Sunday, August 30, 2009

Farmville

I recently got peer-pressured into joining Facebook. In some ways, it's like being in a big room, where everyone is shouting out what their thinking, and occasionally you respond and might even have a short conversation. But mostly it's people blurting out what ever is on their mind, hoping to get something going, or just staying in touch. It's interesting to suddenly be in touch with so many friends and acquaintances, and know what everyone is up to, even if you haven't talked to them lately. Like our friend Gary in Yakima, who we usually just catch up with at Christmastime, now I know what he's up to every day, and vice-versa.



Then my farmer/4H friends got on Facebook, and suddenly everyone was playing Farmtown or Farmville. I finally gave in on that too. I signed up for Farmville, and actually, it's kind of cute. That's a picture of my little farm. I wish my real-life farm was so easy! However I've never had coins pop up out of the ground while plowing in real life. And when I give my friends a real gift, I have to pay for it. Also, although I don't have a fence up, my livestock have not raided the gardens or peeled all the bark off the trees - they'll do that in real life, you know!

It's fun to see what different people's farms look like, one of my friends has nothing but animals on his farm, and he has them packed in like sardines, so there is a whole battalion of chickens, in perfect rows, pecking the ground in unison, with one confused duck in the middle of it all :) Very cute! Meanwhile, in real life, I spent this morning trying to figure out how one of my young hens kept escaping the coop before she got chased by the dogs!

Of course, nothing is free. There are ads down the side of the pages, and you are encouraged to join your other friends up in order to expand your farm. Also you can buy credits for your farm with real $$, or you can click on ads and sign up for stuff and get paid farm dollars. That's one thing if you wanted to do Netflix anyway, but tying it into a game like that kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But you don't have to do any of those things, you can just play and ignore all that other stuff.

Still, it's interesting to see how this company has set up a game which you must return to every day, or several times a day depending on what you plant, else your crops will wither, and so they guarantee return visits for their advertisers, and offer you credits to get you to visit advertisers, plus they'll just outright take your cash in return for credits if you want. Multiple revenue streams, and guaranteed return visits, and in return the users get to play a cute, addictive little game. It's quite a setup they have going.

BTW, I should mention that since I use Firefox with AdBlocker, I didn't even realize there was advertising on Facebook until Dave pointed it out on his computer (which uses IE). AdBlocker is sweet!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicken parmasian

Last night I found myself with a countertop full of tomatoes that were heading downhill, so I needed to use them up quick. I decided to go for Chicken Parmasian, one of Dave's favorites.

Saute an onion, some garlic, and a couple bay leaves until soft. I also added some mild peppers because I also had too many of those and needed to use them up. Then I cut up the tomatoes (cut off the soft spots and gave that to the chix), and added them along with a big handful of basil. then boiled that down until it was thick. I added a bit of salt and pepper, and a spoonful of brown sugar. it was PERFECT! And almost everything in the pot was fresh off local farms, except the onion and bay leaves. Even the garlic was local. The taste was spectacular!Yum!

Of course the chicken part involves pounding flat some chicken breast (or butterflying one big one), using a flour - egg - breadcrumbs breading, and browing them in olive oil. Then I pulled the chicken out of the iron pan I was browing it in, added some of the tomato sauce, put the chicken back in and poured the rest of the sauce around it. Grate a generous amount of parmasian on top. Pop it in a 450 oven for 15 while the noodles cook. YUM!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chicken update with a new addition

The chickens are doing fine, look how big the older batch of chicks have gotten. You can't hardly tell them from the adults! Big Red had taken her chicks on a field trip, so she missed out on the scratch.
Penny and baby Penny (I'm afraid baby Penny might be a roo)
I saw someone on CL looking for a blue cochin roo. Since I had two of them, I offered her one, so she traded me this baby white cochin hen. I have her in the tractor so I can make sure she's healthy before I put her in with the rest of the flock.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cute and fuzzy

 My camera does a terrible job in low light situations. It's happy to flash and give it a shot, but the results are usually blurry. These pictures are cute anyway...

Barclay often plays hard until he is what we call 'stupid-tired', where he's tired, but he just won't lay down and take a nap so he keeps running around doing destructive stuff, barking, and being annoying until I lift him up on my lap, and he'll just flop over against my chest like this. That seems to throw a switch, because after a few minutes I can set him down and he'll flop over for a nap. I swear he's ADD.

Then later he was napping in the living room when Mouse came up to him...



And gave him a little face-bath. Aww, how cute! Considering he likes to pounce on her and drag her around by the scruff, they seem to have a special relationship. They just like to play rough!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Mustang

My little pony has been sitting in the driveway under a tarp and a cover for a couple years. Last week I gave away my unfinished boat project, and now I just need to get the garage cleaned up and roll the Mustang back in there and get to work on it. I can work on anything that doesn't require money. I'm sure there's something I can get started on. So today I uncovered it to give me some inspiration to get working.

I also started a blog for it at

http://stephaniesmustang.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'd stay on that hand!

21?! Tell the dealer you'll stay!


And the other guy at the table only has a bone! He doesn't even know what game we're playing! Hang in there Barclay, you'll take the pot!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pizza time!


It used to be we couldn't have pizza unless we had a pre-made crust handy. However, I seem to have conquered that problem with recipes off the 'net, and a little practice. Check out my home-made crust! Look at the lift on that thing! I'm so proud!

I used this recipe AllRecipes - Jay's Signature Pizza Crust (I really like the AllRecipes site because people comment on the recipes and often they will give good tips.)

Last time I made it I used some yeast that had gotten old, and it didn't get much lift. This time I used a fresh packet of yeast, and it really puffed up nicely. I got interrupted after I rolled it out and fitted it to the pan and it got a second rise before I got around to cooking it, but it was still light and chewy and very good! I had no idea pizza crust could be so easy! Why have I been relying on other people to make my pizzas all this time?

Crockpot Pork Chops

Yesterday I was faced with nothing in the freezer except some pork chops we had scored out of the 'cheap meat' section a couple weeks ago, and a very busy day ahead. I had gone to the farmer for another basket of veggies on Sunday, and so I had a lot of veggies on hand, including baby carrots and scallions, and a couple BIG handfuls of tiny red potatoes, most of them under an inch to an inch and a half tops. When she gave them to me she suggested they would be perfect for a stew.

So I put the scallions in the bottom of the crock pot, trimmed the carrots and put them in next, washed the potatoes and put them on top, and then thawed the pork in the microwave and laid it over the veggies. I added a half cup of white wine, and a half cup of chicken broth. Salt and pepper on the pork, and closed it up to cook for 8 hours. It was fantastic! The pork was falling apart, the baby potatoes were firm but not mushy, same with the carrots. I drained off the liquid in the bottom and thickened it with a little cornstarch and it made a tasty gravy. Yum! The crockpot saves the day again!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The runt of the litter

I let Big Red and her chicks out of the chicken tractor today. It was getting a bit crowded in there, and I didn't want them standing around in their own poop. They were happy to get out and explore again.


This little guy is the runt of the litter (or 'clutch', since they're birds). Notice he's fallen behind while the others have gotten bigger and started getting feathers. He was always small though, I noticed it even when they were tiny.


We'll see how the little guy does.


The other hen has just about given up 'mothering' her chicks - they are almost as big as her!

My favorite is baby Penny


or Baby Big Bird, the little Roo



You can tell the baby roos because they are getting the red comb and wattles on their head, and their tails look different, while the girls have almost no wattles at all. Though as you can see from the adult hens, they do eventually have combs, just not as spectacular as the roosters.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Etouffee!

I really enjoy watching Tyler's Ultimate on Food Network. I have made several recipes I saw there, and they have been very good, so I save them up on the DVR for when I have evenings Dave won't be around to complain about me 'cooking something weird'. Last night I decided to try the Chicken and Sausage Etouffee - a thick and slightly spicy chicken and sausage soup.

I looked up the recipe before I left work so I could swing by the store and get anything I was missing, and the recipe called for a bottle of beer for deglazing the pan. I don't drink, so I know nothing about beer. At the store the beer aisle is quite long and there are lots of varieties. I finally picked one that sounded like a good beer - didn't want to ruin it with cheap beer!

So I got home and started cooking and following along the tv show, and on the show instead of deglazing the pan with the beer, he said to DRINK it while the roux was browning! I think perhaps there was a miscommunication between the show producers and the recipe writer :)

The etouffee was delicious! Dave even liked it for a late dinner when he got home. Now, what am I going to do with that extra bottle of beer?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bullriding Video

An evening at the County Fair

Every year we say we are going to go to the fair and see the bullriding competition. This year we finally made it. We went early, visited our friends who were showing their llamas in open class, had a look at the goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits and cows, looked at the exhibits in the fiber sections, avoided a clown, ate deep fried dinner while watching teen-age boys showing off to teenage girls by doing back-flips off of a garbage can, and finally settled down at the grandstand with some roasted cashews and a bag of carmel corn to watch the big event...

When the ambulance showed up, and parked with it's doors open and ready, we knew we were in for a show!





The bulls are HUGE, and some of them are quite angry! Even after they had disposed of their rider they ran around looking for someone else to rough up - maybe a clown or one of the ropers in the ring. It was great watching the guys scurry up onto the fence as the bulls came by looking for someone to 'hook up' with :)


As the evening wore on it got dark, and the lights from the midway were beautiful. The weather was perfect and despite the clouds it was a warm summer night.

Afterwards we walked the midway and enjoyed the whirling lights and watched the people staggering off of the rides. There is a ride called the slingshot that shoots people on a bungie cord high into the air - like ten stories or something - it's insane!

And there are the regular tame rides like the giant ferris wheel. I'd love to see how they set it up and take it down. It doesn't seem possible that in a week this will be a big empty parking lot for another year. I'm glad we took the time to go enjoy the fair(usually I just do the 4H stuff and go home) we had a great time!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My boy, the card shark

We brought home a deck of cards from our trip to Vegas a year or so ago, and left them on the table in the front room where Barclay discovered then. Once he'd devoured one card, the deck was ruined, so there was nothing to do but leave them there, and he regularly steals another one to chew up, or he'll fetch one so he has something in his mouth to greet us at the door when we come home.


Oh, a 2, you'll never win with that one...


Happy boy!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Barclay and Mouse

Thursday, August 06, 2009

German oven baked apple pancake

I made this for breakfast this morning, using the instructions on this blog post

http://athomewiththefarmerswife.blogspot.com/2009/08/german-oven-baked-apple-pancake.html

So easy, and so delicious! I recommend giving it a try :)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Five Star Farms


I did a website for Five Star Farms in Brush Prairie, WA. I advertised earlier this year that I wanted to do website work for small farmers and they could pay me in produce (I knew I wasn't going to be doing much gardening), and this is the only person who took me up on it. So she paid me with a basket of veg last weekend - tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, onions, red and BLUE potatoes, beets, peppers, baby carrots, and probably something else I'm forgetting. All fresh and from her farm or her partner's farms (they've teamed up to provide enough variety to keep customers happy. So this week I've had tacos with peppers and onions, lettuce and tomatoes, BLT sandwiches, homemade pizza (hand made crust with fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden), homemade spaghetti sauce and pasta with steamed baby carrots, steamed green beans, I just can't hardly figure out what to do with it all!

It all tastes so much better than the stuff from the store - the tomatoes taste more tomato-y, the carrots taste more carrot-y, the green beans taste more beany! It's all so good! I wish we could eat fresh produce year-around. The growing season is too short!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Around the chickenyard

We had a little incident yesterday with our 'escape artist' chickens. I didn't notice one had got out and we went out with the dogs, and Dioji ran into her, so he and Barclay cornered her under the bushes and it was all I could do to hold Dioji back. Meanwhile Barclay had her by the tail and she was screaming and squawking, and Jack was trying to get in on the action. Dave heard the commotion and came out to help, and I put her in the extra chicken tractor in the other part of the backyard away from the dogs, then I added another runaway this morning, and her sister who was broody and needed to get off the nest anyway. So I have three hens in this tractor. Hopefully there won't be any more dog incidents.


Inside the orchard fence, the other tractor is a nursery.

Big Red and her ten happy chicks. Occasionally one escapes and runs around the tractor peeping because it can't figure out how to get back in. So I'll catch them (a big fishing net helps) and put them back. I'm hoping they'll outgrow the holes they are sneaking out through soon!

Baby rooster on the chair

Working on his cock-a-doodle-doos :)

More Dioji

Dioji is doing well with these strange creatures we call 'cats'. Obviously they aren't afraid of him.


Lots of roughhousing. Barclay loves it!



Monday, August 03, 2009

Houseguest - Dioji

Our friends Brian and Merilee had a family thing to go to this week, and Dioji the Golden Retriever needed a place to crash, so we said 'bring him on over!' He's a sweetie, and since all the dogs are friendly (except Alki, who sends out bug-off vibes just fine) we figured they could have fun playing together. Seems to be working out fine so far :)





Barclay likes to chase and be chased, and wrestling. Dioji wasn't sure how to play with him, and he even scared Barclay a couple times by barking at him (sending him running back to me until he felt brave enough to go play again). But Jack and Barclay gave him a demonstration of their favorite play style. You can see him studying them intently! And they had a couple scuffles over toys. They're like teenage boys - one minute they are partners in crime, next thing you know someone is howling because they got punched. But overall it's been great and everyone seems to be having a good time.

Sunset Falls


On Sunday Barclay and I took a drive out to Sunset Falls. Sunset Falls is the closest NFS campground, and I was wondering if it would be a nice place to take the trailer to for a weekend, since it's only about 20 miles away. Because of the economy we haven't had the trailer out all year! Barclay enjoyed wading in the cool water, and even stepped into an unexpectedly deep pool and had to paddle a bit. Unfortunately we didn't have the place to ourselves.

I shouldn't have been surprised to find tons of people, car alarms going off, radios blaring, basically all the things you head to the forest to get away from! Still, people can be interesting sometimes...

In the fall we have been here and watched salmon jumping up this waterfall. Now in the heat of summer the waterfall was much smaller, and people were wading around and jumping into the pool below.

Wheeeeee! File this under 'things I will NEVER do'!
(though there's a part of me that wishes otherwise)

Straight across the pool was a steep dirt path people were also using to run down and jump into the pool. This guy got a pretty impressive canonball going.

The rocks were very pretty with the water rushing by.

I liked this leaf and it's shadow in a still pool.