Friday, November 23, 2012

Screwing With Kids...

The other night after I'd picked up my sister from the airport and delivered her to my mom's place, we were all sitting around talking.

Suddenly my kid runs into the room from the kitchen, where she'd been with her grandmother and aunt. "Mom, is it true that the holes in swiss cheese are made by MICE?!"

Now, this kind of BS and mindfuckery is something my family is famous for, if really elaborate and on a grand scale well, all the better. Her father, reading a magazine next to me, freezes. By this time we know better than to catch each other's eye and ruin things. Over my daughter's shoulder I see my sister and mother grinning hugely and nodding emphatically at me in an exaggerated manner.

Don't laugh, don't laugh, don't laugh.

I bite my lip and carefully put on my most exasperated face. "Now--think, honey. How else are they gonna get the holes in there? It's the cheapest, easiest way and besides that the mice get fed, too. Geez, use your head." I say in a tired tone. Her father shakes his head and gives an 'of course' flavored snort.

Family members behind her are now dancing about in silent glee as my child stares agape at me in horror.

Hold expression, maintain eye contact, continue to sell the con...

And...she buys it.
She swings around and tears off back into the kitchen, where she is torn between 'ew, mousecheese' and eating one of her favorite yummy cheeses. Eventually yummy cheese wins out, as it always must.

We never did correct her thinking, though. That'll be a day for a whole 'nuther round of fun.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Adventures With Baking...

So today I'm making two pies for Thanksgiving, pumpkin and pecan. I get out all my implements of kitchen destruction and have at it, starting with the pie crust. Now, I've always been able to knock pie crusts right out with no problem. Today? Here at nearly 5000 feet? With an extra-dry, no humidity day?


My very first batch of good ol' shortening pie crust dough went together OK until I'd mixed it all and was forming it into a ball. Then it suddenly seized.


I tell you, I've dug stones outta my goddamned back yard that were softer. The thing was an instarock. Now I'm stubborn, so I tried rewetting it a bit to try and save doughrock.

No soap. It's now just a slimey rock. Oh, well, into the trash can it went with a resounding 'thud'.

I know better than to try the same thing, expecting different results. Off to the Internet I fly for advice, where I decide to switch up my pie crust fats a bit and go with a half butter/half shortening recipe, which I have never tried. But desperate times and all that stuff...

I follow the directions, which since they were on a forum thread were offhanded at best. Gonna try using my big ol' honkin Cuisinart food processor to mix the fats and let it earn it's keep a bit. Now...I've had the thing long enough to know that centrifugal force is a scientific fact and stuff sticks to the bowl but heck, all these other people are doing it, so it must work. Right?


I cut the chilled butter into small bits and toss it in, then hit the 'pulse' button. Haha, they do as I suspect and instantly fling themselves against the sides of the processor bowl, clinging like barnacles. I twist the top off and smoosh the butter back down with a spatula, and try again.

Same result.

OK. Maybe if I put the shortening in and try to mix them, some kind of wonderful baking-chemical-science-y magic thing will happen to prevent the stuff from sticking to the damned bowl...

No. Same result. OK.

Scrape goop down again, putting it well into the blades. Hit pulse. Stuff joyously leaps for the sides of the bowl and stays there. It's happening so quickly it boggles the mind, it seems preternatural.

Open lid. Scrape. Replace lid. Hit pulse. Lather, rinse, repeat. Ok, ok, OKAY!

Now, after about 10 tries I started to suspect that all these people online were crazed maniacs who posted maliciously in pie crust forums, and broke out all my $2 cuss words in a muttered, running, free-association rant. Some of it not so 'muttered'. I finally give up on the dumb Cuisinart and finish mixing the fats in a bowl with a pastry cutter, like normal humans do. Works great and I'm happy. In goes the flour, mix with the pastry cutter, add water, mix. Hallelujah, we have pie crust dough! Into the fridge it goes to chill.

Right about then my daughter sticks her head into the kitchen, looking a bit wary. She asks, "What was all the bad language for?"

Oops. Sorry kid.

I apologize and explain about the pie crust. Eventually the stuff is properly chilled, rolled out and made into pies with no further disasters. Won't know how it tastes until the whole family gets to eat it, yikes. Here's hoping the pie crust gods smile upon me.

I've suffered enough today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

This week's project...

This week it was the area where the living room & dining room meet, with ugly 70's half wall.

From the living room:

From the dining room:

Ugh. Just could not be uglier. And yes, I broke out some $2 cuss words while patching previous owners screw-ups and attacking the wall with a sander. As usual. What should have been a 1-2 day job took 4. I hate that half-wall with it's nasty 70's woodwork, but at the moment tearing it out wasn't an option, we'd have had to redo the carpet and the dining room floor to patch the hole. So paint it is!


Paint can work miracles!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daddy's Little Helper...

So here I am, MP3 player on and earbuds in, painting away in the living room.

Suddenly my husband returns from HIS project in the back yard, which today is repair of the coop doors, damaged in last week's windstorm. I notice he is scowling.

At me. Uh oh.

So I yank one of the earbuds. He growls, "Your chicken..."

I sigh. Whenever one of them misbehaves, we tell each other: 'Your chicken just...' (insert naughty chicken activity here).

"Which one?"


"What did she do THIS time?"

He then tells me how while he was trying to work, Linc was constantly underfoot, and completely engrossed by what he was doing. Now, this is how chickens ARE--if you are working around them, they must be intricately involved, like nosy old neighbor ladies. ALL of them. At once.

This can make for lots of chicken-y interference, like today.

"She wouldn't get out of my face!" He wails. Then he says she grabbed the screw off the end of the drill and was off to the races, forcing him to chase her around the run trying to get a potentially deadly screw away from a damned chicken before she swallowed it. This gave all the other birds the idea that Linc had a really cool goodie, so they joined in the parade.

He finally did wrestle the screw away from Linc, much to everyone's disappointment, and finished his project. I remarked on how Linc was just like Bear, our Head Hen, and asked him where Bear was during all this. Turns out Bear was watching the whole escapade fondly, as if Linc was following in her footsteps.

Like some kind of retarded Luke/Yoda thing.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Little-Known American Holidays...

For the benefit of people living outside the US, I thought I'd share one of our lesser-known holidays...

The annual Torture Of The Pumpkins!

First, introduce your Halloween jack-o-lanterns to a flock of suspicious chickens.

Your big, tough rooster will immediately run away screaming and hide in the coop for the next 10 minutes.

Hens, being more practical, approach cautiously...after all, it MIGHT be food!

Sooner or later, you just know that someone is gonna stick their head in one of the pumpkins...

...and Rose wins.

Not to be outdone, others quickly follow suit.

Zipper, with Bloop watching in confusion.

Pompadour is content with pecking out The Thing's eyes.

Gloria, the Brinkotter, goes at this 'eating' thing hammer & tongs while CM watches.

Sora and Pompadour are a bit concerned...

...and Pomps makes use of The Thing's eyeholes again, this time to watch her.

Bloop does, too.

As does Burger. Gloria was in there a long time.

After a while it got to be like some kind of weird 'stick-your-noggin-in-a-gourd' club.

It's hard to tell if the chicken is wearing the pumpkin, or the pumpkin is wearing a chicken. Sora, looking like a Christmas hat.


Chickens are so very predictably weird.