8-18-11

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Maxie asked yesterday whether those of you not in Alabama can sign the petitions I linked to, since they’re an Alabama thing. The answer is that I don’t know if your signatures will count, but they certainly won’t hurt!

You can sign the petitions to stop the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners from shutting down spay/neuter clinics here and here.

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Sights from around Crooked Acres.

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I finally got around to putting feed bags (empty feed bags that once held chicken and pig feed) around the butternut and acorn squash, and putting dried grass clippings around each plant (to block weeds). I only got a little more than half the row done before I ran out of grass, though. When Fred got home yesterday, he went around the lawn with the sweeper and got me another big pile of grass clippings, so I should be able to finish up the row.

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Wee Acorn or Butternut squash-to-be.

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Look at all the blossoms getting ready to burst forth!

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This volunteer tomato plant grew on the fenceline to the back forty. It keeps trying to die, but then it rains, and the plant comes back to life. Note that there are no tomatoes at all on the side of the fence the chickens can get to!

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The Autumn Clematis are super happy.

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We’re really getting a lot of blooms on the Rose of Sharon bush in the back yard. In past years, we’ve gotten maybe one or two.

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Four years ago, all this foliage (except for the tree branches hanging down) was completely gone. Every summer I cut less and less of it back, and this summer I haven’t cut any of it back. The cats really like hanging out in there – though I guess it would behoove me to cut it back a bit so that when Tommy’s being difficult and doesn’t want to come in at night, we can reach him. You’ll note that the purple blooms in the middle of the picture are the Rose of Sharon flowers. That thing’s over six feet tall now.

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I finally got enough tomatoes (thank you, Katherine!) to peel and (mostly) deseed, chop, and slow-roast them with onion and garlic for three hours. I used the pastry cutter to chop the whole mess up, and then used it as a base for spaghetti sauce. It was DIVINE.

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Left to right, cayenne powder made from our own peppers, tomato powder made from our own tomatoes, and dehydrated bell peppers. (I use the tomato powder to make tomato paste – basically, add water to tomato powder until you have as much paste as you need.)

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That green tomato, with just a blush of red on it, is how I harvest my tomatoes. Then I leave them on the counter and let them ripen (if I have a lot of tomatoes that need to ripen, I put them all in a box. They ripen faster that way, and don’t clutter up my counter). If I try to let them ripen on the vine, the STUPID birds and squirrels take a single bite and leave the tomato there for me to find and gnash my teeth over.

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New growth on the grapevine.

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Bhut Jolokia (Ghost) Peppers, starting to ripen. “What are you going to do with the Ghost peppers?” I said to Fred. Apparently what Fred was planning to do with them was expect me to make jams with them. Who on earth is going to buy Ghost Pepper jam? Only a sucker for punishment, I think. (He’s also planning to make a hot sauce. I’m letting him handle that one all on his own.)

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After the heavy rain we had the week before last, we had about a million cracked cherry tomatoes. Grrr. (The chickens got them, and were very happy about it!)

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I continue to think that okra flowers are the prettiest flowers on earth.

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Ready to be picked so it can ripen on my counter!

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Teeny watermelon-to-be.

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Watermelon flowers.

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Not a great picture, but I’ve been making a lot of blueberry cake lately (I’ll post the recipe if I remember). The recipe comes from a Marjorie Standish cook book my mother gave me 20+ years ago. If I could only pick one cook book to carry out of a burning building, that would be the one. (Oh wait, this is the recipe right here. DO NOT cook it for 50 – 60 minutes, or you’ll end up with an overcooked cake. Start checking it with a toothpick at 40 minutes, but 45 minutes is what works for me.)

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I love this spoon rest; I used a plate hanger to hang it between the windows over the sink. I keep hoping to find something else to hang there with it, but haven’t found anything that’s the right size yet.

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Sweet pickled jalapenos.

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These okra pods were too long to use (if they get too long, they get tough and woody), so I dehydrated them for the cats. Cats think okra pods are THE BOMB, and once they’re dry enough, the seeds rattle around in the pod. I think I still have pods floating around the house from two summers ago.

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I think this hen is particularly pretty.

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Gracie’s keeping an eye on things from under the coop, where it’s cool.

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All our chickens except for two or three who were behind me.

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Little rooster.

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“You haz a snack for me?”

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“GIMME MAH SNACK!”

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“….please?”

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“Dat was a good snack.”

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Happy George.

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The chickens sure do love their tomatoes.

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Smilin’ girlie pig.

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Napping in the waller.

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Pig #2 comes over to see if a snack was given, and if so WHERE IS HERS.

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“No cookies here.”
“You’re lying, I smell chocolate on your snout.”

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Across the way, there’s a perfectly good waller located in the shade. The last two sets of pigs have refused to set hoof in that one, and I have no idea why. Maybe the Loch Ness monster has relocated to the Crooked Acres Waller.

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After I wrote about Sally Peppers being such a scaredy cat, yesterday I went into the guest bedroom to hang out with the kittens, who were all snoozing on the cat tree. Sally Peppers immediately jumped from the cat tree to the bed where I was laying, and snuggled with me with not the slightest hint of cringing or cowering. Harlan’s still a bit cringe-y, and none of them like it if you’re standing up and reach down to pick them up, but they’re a million times less scared than they were two weeks ago, for sure.

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Lucy Peppers, hanging out.

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Snoozin’ Molly.

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Harlan, Molly, and Everett like to squeeze onto the same platform.

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Sally and Everett apparently see a crazed serial killer over my shoulder. Or nothing. They’re not sure what the difference is.

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You can’t see them all, but Molly Peppers actually has hold of three toys. She wants ALL the toys.

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Harlan and Lucy came to investigate, and Molly let out a fearsome growl. She’s a growler when she thinks anyone’s trying to take anything away from her.

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Smilin’ Molly.

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Serious Molly.

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Lucy (left) and Sally, annoyed at having their conversation interrupted.

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“Who, ME?”

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I love it when they lay froggy-style.

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“Who loves me enough to come scrape this eye booger out of my eye?”

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I kiss Ciara 10,000 times a day, especially when she gives me this look.

Last night, after we’d put Ciara, Clove, Cori and Cilantro in the foster room, one of them (I suspect Cilantro) began meowing sadly at the door. Instead of ignoring it as we usually do, we decided to let them back out and see how it went.

I did not sleep well, is how it went. If I wasn’t woken up by Cilantro vigorously licking my feet, I was awakened by Clove chasing her tail or Cori attacking my feet. I haven’t decided if we’ll give it a try again tonight, or just ignore the sad meowing. Mama needs her sleep, you know.

Edited to add: I just got the word – there’s room at Petsmart for Ciara and the Spice Girls. They’ll be going Friday morning!

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“Hey! You’re not allowed outside the back yard! Get back in here where Sheriff Mama can adequately protect you!”

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::giving me the I’m-not-kidding look::

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“I SAID, get back in here!”

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Previously
2010: He meows, stretches, then goes down the cat tree, meowing the entire way.
2009: Have I mentioned that Sam is a back climber?
2008: Kara & babies.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: Yesterday afternoon Rambo and Jodie were snuggled up on the cat bed on my desk, and she sat up and stretched, and then there was this ::fwoomp!::, and she was gone.

Comments

Comments

8-18-11 — 19 Comments

  1. I’m glad that Ciara and the sisters will be heading off tomorrow — though only because they’re growing so quickly. Hope they can be paired off in cages and then permanently. Godspeed, lovely girls, and here’s wishing that Robyn will let you keep her up during your final night at Crooked Acres. As always, thanks for today’s crucial dose of Paradise.

  2. Blueberry cake looks good; I make similar ones with overripe banana mixed in with the marg and sugar.
    Ciara and the Spice Girls (is she their new lead singer btw?) leaving?? What? Oh boy, I am going to die!!!!! Still miss Boli-Buster! Sniff

  3. Hmm I see you are also growing Kongs..and thats not Rose of Sharon thats Hibiscus.
    But apart from that everything is lookin’ good!!

  4. Awwwww I have everything crossed that the most adorable Spice Girls and beautiful Ciara find homes asap!!!! They’re so gorgeous – NO-ONE can resist!! Yay!!!!! Bye bye sweet girls – I shall miss you all so much!!

    Awwww yay for the Peppers gang – gorgeous, gorgeous!!

    I love the idea of slow roast tomatoes as a base for pasta sauce!! I may just try that! Yum, thank you! Now as for that blueberry cake – oh wow!!!!! I must try to bake that too – thanks for the tip!

    Lovely to see George, Gracie, all your adorable chickens and piggies too! I’d trust the piggies instinct about that watery place!!

    OH Sheriff Mama!! We must obey!!!

    Take care
    x

  5. I love Sherrif Mama! She knows how to keep everyone in line 🙂

    Rose of Sharon is a common name for Hibiscus Syriacus, I tried to grow one here but our climate is not warm enough.

    Awww, Ciara and the Spice Girls leaving = 🙁 . But again, whoever gets these dolls is winning the kitty lottery! I hope they get adopted really really fast.

    Everything in your garden looks soooo good and the puppies are happy and the piggies are happy and the chickens are happy, could it get any better! Other than having the Loch Ness monster living in your pig waller!

  6. We have hibiscus in UK, no flowers on mine though its too small, we call other things rose of Sharon, its a name without any one plant!!
    Hoping Spice Girls get the BEST homes.

  7. Sheriff Kara! LOL!

    I am sad to see Ciara and the Spice Girls go, but I am SURE they will be snatched up almost immediately. SURE.

  8. For the record I love and buy hot pepper jam or jelly from our local farmer who does up jams. Its delicious with cheese and crackers. I never get enough peppers from my garden to make jams, Canadian summers just aren’t long enough if you don’t have a greenhouse.

  9. Good Golly Miz Molly! How I wish I lived closer to you Robyn — Miss Molly would be my kitty. Her coloring is absolutely gorgeous! I’ve wanted a silvery grey striped baby for longer than I can remember. I can’t believe how beautiful she is.

    Going to miss Ciara and the Spice Girls. Maybe I missed it, but did all the McMaos and Maggie find forever homes?

  10. Oh, I just found your site recently and LOVE it! Sweet kitties (oh, good luck Spice Girls) and fresh veggies – what a combo! As for the Ghost peppers, there is a great spice shop in Charleston, SC that makes ghost pepper salt to sell. It has quite a kick (but I love hot) and I use it as a substitute for regular salt when I want to heat something up. I’ve never made a flavored salt, but I guess it’s the same as making a flavored sugar??

  11. FABULOUS post!!! (kitties + garden pics always are HEE)

    I practically drooled on my keyboard over all the veggie pics. I get more inspired to make my own garden in my backyard every time I see these types of posts!

    Question: Did you plant all the plants in at the same time? I love how staggered the harvest is, and can’t help but wonder if they ripen on their own calendar or by the time you plant them.

    And that little Molly is absolutely adorable! I love them tabby kitties. =^.^=

  12. On the scaredy cat dodging –

    A few days is pretty quick. My cat Calpurnia has recently stopped the rushing back inside past me when I went out back and she was there – took about a year. Odd thing is, she never did that out in the front.

    She still does a little evading if you walk up and she is resting on the floor. If she’s up on something, she stays put. In the office she still will jump down from the cat bed in the window if I come in. If I sit down, she will come back to the same place in a few minutes.

    Spooking can be complicated…

  13. If you prune your Rose of Sharon in the winter while it is dormant, it will bloom more vigorously the next season. They bloom on new growth.

    How do you have time to do everything with the garden and fosters? Wonder Woman!

  14. that last set of pics – the kara ones — had me cracking up! What silly faces she really looks like she is giving you the business <3

  15. Did Sherrif Kara give you a stern talking to when you finally came back inside the yard? She knows the rules, lady, you should listen to the sherrif!
    Good luck Spice girls and Ciara. You know, I kind of half expectd you to keep Clove – Fred did say she was pretty after all. Still, the sooner they find their furever homes they sooner they can settle.
    I’m planning on getting vegies in the ground soon and you’d think with 3 cats they could keep the birds away but…hm, then again, maybe it’s the possums at night..?
    And i will use your tomato heavesting idea I think. And who knew they ripened quicker on boxes? Kind of like avocados and bananas, huh?

  16. I read this while I was on vacation visiting friends and we made the blueberry cake and boy was it delicious (even though we forgot to sprinkle sugar on top). Thank you so much for passing on the recipe and your admonition not to cook it as long as the recipe calls for.