Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pwn'd again Adeline!

Another one of our long lost items showed up yesterday. The cover for the salad bowl that has been missing for a couple months showed itself behind the crisper drawer in the fridge. I suppose the fact that I cleaned out the fridge when we originally lost the stupid thing means nothing. Things are being found in inverse proportion to when they were lost, which means that next on the list to be found will be my Mouli. Yay!

The flying plaster in the kitchen problem is solved as well. Before he headed off to Hawaii, hubs figured that the plaster flying into the kitchen was Adeline's way of telling us that we really need to get the ceiling put up in the kitchen. So, hubs got the drywall hung and there's no play for the plaster to come flying out anymore. This is a great thing, both because there's a ceiling in my kitchen now for the first time since we moved here and also because it was getting annoying cleaning up plaster in the kitchen all the time. BUT (there's always a but with these things) I just went into the bathroom, the bathroom I just cleaned yesterday, and saw two pieces of plaster lying on the floor in there. We pulled the ceiling out of that room before we moved in, it was disgusting. I think there was about 60 years of mouse poop piled up on those tiles. I cleaned out all the poop and plaster chunks, scrubbed the entire place with bleach and used both a liquid and powder deodorizer up in the rafters. These wasn't any plaster left up there that I could reach, but apparently that doesn't stop Adeline, the ghostly plaster thrower. Looks like hubs is going to have to put the ceiling in in there when he gets home so Adeline doesn't get all worked up again.

Talk about the bathroom, it's also serving double duty as a chicken coop. By the end of the incubator adventure we came out with 9 baby chicks. They're eventually going up into the unfinished attic room upstairs, but they're so little now and it gets pretty chilly up there yet, so they get to live in the bathroom until I get sick of them and they get transferred upstairs. Hopefully the weather gets warm enough that they can start living in the barn by the end of April. Since we had such a low incubator turnout, I'm going to have to order more chicks from the co-op. So I've got the feeling I'm going to be a chicken mom for pretty much the entire spring.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ancient Family Secret Recipes

Okay, for Afton, the ingredients to make my grandma's homemade liver sausage. Incidentally, it's the best liver sausage on the face of the planet. My grandma is long gone, but my Uncle Russ still makes this, and I will too, when I've got the time and the inclination. The recipe calls for:
1 pig head
1 liver
1 heart
1 tongue
sage, allspice, nutmeg, salt & pepper

there is much boiling, grinding and baking to do once the ingredients are gathered. Since I only have half a head, I can only make half a batch...though, I can't see that pig heads are in that great of a demand, I would think that it wouldn't take much to got another half from the butcher shop.

In addition to making liver sausage, I've also got half a pigs worth of lard to render. Something I will do when it's a bit warmer outside and I can open all the windows, otherwise the entire house will smell more like grease than it's going to anyway.

Tonight is Angel #4's school concert. Rent-a-Grandma is coming over for supper, then we're off to the concert. Hopefully, it'll go better than the Christmas one did and I won't have some moron talking on his cell during #4's solo again. It amazes me that in this day and age, people still don't understand basic cell phone etiquette. A couple weeks ago, I actually heard a man use his cell in the library on SPEAKER PHONE! Can you believe people? Sometimes, I miss the pre-cell phone days when people realized that they weren't so terribly important that the world needed to be in constant contact with them 24/7.

Saturday, the girls went to watch The Hunger Games. They said it wasn't as good as the book (movies never are) but it was good. #4 was so excited about the movie coming out and the fact that it came out right after her sister got home from Uruguay put it right over the top. She so wanted to go to the movie with #2 and spend a little sister time together.

While they were at the movies, I took WE shopping. This is his second year in Track and he's pretty good at it. The fact that their school is so small, therefore, so is the track team, he's become one of the movers and shakers on the team. Apparently, his $25 Walmart special shoes were okay when he was a freshman and are fine for practices, but since he's become a pivotal member of the time, he needed some trainers. Trainers, for those who don't know, are special, light-weight running/jumping shoes. They come with metal spikes you can screw into the soles to give you better grip on a rubber track. To say he was excited about those shoes would be a bit of an understatement. He was practically licking them when we took them out of the store. I'm the greatest mom in the world for buying them for him and he's going to be able to run like the wind and jump like a deer now. He was upset that he didn't have picture texting on his phone since he wanted to send a picture of his new track shoes to all his friends. The big decision this morning was if he was going to bring the shoes to school in their box or if he was going to put them in the handy-dandy little shoe bag that came with them. He ultimately decided on the bag, though he was talking about wrapping the shoes in bubble wrap before putting them inside. He proudly hung the bag over his shoulder as he was getting on the bus, making sure the words "Nike Track & Field" printed on the bag were facing out. I've never seen a kid so excited for track practice in my life.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's a boy, and a girl, and another girl and...heck, I don't know what they are

So, the baby chicks started hatching this morning. It's going really slow, we've only got 6 hatched so far, which isn't too good out of 21 eggs, but it's better than nothing. After getting skunked yesterday, I thought the whole batch might be bad. Afterall, it's supposed to take 21 days to hatch, I started the eggs on March 1st and it's the 23rd today, so they're all waaaay behind schedule. Hopefully they keep coming out. I'd like at least a dozen out of this deal.

I'm glad I got those raspberries and rhubarb planted this week. We had a slow, drizzly rain all day today, perfect for setting the plants nicely in the garden. Too bad the temperatures dropped down after our beautiful weather we've had. It's still in the 50's & low 60's, which is nothing to turn your nose up at.

I've also discovered that when trying to tell someone how you hurt your wrist, starting the story by saying: "I was hauling half a pig down to the basement in a laundry basket" is not a good way to have them listen seriously to the rest of the explanation. Angel #2 laughed for a good 5 minutes before she calmed down enough to hear the rest of the story. I also got a weird look from the lady at the butcher shop when I picked the pig up. She was hauling out packages of meat, then had a plastic bag with an odd looking something in it. She said she didn't know what it was, but it was part of my order. I said, oh, that's probably my half of the head, I've got a recipe that calls for a pig head, I'm going to cut the recipe in half. I'm not sure of the percentage of people who have old family recipes passed down to them where the first ingredient named is 1 pig head, but it's probably not real high. Hubs tends to roll his eyes at my old family recipes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

And...she's back!

I picked up Angel #2 at the airport today. It's nice to have her home, I missed her. Now, I've just got to wait for Angel #1 to get back here on leave from Afghanistan and all my babies will be home again. She's already talking about when she's going back. I guess she really likes Uruguay.

Talk about babies, my chickens are taking forever to hatch. They were supposed to hatch yesterday, but not a single one hatched. Finally, tonight, Angel #4 noticed that one of the eggs is starting to hatch. Hopefully this means that more will start getting out as the night progresses. I really don't want to run a heat lamp and all that stuff for just one little baby chick.

Tonight, we went to a time machine program at #4's school. Some docents from the nearby historical museum did a program then afterwards, we toured the school and looked at the different projects the students did. The time period ranged from a fur trapper from the 1700's to a pioneer from 1905. The kids did projects from the 1700's through the 1970's, then one class made robots from the future. It was fun, but both #2 and I were really tired, neither of us got much sleep last night, her because she was on an airplane and me because she was on an airplane. I get nervous when my kids travel without me.

The weather lately has been ridiculous. It was 83 degrees yesterday at 4:30pm, that's just not normal, not that I'm complaining. But I had some dirty work to do yesterday and I actually made sure I did it right away in the morning before it got too hot out. That's something you do in July, not March. But I got a bunch of raspberry plants dug out of my neighbors garden (with their blessings, of course) and replanted them in mine. I got about a 10-15 foot row of raspberry plants in my garden now. Then last night some friends from church gave me some rhubarb roots and I got those planted in my garden today. Even though it's too early to plant seeds or anything (in Wisconsin, you usually plant your garden around Memorial Day) at least I got to work out there and get some plants in the ground. It was such a mild winter that some of the annuals we didn't pull out of our flower bed last fall are starting to come up. I guess I"ll save a little money on plants this year.

Monday, March 19, 2012

let's hear it for brown floors!

After caulking the cracks in the living room floor, I realized that I was going to have to paint it, and I was going to have to do it PDQ. To get to Angel #2's bedroom, you have to go through the living room, so I needed to get it done before she gets home on Thursday. I've been busy the last week or so, and we had company over on Saturday, so it really wasn't a good time to paint the floor, so it needed to get started today. It's going to take at least 4 days to complete it, since I'm putting 2 coats of paint on it and I had to shove all the furniture to one side of the room, paint that part, then shove it to the other side, then paint the rest. I got about 2/3's of the room painted today, after I sanded the floor, vacuumed it, then scrubbed it.

I picked up the paint this morning on my way home from the airport. Hubs flew out to Hawaii again today. Usually he drives himself, but he had a lot of carry-ons both coming and going and it would have been a real pain for him to have to haul them through the parking lot to check-in. Because he's a silver frequent flyer (or something like that)he can check in 3 bags of up to 70lbs each for free on his flights. Because of this, he tends to haul things like tools and equipment back and forth with him when he does work in Hawaii. It makes for a lot of heavy luggage. So anyway, not only did I drive him, but he flew out of the Milwaukee airport instead of the small, local ones he usually flies out of, so we had about an 1 1/2 hour drive to get to the airport through Milwaukee traffic. I'm not a fan of big city traffic at all. We left around 7am, drove straight through to the airport, I dropped him off and drove almost straight through to get home with a small side stop at our neighborhood Menards to pick up the floor paint. I also went to Fleet Farm, which is a magical store that has just about everything you could ever need. Today, I needed stuff for the baby chickens, which are due to hatch on Wednesday. I picked up a warming light, food and water dishes and some chick starter food. As I was loading it up into my van, this old guy who was parked next to me and was sitting in his rusty old pick-up truck asked me what kind of chickens I had. I told him I was hatching some layers. He must have been bored, because he kept asking me more questions, giving me suggestions on how to deal with chicken-killing dogs and all kinds of stuff. He was a nice old dude, but as he was talking, he kept dipping, and he had tobacco stuck in his teeth and a yellow mark on his chin where juice had oozed out. Pretty darned gross. But, you find all kinds at Fleet Farm...they call it "The Man's Mall" and that pretty much sums it up. If you can't get it at Fleet Farm, you don't really need it.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. My husband, Mr. Always Manages To Meet People, called while he was on layover in Chicago. Turns out, our Senator was at the airport waiting for a flight as well. Hubs, being a friendly guy, goes over and chats and apparently had a great time visiting. I guess the Senator did as well, since he asked hubs if he was going to be heading to DC as well. If I was in an airport and there was a Senator there, I would just say, oh wow, that's cool (IF I even recognized him), Hubs just goes over for a visit. I guess some people are introverts and others are extroverts...guess which one I'm married to.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's a great day to be alive!

Another beautiful day out today, I just can't believe it's only March. Yesterday, it got up in the 70's, I hung 6 loads of laundry out, including our bedding, it felt so good to crawl into a fresh bed last night. The tulips I planted last fall are starting to poke through as well. I hope we don't have a big, nasty freeze that kills everything, that would just be sad.

I was heading home from grocery shopping today and the Beach Boys came on the radio. What is it about the Beach Boys that just makes everything in life seem better? You just can't feel crummy when they're singing...at least I can't.

WE has his first track meet tonight. It's the big, kick-off meet, held in an indoor arena about an hours drive from here. He's taking part in 3 events, the long jump and 2 different relays. Since practices just started a little over a week ago, he's not in that great of shape, but it's a good way to get the track season rolling.

Tomorrow night, Angel #4 goes to some Irish dance thingy for school. There are a lot of people of Irish descent around here, so St Pat's day is a big deal. I bought some corned beef and cabbage at the grocery store today, so I'll have to cook that up in the next couple days as well. Maybe I'll get off my butt and do it tonight. Maybe I should wait until I stock up on some Beano.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ha, Adeline, just HA!

First it was hubs glasses and the smoosher thing, now something else has been found. This morning, about an hour after I got back from the library after telling Chris, the librarian that the Pirates of the Carribean dvd was lost, I found it. I had finished caulking the floor and was moving a recliner back to where it was supposed to go and the dvd came out from under it. Not only had Angel #4 and I both looked under that chair (with a flashlight) but I'd also moved that chair 3 or 4 different times in the last couple days with my painting and caulking jobs. Why it waited until now to show up is anyone's guess. I suppose Adeline purposely waited until today, when I had to start paying overdue fines on the dumb thing before she finally gave it up. Fortunately, hubs was going near the library on an errand today, so he brought it back and we only had to fork over $1 fine, so it's not all bad.

It was such a beautiful day out today, not like March in Wisconsin is supposed to be at all. I went for a walk this afternoon and saw green grass starting to poke through the brown, my iris's are coming up and, most amazingly of all, a wooly-bear caterpillar making it's way down the road. A caterpillar on March 13th, amazing. If this weather keeps up, maybe I won't have to wait for Memorial Day weekend to plant my garden this year.

I talked to Angel #2 today and we discussed getting all her flights home booked. I'm not sure how anxious she is to come back, it sounds like she's having a great time down there, despite learning to rough it a bit...that, and the spiders, which she's not real fond of. At least she's learning to be braver. Before, if there was any kind of spider around, she'd freak out and I'd have to kill it for her, but now she's going after tarantulas with post hole diggers. My little girl is getting all self-sufficient on me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

one thing leads to another

You know how you decide to do something, but before you can do it, you have to do something else, which in turn, makes you have to do something else until your life looks like a huge Rube-Goldberg contraption? That would be my life. As you know, we live in a really old house. Our living room has the original painted wood floor. I painted it blue before we moved in. I chose blue because that's the color the old wood floor in my grandparents house was and it brought back good memories. Old houses should just have blue floors, I think it's a rule. But, that was back in July and the floor was swelled from humidity. It's now March and the constant heat running in the house has dried out the wood and we've got some pretty big cracks where the wood meets in some places. It makes sweeping and scrubbing kind of difficult. I mentioned to hubs that we should probably caulk up the cracks while they're there so the caulk can contract and expand with the wood, making my floor a little easier to keep clean. He bought some caulk and yesterday and today, there was some major crack caulking done. Of course, now my blue floor has white caulk lines all over it.

Not only has my blue floor taken a horrific beating with all the critters running around, the moving of furniture and the remodeling, I've realized that as much as I love my blue colored floor, blue doesn't match the color of dirt very well. So I've decided that as long as the white crack lines (that sounds drug related, doesn't it?) need to be painted, I should do the whole floor and I'm going to paint it a different color. Dirt-colored. But....before I do the floor, I might as well do the walls first. I painted the living room trim before we moved in, but I left the walls alone. They were kind of a dirty tan color and while I wasn't crazy about it, I had more important things to worry about last summer, so they stayed as they were. But if I did the walls now, before doing the floor, I could paint without needing to use a drop cloth, so it was obvious what I needed to do. I wasn't sure what color I wanted to paint the room, but then I remembered the random gallons of paint we've got piled up in the basement. Someone gave hubs a bunch of paint they'd had made up, then decided they didn't like the colors, so they just passed them on to him in hopes that he could find a use for them. Since I'm not too picky, I've already used one gallon to paint the laundry room and pulled out another gallon today to do the living room. The color was called Georgia Peach. Not something I would have chosen, but it's not too bad, it's more of a slightly orange tan than a peach, and it brightens up the room a bit, besides, it was free and free is always good. We've still got a gallon downstairs called Bluebird and it is beyond obnoxious. I don't think I'll ever get desperate enough to use Bluebird on anything that I'm going to be exposed to on a regular basis. Maybe if we ever have to paint the basement or something. Now, I've got to get some floor paint so I can finish this room up and have something else crossed off my list. Painting a floor is not going to be easy when there are 3 cats and a dog wandering around the house. I'm going to have to use my imagination and come up with some kind of barrier.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Human error RE smoosher thing

Okay, I found the missing smoosher thing, turns out I moved it into a different cupboard a while ago and just forgot. So, we can't blame Adeline the ghost for that one. We've been having the mysterious flying plaster again in the kitchen though. You know, where the broken chunks of plaster from the unfinished kitchen ceiling come flying 2 feet out into the room at random times. It hadn't been doing it for the last couple weeks, but it started up again. I got sick of cleaning it up, so I risked putting my hand up into the dark, dirty unknown of the ceiling and I pulled all the loose plaster chunks out that I could and threw them away. Hopefully, this will stop the random flying plaster issue. Hubs lost his glasses last week. He only uses them for night driving and usually keeps them in his truck. They were MIA for a while, but he found them today, lying under some junk behind the freezer in the basement. Why were they under junk in the basement when, to my knowledge, hubs has never done any basement night driving? I have no idea. But, since they were down there, I thought maybe our other missing stuff was there too, so I searched the basement with a flashlight. I'm sad to say I had no luck, no Mouli, no salad bowl cover or PoC dvd. I did notice that we have a really nasty old basement though, but I already knew that, so no surprises there.

All last summer, when I was busy working outside in the garden, canning veggies and all that other busy summer stuff, I kept looking at the kitchen cabinets, wanting to paint them. But, being busy, I knew painting them would be a winter project. Well, the beginning of winter I painted the upper cabinets but ran out of steam before I could do the lower ones, so I just left them. This week, I realized that it was March already and I still hadn't done the lower cabinets. It funny how you get so used to things, you don't even notice them anymore, like the fact that my upper kitchen cabinets are a dark melon color and the lower ones were bright yellow - also that there's no drywall on my kitchen ceiling and hasn't been since we moved in, but that's a whole 'nother story. So I got down there and finally got my lower cabinets painted this week and I'm really pleased with the result. The melon color looks awesome with the turquoise walls. Someday, when I find the camera, I'll take a picture and post it here for you so you can see see the wonderfulness of it. Now...if we only had a ceiling. Hubs did hang another sheet of drywall up there today, which brings us to 2 sheets. At the rate we're going, 1 sheet hung every 6 months, I estimate my kitchen will have a complete ceiling sometime in the fall of 2014. Then, it'll be on to the bathroom, which also doesn't have a ceiling.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

missing smoosher thingy

The black hole of Adeline the ghost apparently strikes again. The wooden smoosher thing that smooshes tomatoes, berries, etc, through my cone-shaped metal collandar is MIA. It's been lying there, unused in the unheated storage room upstairs in my house all winter. I know it's been there, I see it every time I go in that room, which is a couple times a week. But today, I was going to use it to smoosh up some dried bread to make crumbs and do you think that thing would be around? No siree-Bob. So, unless it shows up fairly soon, I'll ad it to the ever growing list of things that are mysteriously disappearing at my house and never show up again. Did I tell you about the blue lid on the salad bowl? About a month ago, we took the lid off, set it on the counter and put the salad bowl on the table for supper. We ate, cleared the table and the cover was gone. No one was even in the kitchen, we were sitting in the dining room eating, and the dumb thing disappeared. We searched the garbage, under the fridge, inside the fridge, all over and over a month later, the dumb thing still hasn't shown up and, in the meantime, I have to put a plate over the top of my salad bowl. Even hubs is starting to see my ghost stealing logic. He looked at me the other day, and dead seriously, asked where in the world I thought Adeline was putting this stuff. So yeah, it's getting annoying.

Yesterday, Angel #4 participated in the solo & ensemble and did wonderfully. Turns out she had 4 different performances, 2 drum solos, a musical solo and a musical duet. She scored 1's (the highest score) in all 4! Due to the chaos of the day, hubs and I only managed to watch 2 of her performances, 1 drum and the duet and we were impressed. We had no idea we had such a musically talented daughter. The duet literally brought the woman sitting next to me to tears and a couple hours afterward, a man came up to #4 and told her what a beautiful job he thought she did - which I thought was a nice thing for a perfect stranger to do.

We got quite a bit of snow over the weekend and I have to say, after the brown winter we had, it's actually kind of nice to look out the window and see the world covered in white. People were sure happy to finally have a reason to get their snowmobiles out of the garage as well. It's been a pretty pathetic winter, snow-wise. Things are going to warm up in the next couple days and all the snow will be gone again, but at least we had it for a little while.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Snow will not deter those hungry for fish

Hubs was really hungry for fish tonight and I was not in the mood to cook, so we decided to head out to a Friday night fish fry. The problem was that it was snowing to beat the band. I wasn't going to drive in it, but if hubs was willing to brave the weather, I would gladly ride shotgun. Now I'm stuffed full of broiled haddock, we're back safe and home and life is good.

Tomorrow is the area school's solo ensemble. It's being held at our school this year, so hubs and I are volunteering to work. We were assigned cafeteria duty, which was fine. Angel #4 has 3 different performances, a solo, a duet and a snare drum solo, and our volunteer assignment only overlapped during one of them, so we could watch her performances in the first two. But now, because of the weather, they've already arranged for a 2 hour delay, but our work hours are the same, and now they overlap all 3 of her scheduled performances. Hopefully it won't be too busy and we can sneak out of work to watch her.

In other exciting news, I'm going to be a chicken mom. We got an incubator and 21 fertilized eggs from the coop yesterday and they're now percolating in the downstairs bathtub. I chose the bathtub as their incubation spot because it was the one room in the house that it would be easy to keep the animals out of, yet was in a place where I'd see them easily and not forget to turn the eggs twice a day. We should have babies on March 21 or 22. With any luck, it'll be an early spring and they'll be able to go out in the barn by the middle or end of April. We've had baby chicks in the house before and they are really noisy, so the sooner they get outside, the better.