Wednesday, April 30, 2014

what I am reading

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

a fictional mystery/suspense type of book

The author has an unusual way of telling the story of a wife's disappearance and the husband's possible involvement. Chapters alternate between the husband and wife each telling their own side of the story.

As the reader progresses through the book more information unfolds...little hints and clues about what may have happened. It keeps you guessing and switching sides. Lots of suspense and unexpected twists and turns.
Maybe a bit far fetched at times but very well written.

I would recommend this book. I intend to read other books by this author.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

weird story/dead groundhog with a dead groundhog below...just close this post if it might offend you.

It's the weirdest thing.

Junior said a couple of days ago he was up early and stepped out of his back door to see what the weather was like.
He just happened to see something disappearing up into his pick up truck from underneath.

Thinking it was probably a cat, he went over and banged on the hood  a few times to try to get it to  come back out. Nothing.

He went back in the house to get his keys to open the cab and pop the hood latch.

Then, he raises the hood and finds himself staring face to face with a fat groundhog.

After they looked at each other in stunned surprise for a few seconds, he put the hood back down and considered the options.  He couldn't just leave it there. No one wants a groundhog living under the hood.
He didn't want to just try to coax it out,either. If it would continue climbing up in there it might eventually gnaw through wires or something to make it's self more comfortable.

So, he went back in the house and got his rifle, opened the hood, and shot it.

Different angle

We all asked him...
Did you damage your truck by shooting in there?
   No, it appears to be fine.
 Did you eat the groundhog?
   No, but he can bring one for us to cook and eat.
Uh, no thanks!

Yes, it is a shame the animal had to die, but groundhogs can be a problem...digging large holes and tunneling in the yard, sometimes under foundations or concrete slabs...undermining and weakening them.

Never heard of them climbing up in a vehicle though.

Monday, April 28, 2014

macaroni salad

 It can be hard to find a recipe for macaroni salad in a cookbook. Is it in the salad section? Is it  in the pasta section? Side dishes?

My favorite place to look for recipes is online...mostly

That's where I found this macaroni salad recipe.  I was put off by the amount of sugar it calls for...but it had a lot of good reviews so I tried it...and it's the one I use every time now.
It's good!

Let's get started...

Macaroni Salad
16 oz uncooked macaroni
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper,chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 Tbsp. chopped pimento peppers (optional)
1 cup Miracle Whip
1/4 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
2  1/2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Cook the macaroni, leaving it a bit firm. Rinse with cold water and drain.
( I have read that you shouldn't add oil or butter to the water when cooking causes any type of sauce to slide right off of it later.)

Toss with all the chopped veggies in a large bowl. (I had a red pepper on I used that instead of those expensive little jars of pimentos.)

In a seperate bowl combine Miracle Whip, vinegar, sugar and mustard. (The original recipe said to use mayonaise but I always buy Miracle Whip and use it for everything. It has a whole lot less fat and calories.)
Add salt and pepper and mix well.

Pour dressing mixture over macaroni and veggies and gently stir to coat. Refrigerate overnight.

The macaroni will soak up some of the sauce and get a little softer. You may need to stir in a little more Miracle Whip before serving.

Makes a boat load.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

pet cemetery

On my drive a few days ago I stopped at this pet cemetery . We have been by here many times but never stopped to take a look inside.

Oops,  this pic is blurry...I was slowing down to turn in and just snapped it real quick through the windshield.

There is a circular driveway but the cemetery goes back a good distance after that.
Most of the grave markers are metal plates on spikes stuck into the ground but then there are many elaborate stones.

A family plot here. I have to smile at some of the names.

Sweet and sad.  Much loved little pets.

A few have these little fences around them. Grass green plastic rugs. It looks like these had Christmas decorations placed.

This one was decorated for Easter. That is what appears to be a chocolate rabbit in the basket.

When I worked at the florist, someone from out of state called and had a flower arrangement delivered to one of the graves here. My co-workers said they do it every year.

A tree planted  by this large stone. Lots of artificial flowers.

A couple of stones with photos...

While I was there the operator of the pet cemetery arrived to mow grass. She told me they had just taken over the place last summer and were having a hard time bringing it back up from being poorly maintained.

She said the man who started it had died and a relative had hired a groundskeeper, who had done a poor job. It wasn't clear to me if she had bought the place or what. She did admit that she may have made a worse problem by spraying herbicide instead of trimming. (over spray too, I guess)

Hope she can get it spiffed up again. It's a pretty and peaceful little place.

Friday, April 25, 2014

out for a drive

Most of my driving in  the Jeep is just short trips, but every so often I feel like I need to take it for a longer drive. (Not exactly sure how this helps but I think it's something I have heard and it seems like it would be a good idea.).

So the other day I took a drive and went to Junior's house. He was working on his mower.

It had been cutting uneven last year so he removed and adjusted one of the blades.
The belt was also worn and needs replaced.

Actually it's a mower that he pulls behind a mower. When he moved here he got a riding mower from Lowes. One of their lower end ones  - but still not cheap. It just could not handle the uneven ground and kept throwing and ruining the tune of $50 each. Even after taking it to a mower repair shop.

So he took the mowing deck off of the riding mower and it works fine for pulling the "pull behind" mower..which does the job with no problem.  Even though it uses double the gas it cuts a wider path.

That's the engine there on the right that goes on top of the pull-behind mower.

See that little dogwood tree back there on the right in the picture above?

I noticed a bird nest in there...

Inside was 4 little beautiful blue eggs...

I didn't see the mama bird (robin?) anywhere around. I hope she isn't too scared to come to the nest with Junior working nearby.  I will ask him if he noticed whether she ever came back.

Back home I pulled into our other driveway (thinking the blacktop men were coming - wrong!).

Took this photo of  our Dogwood tree and Japanese Maple...I wish they looked like this year round.

The maple leaves stay red but turn much darker as the season progresses.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I like living here

The most beautiful sunrise a couple of days ago...

And really, it was even better than the camera can capture. Here is another shot with less trees and more sky. It almost looks like the ocean.

On the other end of the spectrum...this guy in the back yard...

A fat opossum. I had thrown some ham fat scraps out there the night before.

Okay well,bye!

Then in the evening a skunk...

He could probably smell where I'd thrown the scraps but I doubt anything was left.  He did come up for a sip of water before he left.

It seems like the birds and animals always prefer the square shaped waterer instead of the round one. It's just a little bit shallower than the round one and so it dries out quicker. 
Maybe they are just more comfortable with shallow water.

Zooming in a little closer. I took these pictures from the kitchen window. I was able to raise the screen without scaring him.

If skunks get a little startled, it seems like they prefer to just run away...not just start spraying a stink cloud.  They are funny looking little animals.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

the Easter Basket hunt

If the weather is good I like to hide everyone's Easter basket and make them search for it.

Actually, I never heard of this custom until Lonnie told me that's how his mother did it when he was growing up. They had candy and colored eggs (dyed by their mother) in their baskets and had to find them on Easter morning.

He remembers one particular time when it took him hours to find his basket. It was hidden under his dad's desk, with a newspaper casually tossed over it.  That same desk is the one Lonnie uses in the front room now.

In my family, we children got to color the eggs - maybe 1 or 2 days before Easter. Oh, the excitement of coffee cups lined up with a dye tablet ready to dissolve in each one..the smell of vinegar.. the eggs taking forever to boil and cool...the wire egg holder that came with the dye kit and the transfer decals that never once went on without getting smudged...the disappointment of mixing too many colors and getting a hideous poop colored egg!

Of course my boys don't like to color eggs...but they do like candy - so they don't mind searching for it.

Junior was the first to spot his basket...

Chopper got all scratched up by the lilac bush getting his...

Lonnie found his pretty easy. Look how happy! I told you they like candy!

Earlier, Junior got Lonnie's ATV running again. Lonnie had brought it here (from the farm) thinking we could use it for hauling brush or mulch...stuff like that. It has been handy a couple of times but usually in the time it takes to jump start it and air up the tires...we could have got the wheelbarrow out and finished  the job.

But anyway the boys took it for a little spin...

Big dudes!

Look at them...driving on the grass I planted last fall ! Grrrrr!

But no harm was done - it's Kentucky 31 fescue.

Monday, April 21, 2014

strawberries again...but it's pie this time

Before I show my strawberry pie recipe -I have to show you my grocery receipt...

Holy Cow!! I accidentally picked up organic  strawberries instead of the regular ones...actually I got 2 organic and one regular. The organic were $5.99 each versus the regular, which you can see were on sale for $1.88. 
They were all together in the same display case...grrrr.

Of course I didn't see this until I was home . I thought the total bill was a little high and so took a close look at the receipt. Then, I hopped in the Jeep and took those organic berries back to the store and returned them. 

Now on to the pies...

First, its...

Graham Cracker Crust (makes one crust - double it for the pie recipe below )

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

Just mix this up real good and press it into your pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees. Cool before filling.

I use my stand mixer to crush the graham crackers - Then add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Press into pie pan...

While the crust is baking and cooling you can prepare this embarrassingly easy....

Strawberry Pie (this makes 2 pies)

1 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
small box strawberry jello
2 pounds(pints) strawberries

Mix sugar and cornstarch n a pan. Stir in water. 

Bring to a boil and cook until only takes a few minutes.

Remove from heat and add jello ( from the package - not prepared)

Mix until Jello is dissolved. Allow to cool. While this is cooling you can rinse and stem your strawberries and slice them into a bowl. When Jello mixture is cooled; fold into berries.

Once the crusts have cooled completely; fill with the berry mixture. Refrigerate several hours. I usually spread cool whip over the top of the pies just before serving.

This recipe originally came from Granny Marion. She used a regular pie crust and so did I for a long time. It's good that way too.

I have a confession. I also accidentally bought "light" butter. Duh. 

Wonder what that is going to taste like?  I think I need to be more careful at the grocery store!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter!

Earlier this week, bunnies were checking to see how many baskets to deliver.

And look, here are the baskets...But only three.  Someone must have been bad.  Maybe someone who was cramming candy in her mouth when she was supposed to be filling baskets.

"Well, somebody has to take care of the extras so everything will come out even", she says, with chocolate dribbling out the corner of her mouth.

Oh, and here is Turkey! You'd better watch out!,Turkey, your holiday turns out a little different in the end!