their intelligence - and studies have shown them to remember a 'solution' to a simple task for up to three years later.

The collective noun for a group of raccoon is a 'gaze' and baby coons are called 'kits'   Raccoons are typically about 20lbs. but there can be a huge difference in weight  depending on the habitat:  from a tiny 4lbs. up to 62lbs. (largest ever recorded). 

Here's a fun fact about raccoons: they are able to climb down a tree head first!  They turn their hind legs around for grip.  Very unusual for a mammal of this size.

Touchy! Well, we know the tendancy for this creature to handle everything with their paws - turns out there's a good reason for it.  Two-thirds of a raccoon's brain is dedicated to touch (more than any other studied animal).  They can actually identify an object BEFORE touching it, thanks to tiny special whiskers near their claws.

WILD THINGS is a series of articles on Edge of the Wildwood about small forest creatures. 
Our next profile will be:    RABBIT!

handpainted rock by WILDWOOD

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