Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I've Been Pooped On

Yes, but not literally.

My life has sucked lately. I guess my last post was all about the 4th of July party that we were going to have. It was freaking awesome. I never lit the luminaries that I made, mostly because I had one too many from the keg, (which was placed in a wheel barrow, redneck style!) and I completely forgot to take pictures of everything. It doesn't really matter- we had an awesome turn out (I was getting upset at first because it seemed like everyone was cancelling... then everyone and their mother's cousin ended up showing up and we almost ran out of food!) and we all had a blast!
Anyways. For the "lately" stuff. Here is what is happening:

My grandfather walked me down the aisle at my wedding last May. Once he returned to his hometown in Pennsylvania, he found out that the cancer he was battling, had taken a turn for the worse and was beginning to spread. It started out as prostate, and then moved into his bones. The past 2 weeks he has gotten extremely worse. My mom flew up immediately to be with him and called me telling me that she did not feel he was going to make it past August. Getting that kind of news, RNH and I grabbed a rental car and drove up to PA. I got to spend a ton of time with "Poppy," and tell him how much he means to me. The worst part was having to officially say goodbye for the last time. It was terrible.

On a less-personal note, but tragic all the same, I've lost all but one of my first flock of chickens. The first one was taken by a fox. I saw the fox with my own bare-eyes, but it was in the middle of the night and I didn't have a gun ready. It ran off. The others began to mysteriously disappear. There weren't really any signs of entry to the coop, other than feathers where an obvious struggle had taken place. This past weekend I go out and find Roo, my beloved- yet hated rooster, bloody. His eye was badly damaged, his comb was bleeding, and he appeared to be in a lot of pain. His head would slowly droop as I tried to talk to him. RNH and I were faced with a very tough decision. I wanted very badly to try and nurse him back to health, but he looked pretty bad. After a long, long time of weighing all of our options, we decided to put Roo down. I cried. Once the worst of it was over, we examined him a bit further. He was way worse than we thought he was. Under his feathers he had a lot of bleeding and probably a lot of internal damage. I knew immediately that we had made the right decision. It hur though, and I couldn't get past the fact that he fought, almost to the death, inside his coop. It almost seemed as if he didn't need to fight the fight, but just stand back off the fencing so the animal could not get at him. It was all very strange and didn't make sense to me at the time...
Did I mention that all of this tragedy with Roo was happening right as I was leaving to go say goodbye to my grandfather for the last time in PA? I had a 9 hour drive ahead of me, and I was faced with all of this. Not good. While that happened, one of the girls got out. I spent almost 2 hours trying to coax her back in, no luck. I left her food and water and headed to PA. Worst road trip .ever.

I came home tonight. Only one chicken left in the pen. The craziest thing about all of this, even the whole Roo story, there didn't seem to be any place where the fox had gotten in. I was baffled, but so upset over the loss of many chickens, that I did my best to "patch up" places where I thought the fox may have entered. When I came home after my PA trip, it dawned on me... this was no fox. This had to be a skunk (which I smell ALL the time at night when I let the dog out!) or a possum. My belief is furthered by the fact that I found one of my chickens with its head cut off. I heard that skunks do this? Chop off their heads and suck their blood?

So anyways, I got my last hen and put her in a large rabbit cage. The poor thing has been in a struggle and seen a lot, but she appears to not be injured at all. She is in the rabbit cage and the rabbit cage is inside the dog's pen. There is also a wild life camera facing the pen to try and catch whatever is terrorizing my poor babies. Needless to say, I've had a lot of tragedy with my chickens lately, and it doesn't help with family matters.

THEN, when I get home from the PA trip, take care of my last baby, I get a phone call from my mother-in-law, telling me that my niece on my husband's side, had a blood sugar level of 500+ she is 9 years old... Diabetes is genetic on her mother's side, and her father probably has diabetes because he is over weight. Apparently she is doing fine now, but she had to be transported to UNC's Children's Hospital. Poor thing. I hope we get to see her tomorrow.

This has been a week of me getting pooped on! :(

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cholesterol Anyone?

I just made three dishes for our late-4th of July party tomorrow. In those three dishes, I used 20 eggs. YIKES!!!

One was a Pillsbury strawberry cake mix. It only used 3 eggs. I'm going to make a flag cake with it- strawberry cake, vanilla frosting and strawberries and blueberries to decorate the top

(This is not my cake, but hopefully it will look somewhat like this!!!)

The second was my mom's recipe for "Black Berry Dreamsquares." I'm not sure where she got the recipe from. They were originally "Cherry Dreamsquares" but once I found the canned pie filling section in the grocery store, I considered my options. (For a long time I did not know that they make and can pie fillings commercially. Maybe I'm stupid.) So I tried apple and now blackberry pie fillings in the recipe. Apple was good. Blackberry is awesome. I'm having a hard time trying any other filling because I love blackberries so much. It seems everyone else does too. Its been a big hit-dessert at cookouts. Its so simple, I'll post the recipe at the end of the post!

The third dish I made for the party was "Berries and Cream" from Pioneer Women. I don't know where this lady came from, but she's awesome. She lives on a ranch, takes awesome photos, makes incredibly awesome food, and shares all of her knowledge with everyone. She even breaks down the photography stuff for smart* people like me.

*I am being sarcastic.

Anyways, the recipe called for 10 eggs yolks. Yiikes! All I gotta say is thank God my eggs are free!!! Actually, if they weren't free, I probably would have never attempted the recipe. Eggs aren't expensive, I just wouldn't have bothered with it. Either way, the Berries and Cream are to die for. They are a must have. Especially if you have an abundance of berries on hand!

Okay. Now for the Dreamsquares recipe:
1 Box of Pillsbury white cake (make sure it has pudding in the mix!)
Rolled Oats
Brown Sugar
1 Egg

Mix the cake mix, 6 tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of oats until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of crumbs for topping.
To remaining crumbs, add 1 egg and mix thoroughly. Press mixture into bottom of 13x9 pan.
Pour 2 cans (21oz each) of whatever pie filling you'd like on top of the mixture. Try the blackberries!!!
To the reserved crumbs, add 1/4 cup of oats, 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Mix well and sprinkle over the pie filling.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

VOILA! The best dessert EVER!

Hopefully at the party this weekend I'll remember to take pictures of it and post. Right now it is baking in the oven! :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rug Dr.

Our puppy ruined our carpet. I've tried to be the best doggy-mommy a dog can have, but I just couldn't keep him from messing on the carpet sometimes. Even after he became potty trained, he would wait too long to let us know he had to go out and would end up "sprinkling" on the carpet.

My gracious mother gave us her Bissell steam cleaner that she can no longer use on her new carpet she has. Unbeknownst to her, the steam cleaner's tubes were clogged and it no longer worked. RNH and I took it to a vacuum shop to get it fixed. That cost $100. We got it home and cleaned half of our carpets before the dang thing broke again. Pissed, I decided it was nto worth trying to take back to the shop (it was under warranty, but I'm sure it broke for some other reason than why he had to fix it the first time.) So we've lived with nasty, nasty carpets for months.

Since we are having people come up to the house, RNH decided he wanted to try the "Rug Doctor" machine that you always see in the front of grocery stores. He came home with teh machine and a jug of cleaner for $38. I think the rental was for 24 hours.

That thing saved our lives. I highly recommend it! Our carpets look brand new. It was very easy to do, and no matter what kind of home steam cleaner you may have, this thing will do it better. Trust.

So now we can live our lives a bit better just because we don't have to see how nasty our carpets are on a regular basis. And our guests this weekend actually might not run back out the front door once they arrive!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Post-Holiday Party

We had to work the entire July 4th weekend. Once it was over, I pretty much felt like I had been hit by a mack truck. I never think it's fair when we have to work holidays, so to fix it, we decided to celebrate July 4th a little later this year. We're going to have a big late-July 4th cookout and bonfire at the house this weekend. I am beyond excited. I love to entertain and this will be the first time we've had an actual party at the house. I love to have people come out to the country and enjoy what we have been blessed with. Most of my city friends can't even burn something in their backyards if they wanted to. We plan on throwing down redneck-style with a small keg, bonfire, tons of food, corn hole, and other things.

So far the menu includes: a keg of beer, orange mint juleps, mint mojitos (with fresh mint from the garden of course!), italian chicken, hot dogs, chips and garden fresh salsa, italian pretzels, black berry dream squares (like a cobbler- BEST. THING. EVER!), a flag cake, and a pound cake. There is more, I just can't think of it all at the moment. And obviously the most important stuff was listed first!

We will have tiny flags lining the walkway, mason jar luminaries with red, white and blue ribbon tied around the tops lining the path to the pond, fun star-shaped platters, star-shaped ice cubes, and everything red, white and blue. I can't wait!

I'm making an attempt to "fog" the yard because I know a lot of people aren't used to the amount of bugs we have (we live right above a swamp!) I bought a $9 bottle of this bug spray stuff that attaches to the end of your hose. I'm thinking I should have bought 2 bottles. Last time we had some people up, one of the girls got chiggers. I don't think she actually got them from my house (she went strawberry picking the next day), since I was sitting across the table from her, also wearing flip flops, and never got them. But either way, I don't want it to be a possibility. If everyone gets eaten up, I'm not gonna have any friends left! Haha!

I hope its fun, and I hope people actually show up! Otherwise it will be up to RNH and I to float the keg ourselves!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

We Went Swimming

RNH and I wanted to go on an adventure. We decided to grab the boat and head down to the river. I ended up bringing a long a wet suit, some neoprene booties, and my bathing suit. Why? you ask? Because we decided we'd try swimming in the river!!!
We found a relatively clear spot in the water and decided to try it out. I got nekkid in the woods, (yes it was fun!) to change into my bathing suit and wet suit. I decided if there were any sort of leaches or anything yucky like that, they'd have to get through my wet suit first! Thankfully that didn't happen. RNH plunged in, in a pair of BDU pants and some neoprene shoes he bought on our honeymoon in Mexico. It was tons of fun until RNH started talking about a boy who developed a flesh-eating bacteria by swimming in a nearby lake. Then I started itching when I really didn't have an itch. Thankfully that didn't happen either!
The water cooled us down and we didn't even get bit by a fish! I'll go back, but I'll still probably be wearing that silly wet suit!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Garbage Can Drake

These are the following things that my dog has eaten: (yes, I know I'm a bad doggy parent!)

Entire family-sized bag of Skittles

Large bag of Sweedish Fish

Two whole pound cakes, including plastic bag they were kept in

Two iPod car transmitters and chargers

Phone charger

3 pairs of slippers

Several pounds of meat, raw and cooked (we now have to keep our left-over meat in the microwave during dinners)

Countless plastic baggies

A dead turtle

An entire box of Cheerios


Lots of kitty cat poo and litter

Strawberries and blackberries right off the bushes

One Adidas sandal

A few cat toys that I don't know he's gotten until I see them laying in the grass outside... stuck in his poo...

Countless paper towels, rolls of toilet paper and used Kleenex.

(There are a million other things I can't think of right now...)

Have you ever seen that TV show on Animal Planet where they talk about terrible animal problems and surgeries? There was a dog on there that ate an entire broom stick. That will be Drake one day... I'm still learning how to live a normal life and keep valuable things away from him. I guess it will always be a work in progress!

Here he is with his pack on, ready to go for a hike!


Pretty much since the spring hit, I've been MIA. Winter time is for sitting in front of a computer and typing things that pretty much my mom only cares to read!

Things are in complete and full swing. An update on the garden: we left for the beach for a week long vacation (which was FABULOUS) and while we were gone we got a much-needed week-long rain. By the time we came back, the grass had taken over everything. So pretty much I've been trying to play "catch-up" ever since. I've weeded and weeded, and not had any luck taking back over my garden. So that being said, we have zero harvest. I'm bummed but hopeful. We've got the rest of the summer to get some veggies, so we'll see.

Since there is too much to try and re-cap on, I'll just look forward to the rest of summer. I'll probably try to do several short posts, just for you Mom! Haha!

Last night was awesome. We finally had a break from the 100+ degree weather, so RNH and I sat out on the deck. Summer is great, but not when its so hot outside you can't even enjoy the evenings! So we had fish and chips for dinner. Not fish out of the pond or river, but it was delish! We drug out the deep-fryer for that, and it was perfect since it was nice outside and we didn't stink up the house! We also enjoyed a little bit of vino, Polka Dot's Riesling, which was on sale. It was delish!
That's my boy!!! Isn't he getting big!??!