Monday, August 31, 2009

OHHHH MMMM GEEEE *PLEASE VOTE!!!!*

Sorry- not the most-exciting post, despite the title. *BUT- IF YOU READ THIS POST, PLEASE VOTE!!!*

1) We've been without constant Internet at the hizzie for almost 2 weeks. I officially hate Time Warner Cable. Hate is not a strong-enough word.
2) I'm SO SO SO far behind on my NC wine posts its RIDICULOUS!!! I think my tongue and desire for wine have out-lived my finger's desire to type.
3) There is ENTIRELY WAY TOO MUCH CRAP to try and begin to post.
4) I'm intoxicated, what else is new?
5) I visited a local winery with Skinny & RNH. Can't WAIT to blog about it! (If I can find time!)
6) I almost got killed by a Bobcat, seriously, a wild cat. And to top it all off, it would have been a naked murder...
7) Little baby chickies were hatched today in Ohio, and they are coming to me here in North Carolina via the US Postal Service... Scary huh?
8) I'm going to the Queen City for Labor Day weekend, so AGAIN, no time to post!!!

Ugh. So much is going on, so much wine has been drunk, and Time Warner Cable is all to blame for keeping you out of the loop. I will attempt at going back in time to re-capture the necessary details of all of the numbered items above. But for now, the most important thing is I need you to vote.

*Please Vote For One of the Following:*

1) Kill (via rifle), a (scary and dangerous) Bobcat, that will kill your pet Chloe-the-kitty (the sweetest lap-kitty you've ever met), and six baby chickies that you've got mailed to you from Ohio....), have it stuffed and placed above your mantle in a very cool (slash redneck) way, for all of your visitors and over-night guests to admire

-----------------------------OR-------------------------------

2) Spend several painstaking hours on the phone trying to locate the extension agent or wildlife/game expert in the area, to come to your house on a day you're available) to humanely trap the dangerous and vicious Bobcat, to have it relocated to another area where it can live in peace.


Please vote. Your vote will be a difference between life and death for a living creature. Just keep this in mind. Also keep in mind while voting, we don't give a damn about your vote. There is a Bobcat season with NO bag limits... and we WILL kill the damn thing. Okay sorry. Yes, please vote. We'd love to read your responses.

And something for you to look forward to: the reason behind the Bobcat. A very serious and very scary read for anyone.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Introducing.... Mrs. K!!!

I have this friend, Mrs. K, who is incredibly talented and creative! She is the one from the oh-so-famous Book Swap party, and other fun "outings" that I've blogged about (I just didn't openly mention her!) But now she has her own blog of the most "Coolest Stuff Ever!"

I think this is pretty cool for the following reasons:

1) Mrs. K is extremely creative and does amazing work on whatever creative thing she is doing at the moment.
2) Mrs. K has awesome ideas.
3) To have Mrs. K's right-brain (isn't that the creative side!??! Sheesh- I guess I don't have the left or right side!) and for her to think something else is just the "coolest thing ever" makes it really, the coolest thing ever!!!
4) Plus, if you know her- she's just a totally fun person!

Anyways- check out her blog- she's got cool stuff!!!

Also- I'm excited that she has a blog because from here on out, I can now mention her as "Mrs. K." Instead of "a friend of mine, blah blah blah!" And, even more exciting: we planned the Extravaganza of the year for ourselves!!! It will include a trip to the mountains, tons of silly happenings along the way, plus a possible vineyard and picnic lunch via mountain top! How cool is that?!?!?

And for entertainment purposes:
Myself and Mrs. K at her Book Swap Party at the beginning of the summer! Yes, we had a few too many drinks and we're crawling around in the grass! Too fun!



Another fun pic of Myself & Mrs. K!

At Least I'm Skinny, The Coolest Stuff EVER, and The Wife of a Fabulous Redneck. And despite our annonymous pics- I promise, we're pretty people!!!

Running Around Like a Chicken, With My Head On

Yes, we've been busy. Sorry for the lack of posts. But this is the most important update on our lives, seriously...

RNH said "yes,"to my begging for chickens. I want chickens so bad. Seriously. I want them because they're cool, because they make good pets, because they're different, because they actually have personality, and most of all, because they can give me an omelet, or a stuffed breast. Yup, I said it. Why not have a pet (or 2... or 4...) that can give back to you? If I had my way, I'd have one of every animal. One cat (check!), one dog (in the works... gotta convince RNH!), one chicken (or more, because what kind of flock is a "flock of one?"), one goat, one cow, one horse, one donkey, etc, etc. That would be my dream. RNH settles for a flock of chicken. Not only are they cheap, but they give back.

RNH grew up spending a lot of time at his grandma's house. She raised Road Island Reds, (which they say are the best breed out there.) When it comes time for us to buy a house and land, I think to myself yes, this would be perfect for dogs, cats, chickens, etc. Knowing realistically, it'd be a stretch if I got chickens. Surprisingly, my wish came true, and I really didn't even have to beg!

The best part about this whole thing is that the coop is pretty much free. Behind our tobacco barn, we've got stacks and stacks of pallets that the original home owner left behind. The pallets have been covered by tarps and there is some pretty good wood under there. We decide to dig out all of the good wood, separate it from the pallets, and construct a coop, for free, out of the wood.

We've started and this is what we've got: a frame, so far.

We went out to Lowes and spent about $30 on the hinges, screws and chicken wire for the coop. Not too bad for building a chicken house! The house isn't too big since we're going to get a small amount of chickens. This has definitely made it easier to build!

I'll keep you updated on our progress! The picture above is just the "framework" that we've got together so far. The biggest problem that I've noticed so far is, no one sells chickens. I've been looking on the interent mostly. I'm thinking next time I head to the feed store, I need to ask them where the is the best place for me to buy some RIRs! (Oh, and by the way- I want to raise them from 2-3 days old so it will "imprint" on them that I am their mother! I looked into hatching them from eggs, which would be nice, but you have to turn them at least three times a day, otherwise you'll get deformed chickens! That's too much for me right now! I wonder if I can purchase from the NC State Fair?)

On another note: While we build this coop, we have to keep in mind that predators, such as 5 foot long black snakes, must NOT be able to penetrate the borders!!!! :)

Hinnant Vineyards- Strawberry

Let me preface this by saying "I'm drunk." Yes, I am. Sorry. It's Biltmore's Riesling's fault, so the rest should be clear as mud.

I've got another Hinnant Vineyard wine for you. Strawberry. Let me tell you, DELISH! I think strawberries are easily my favorite fruit. I love anything strawberry. This wine just adds to the list of yummy things.
The bouquet smells of a rich strawberry jam. It makes me want to eat a biscuit, before I've even tried it. Oh wait- did I tell you this? I've never had strawberry wine. "Really?" you say? After Deanna Carter's Song? "Strawberry Wine." Still- never had it? Yup. Never. Isn't it weird how songs can make you want to try a certain activity, food or drink? I guess its the way America is socialized by Pop Culture. Does this mean if I listen to Eminem I'm immediately going to want to go out and shoot someone? No. Those people are idiots and wanted to do it in the first place.

Wow. How did I get on that? Yeah... Back to Deanna Carter's "Strawberry Wine." Gosh I love that song. It can really take you back to a special place and time! (Even if you haven't had strawberry wine before!)

"He was working through college on my grandpa's farm
I was thirsting for for knowledge and he had a car
I was caught somewhere between a woman and a child
When one restless summer we found love growing wild
On the banks of the river on a well beaten path
Funny how those memories they last

Like strawberry wine and seventeen
The hot July moon saw everything
My first taste of love oh bittersweet
Green on the vine Like strawberry wine"

Ahhhh yesssss... Strawberry wine. Seeing as how this is my first taste, I really don't have anything to compare it to. However, my first sense is of course from my nose. (I learned that 75% of your senses (when wine drinking!) come from your nose, and immediately when smelling this wine's bouquet, I smell strawberry jam. Which is my fav! I am immediately impressed.

The wine is a delicious bounty of strawberries. There is no hint of tannins, meaning no puckering in the side of your mouth. The pallet is full of strawberries, with nothing extra to add. And it doesn't need it. I am in love.

I love strawberries. I love the way they make me think of summer. I love Hinnant's Strawberry Wine. Oh, and Deanna Carter of course!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Duplin Vineyards- Hatteras Red


I will be honest with you, I'm getting very irritated. I am obsessed with muscadine wines, as mentioned before. Duplin and other vineyards make tons of different varieties of muscadine wines, but I cannot tell the difference. So therefore, I'll mention again... I'm dying to visit Duplin so I can become educated on what makes each bottle and type different. Each bottle is to die for. Literally.

RNH and I love Duplin so much, I think we're going to join their wine club. I have to do some research on it.

Anyways- Hatteras Red is RNH's favorite bottle. Why? He can't tell me. He knows as much as I do- nothing!
Hatteras Red is again, wonderfully delicious. A wonderful bouquet of fruit and it has a small hint of a bite on the front. The bite is much less than the Carolina Scuppernong that I blogged about before.

So basically this post- and any other posts about Duplin Wines will be pointless, until I can learn about the differences in the wines. I really want to learn!

On another note: this is RNH's choice of drink. While I'm pretending to be "sophisticated" (when really I'm just turning into a wine-o with a regionally specific habit... He chooses to drink a "fawty." And yes, he calls it this. His stomach hurt the next day. I mean, come'on what did he expect, its called "Schlitz" for a reason...!!!

And here is my attempt at being sophisticated. Yes, I got dressed up to sit on my couch and drink wine. In my defense, we were going to Walmart later that night. (In reality, I had been sweaty and "geared-up" in my swamp clothes and just wanted to feel pretty and feminine for once!

And on another note, we visited the Raleigh Road Drive-In again tonight. It was a blast as usual. We saw G-Force and GIJOE. Both were great movies but I must say I'm a sucker for funny kids movies. I LOVED G-Force! A crazy thing about the two times we've been to Henderson, NC to go to the drive-in. Each time, we've had a near-death experience with other drivers on the road. The last time we met a drunk that pulled out in front of us and decided to swerve all over the road, run a red light and nearly wreck into a poll. Tonight it was a jack-a** that decided he was going to run a red-light. Thankfully I was watching. "He's really not going to stop is he????" I was sitting in the middle of the intersection, not wanting to pull out any further and risk RNH being smashed into smithereens. The driver saw at the last second that he was going to run the red light. I watched as the front end of his car as it almost dug into the ground as he slammed on his brakes and the tires smoked. Funny thing about both incidents- they were thugged-out cars, full of people. RNH and I vowed to never come to this town unless it was for the drive-in or to see his great-uncle. That town is a ghetto death-trap!!!

And I also hit an opossum on the way home. I almost hit another one, and a dog. Maybe I should just stay off the road?

Wines coming your way- Old State Winery's Chardonnay, Hinnant Vineyard's Strawberry Wine, Silver Coast's Calabash White. YUM!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

All Dried Up

I was supposed to be over 100 degrees today, but RNH and I ventured out anyways. We don't like staying indoors much, so we decided to venture down to the swamp. Neither one of us had been down there in a while, and it would be a fun adventure to go on. So we put on our waders and took off towards the woods.

There is a usual path that we take each time we venture into the swamp. We travel down a path that is marked by deer rubbings and hoof prints, where the brush is already trodden down for us somewhat. We make it down the hill and the land sort of magically turns into a muddy mess. That is, if it wasn't in the dead of summer. This time going down there, everything was dried up. The usual mud was almost crunchy under-foot and the dead limbs were more like driftwood than fallen sticks. This made walking through the swamp much easier, because there were parts where even the swamp grass hadn't grown because it was too dry.


We finally make it to the usual spot at the river where we fish for bass, brim and catfish. When we arrived- much to our surprise- the river was like a desert. Well, compared to what it usually looks like. Usually we'd tread carefully around the edges of the river and swamp grasses or plants because if not, we'd fall into the deep waters. This time, we had a huge sandy beach to walk on!

The logs that usually make the best catfish beds are now exposed out of the water. The water is murkey because its sat still so long, no longer flowing. A few fish are jumping, but they seem to be jumping for air, to get out of the muck and looking for fresh water to swim to. The river looks sad and deserted. The beaver that scared the crap out of me a few months ago is not around.

There is a sort of "peninsula" that juts out in the middle of the river. During the spring and fall the swamp grass and cattails grow really well here. Now, the grasses look burnt to a crisp. I was pretty excited about this because RNH and I were able to wade through the river, to the peninsula, and across to the sandy bank on the other side. I have never been on the other side of the river and I have always wanted to check it out. Finally I had my chance!



Once we got across we checked out the field beyond the river. Standing on the other side of the river didn't give me quite the thrill I was thinking it would. I was imagining a small farm house on the other side, and could even imagine an old lady that lived in it. She is lonely and wants some young people to visit her. She would be a wealth of knowledge in farming and cooking the best stuff I'd ever tasted. She would want us to bring the boat down to the river so we could visit her often. RNH might even build a bridge for us to walk over easily. But that's just silly. Its a field. And yes, there is a farm house, but I already knew that. And if we ever tried to walk up there and meet our neighbors, we run the risk of getting shot! I think I'll pass on meeting the old granny I imagined being up there!

We checked out the field and then crossed back over to our land.
After checking out the "other side" we decide to explore some more since the only fish that are biting are these 1/2 pound catfish. Instead of walking more down the river, we were feeling brave and decided it'd be a good idea to go through the swamp. Awesome.
Thankfully RNH is "packin" and he feels its necessary for him to go first and protect me from any big scary monsters. Or slithery monsters! And of course I don't mind this at all, and he gets the brunt of all the hanging spider webs! He bravely trudges in and I follow. We don't hear a sound (as in slithering noises that snakes make!) although, with the waist-high grasses and the noises we're making, I doubt we'd be able to hear them if they were there!

We walk about halfway through the swamp and find the duck blind we used this past fall. We could barely find it because it was surrounded by all sorts of grasses and swamp plants. RNH of course had to check it out and get down on his knees like he was really hunting.

After his bit of reminiscing, we moved on and went further into the swamp. This time it was a bit easier because the harsh sun had dried up the grasses. Like really dried them up. We were able to walk on out across this large area where swamp grasses usually grew over our heads. We walked right on out to the end of the river, where the river meets the swamp and survey the surroundings. We also staked out a few spots that would be good for hunting this fall.
At this point we are no longer on our land. We are on Mr. Haye's. But Mr. Hayes doesn't live on the land, there is a small house where he grew up, and he brings his mother from the nursing home to the house on the weekends. When he brings her, he also does some work around the land or even goes hunting. Mr. Hayes said we could go on his land all we wanted, just as long as we look out for it and make sure no one starts hunting there without his permission.

On the other side of the river, someone else owns the land. And we think they're getting ready for hunting season too. A decoy was set out (which at first we thought was one of ours that we had left out all summer-long!), reeds were pushed down and out of the way to make for hunting areas, and a beaver dam had been broken to allow water to flow through.
We were surprised to see all of these changes, and were just hoping that the people on the other side of the river don't interfere with our hunting this fall! Hopefully they'll just be some rednecks like us trying to get a meal and having a fun time while doing it! Maybe we can make friends with them and they'll let us use their 4-wheelers! Now that would be ideal!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summertime Heat

I swear, North Carolina gets so frickin hot. And I love it. So hot, you can't even step outside for a minute without sweating. So hot, that all you want to do is sit inside all day and watch tv or eat ice pops.

This has actually been a problem with RNH and I. We've been dying to get outside, back into the woods. Thankfully I've had canning to keep me busy, but RNH hasn't had much to do. His beloved X-Box 360 crashed and he's having to send it back to Microsoft. So instead he's been playing the Sim City computer game I bought a long time ago.

A quick note about the Sims. When the computer game first came out, I was super excited. I went and bought it as soon as I had the money. When I came home and uploaded the game, I was very disappointed. Something was wrong with my game. The people were speaking some sort of gibberish. Instead of speaking English, they were speaking a different language I had never heard. Russian maybe? Who knows. But I took that game back where I got it and explained the situation to the clerk. "This game is broken. The people are speaking non-English." She was polite and gave me a new game. When I got it home, I realized that they were speaking "Sims" language. Not a foreign one. And the game wasn't broken. Dangit. I thought the little people would talk to each other. Thankfully the clerk at the store had never played Sims, or was maybe just not wanting me to feel like an idiot. Anyways...

Back to the topic at hand- heat. The path down to the woods, the "cow path" (because a long time ago cows used it), has been swarming, and I mean swarming with deer flies. These horrible little bugs land on you and suck your blood! Thankfully I have not experienced that yet, but they swarm around your head to the point that you think you are literally going to go insane. We've done a lot of research on how to make them disappear, but I learned that for 4 to 6 weeks, these little bugs thrive in the heat of the day. Ugh. The websites suggest wearing bug spray (which doesn't help), or a hat that has netting around it, and even suggests taping sticky fly tape to the hat to catch the darn things. What? I know this is the woods and no one is going to see me, but I am not going to wear a netted hat with fly paper all over it!
RNH and I go down the dreaded path yesterday and to our surprise, the deer flies are almost completely gone! There are a total of 2 flies that won't leave us alone. I can deal with two. The only problem with them, is that they followed us the entire time in the woods. Probably for at least 20 minutes. I thought I was going to loose it and freak out. I hate those darn things!
Anyways- RNH found a creepy beetle bug.

The baby spike that someone had killed and not eaten. It ended up wandering onto our land and bleeding out. Its sad when they shoot the wrong deer, like a baby male deer, and instead of trying to track it, they just let it run off somewhere and slowly die. Now its just bones!

We were talking to our neighbor, Charles, a few weeks ago about the heat. He was saying that the swamp areas can dry up in the summer so much, that you can drive your truck across the land. Well, he ain't jokin'! When we went down to a different part of the swamp, we could tell that if we had been in another drought this year, it is probably true! The swamp was only a few feet deep and not very wide across. We actually caught a few small catfish- but give it a few weeks with no rain, those fish will be nothing but bones!
A raccoon is having a hay-day down there eating something and washing it in the swamp!

While we were down there, a storm came rolling in. The thunder was pretty loud, and it actually put a cool breeze through the trees. I could have stayed out there forever with that breeze blowing, but RNH (being smart) decided we should pack up and head in. (Of course we never ended up getting any of the rain from those clouds... it just blew on over us like we don't need any rain!)
We decided to pop out in the field above us instead of trudging back through the woods. The field is owned by the people next to us. Actually no one lives in the house on the land. An old lady used to, but now she is in a nursing home and her son brings her here on the weekends. When he brings her he does work on the land or goes hunting. Recently he built a structure for the grapes to climb on out of huge cedar trees. It is a beautiful structure, and guess what kind of grapes are growing... muscadine!!! I'm so jealous, and will probably sneak over there when they're ready to eat a few!

The storm was rolling pretty good, so we headed back to the house.
Once we got back to the house it was obvious that the storm was blowing over. So we decided to check out the pear tree. It is loaded! So of course, we picked a few!

We actually picked a lot more than this. I have no clue what kind of pear tree it is, but the ripe pears taste very good! The skin is a lot chewier than the kind of pears you buy in a grocery store. I'm hoping to be able to cut them up and boil them to make them softer and possibly make some preserves or something. I'm not sure if it will be worth all of the effort. Especially because these pears are a lot smaller than ones you'd buy in a store. But heck, they were free. I might as well try to use them!

After picking some pears I begged RNH to help me put up the hammock that we got as a wedding present. We went down to the pond and put it up there. I laid in that thing for probably almost 2 hours and read my book from the bookswap party. (Which by-the-way. the Book Return party is coming up soon! I gotta get to reading!!!) So I laid in the hammock, despite the heat, and watched the turtles floating in the pond. I stared at them and wished I could be cooled down in the water, and they stared right back wondering what that brightly colored thing hanging from the trees was. It was a perfect way to end the day outside. I can't wait for the temperature to drop a little more. Then I'll be out in that hammock all the time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Duplin Vineyards- Carolina Scuppernong

This is the mack-daddy, of all mack-daddies. Seriously.

Duplin Winery makes some of the best wines in North Carolina. And I will probably tell you that all muscadine or scuppernong wines are my favorite. That's because they pretty much are- I am obsessed with that type of grape! But this wine takes the cake on all of the ones that I've had so far. I will always come back to this bottle when I want a good scuppernong wine.
First of all, it is appealing to the eye because it comes in a very apple-green colored bottle, which can spike your curiosity. Let me tell you, you won't be disappointed!
The wine itself is a very pretty gold color and smells of wonderful fruity, flowery bouquet. It has a very light, crisp taste that leaves your taste buds begging for more!
I love how it has a very flavorful fruitiness on the front of the tongue, with a ever-so-slight hint of a pepper bite on the back. The bite is barely noticeable and I think adds a crisp to the taste. It is absolutely delicious. When I take a sip of this wine, I feel like I'm sitting on the back of an old Southern plantation house in a beautiful dress and large floppy hat, watching a horse and carriage trot by. Or maybe I'm just sitting around a bunch of citronella plants on my back deck, listening to country radio and watching the bats flitter around the light looking for its next meal.

Either way- I am obsessed with this wine!
On another note: I briefly mentioned our stop by the Duplin Winery after our Kamping Excursion, and I'm just dying to really visit this winery. It is located in Rose Hill, NC, home of the world's largest frying pan! We stopped by real quick and I was standing outside the winery peering into the windows like a lost little puppy dog. The Silver Coast Winery, that we had visited earlier in the weekend was open on Sundays, so we just assumed this one might be too! It is RNH's favorite wine. And he's not a wine drinker. I really want to do a tasting there and learn the differences between all of their different wines. There is a huge festival coming up too, but I'll be at work that weekend. I'm determined to make it down there sometime soon!

A Bean-Abundance

I finally got around to canning some green beans. We grew the Kentucky Wanderers this year- and let me tell you, they wander! I had a hard time staking these beans this year. I would decided too late that it was time to stake them, and they wouldn't grab hold of the pole quite as well as I wanted them to. A few days later, I would come out and they'd have circled themselves around the pole, but slid down into a bunch at the bottom. It was pretty frustrating, and I think I only got the hang of it at the end of the growing season (which is now!) I will definitely grow them again next year, and be better at it! The beans have a wonderful taste and they grew, despite my lack of a green thumb!
I had already blanched a few frozen bags full of beans, so those were waiting patiently in my freezer for me to start canning. Finally I had a plastic grocery bag full of beans, beans I had picked within two days of each other. So I finally determined it was time to can.
I took the grocery bag and sat in front of the tv with my favorite show and snapped the ends off. I love snapping beans. When I was little I used to sit on the back deck with my mom, always in the early morning, both of us still in our nightgowns. And we'd snap the beans she had bought the day before at the farmer's market. She had one of those 1970's yellow strainers, that I think every household at that time had. We'd empty the fresh cut beans into the colander so she could wash them later. I really don't ever remember eating those beans, but I'm sure they were good. And besides, the best part was just hanging out on the deck with my mom on an early Saturday morning.

So I sat in front of my television to snap mine- but I'm having to stay up late at night (because I'm on night-shift), so early mornings just won't do for now.
I washed the fresh cut beans in my colander- no, not the yellow one. I wish!
Then I placed them into a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes.(Notice the lids and bands heating in the rear pot!)

After 5 minutes, I packed the beans into clean, hot mason jars that were waiting for me. Then fill them with the hot cooking liquid, minus 1/4 inch of head space. You also take the non-metal utensil and run it along side of the jars to get rid of any air bubbles. (I was actually very surprised I remembered this step each and every time- there have been a few canning experiences so far this summer, where I have not followed directions very well! And this time I even had a glass of wine in my hands at all times- and I still remembered!)
After that, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt... ... and set the lids and bands.I ended up heating up a bag of frozen beans I had in the freezer to come out with a total of 7 cans of beans, which is the exact amount my pressure cooker holds. Pressure cooked at 10 lbs for 15 minutes and Presto! Canned green beans! I can't wait to taste them!And check out my guide book I was going by! I love the 80's!


*Tip: you might have noticed a milk jug in the background of a lot of my pictures. Its actually a water jug I picked up from the store with distilled water in it, for about $0.76. Since canning can use a good amount of water (especially if you're using the boiling water bath), I like to try and save a lot of it and reuse it. I reuse the water that the jars sit in to keep warm, the water that the lids and bands sit in, as well as the water that is actually in the pressure canner. I fill up the water jug and then water the garden with the recycled water. It can definitely help save on your water bill, and of course recycle itself by giving you tons of yummy fresh veggies for the next thing to can!