Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lulu is a Brat!

Lulu hasn't been laying eggs since I was worried about her being  sick or eggbound just after Christmas.  She thought about it several times and sat for hours in her nesting box but it was only a passing thought.

She has also been losing feathers off and on the last few months.

Two days ago Lulu did lay a shell-less egg and I though "Oh, no!  Not this again!"  She seemed fine once she laid it - I guess she just doesn't have enough in her to lay eggs in shells.
When we had the rainy weather, Lulu was restless and wanted to go out.  I would open the door and she would look at the rain, turn around and come back into the house.

Since she was bored she decided to:
1.  Peck at the books and papers on the bookshelf.
2.  Check out the garbage can in the bedroom.
3.  Beat up on my sneakers and move them off the mat while pecking the shoelaces to death.
4.  Peck at my feet whenever I sat on the couch to pick her up.
5.  While snuggling beside me on the couch, pull and peck at my sleeve so I would pet her or at least keep my hand resting on her back while she slept.

What a brat!!  Lulu wasn't like this in the winter but maybe she got accustomed to the slower pace.  Now she wanted out but didn't want the rain.

Yesterday I put Lulu out in the morning and then had to go do some errands.  I still don't like leaving her out alone for too long because of that stalking cat.   When I went out to get her, she was already climbing the stairs to come in.  Now when the weather is bad, Lulu will do this but not usually in nice weather.  It crossed my mind that she wanted to lay again, but I thought "No, she doesn't, she just laid last night."

So I picked Lulu up and put her in the back seat where she always sits.  She started to squawk and mutter at soon as we left the yard.

I figured she was just giving me heck for not letting her in the house when she wanted in.

I made a couple quick stops and she continued to beak off.  I had one more stop that was to be quick but unfortunately there was a lineup. 

By the time I got back to the car Lulu was sitting quietly in the back seat.  It wasn't too hot as it was cloudy and I had the windows open for her but Lulu was panting.  I opened the door to get in and what did I find?  Lulu had somehow gotten into the front seat - she must have jumped up on the console between the two seats.  She had climbed on the driver's seat and POOPED on my cushion!  Then she went back in the back as if nothing happened.  If I didn't know any better, I would think she was showing me how "pooped" off she was.  Can you imagine!

When we got home, Lulu came into the house and proceeded to her nesting box where she sat and laid another "invisible egg".  ;)

What a chicken!  She sure keeps me on my toes!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fruit Trees Spring 2013

Well, it has been a weird spring as far as the weather.  We had frosty cold nights (down to -5°F) a few times and a week of +30°F weather.  The last week, we had lots of rain - enough to half-fill the small wheelbarrow.

I went out to check on how the fruit is coming and found both good and bad news.

Next to no peaches.  Last year we had so many that I had to thin them out.  The late frost happened when the trees were blooming so no peaches.  :(

The apricot tree in the back is loaded - even with Barry's severe pruning this year.  He cut the tree back quite a bit to shorten it so we don't have to climb so high on the ladder to pick the fruit.

We are going to have lots of plums.  They seem to be very hardy as we have had an abundance of plums each year.

Look at the poor cherries!  :(  They are so scarce, we didn't even bag the trees against the cherry fruit fly this year.  it was too much work for so few cherries.  The frost hit the cherry blossoms as well as the peaches this year.  :(

It looks like the apple crop will be good.  I will be soon thinning out the apples so the fruit gets bigger.  I'd rather have fewer but larger fruit than lots of small apples.

The pears are plentiful and will need thinning as well.

Here is the second apricot tree which is loaded like the other tree.  It'll be the year for apricot juice and jam.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Porky in the Tree

I saw this porcupine near Elk Island Park, Alberta and snapped a few shots.  It didn't like getting its photo taken and kept turning away so I had many shot of the back of the porcupine.  I persevered and got a few to include with this poem.  Enjoy!  ;)
How do you pet a porcupine?

 With that hair a fright?

 How do you pet a porcupine?

 Without a painful bite.

 How do you pet those needles?

 Without your hand going through it.

 The answer is quite simple…

Get your sister to do it.

By Evan James Griffin

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sourdough Sharing - Brownies

This month's sourdough challenge was brownies.  I decided to try a blondie recipe that I have made in the past and a new brownie recipe.

Now I love to eat them - both brownies and blondies but often seem to have trouble with the centres falling.  Help anyone?  It doesn't seem to matter which recipe I try (regular or sourdough) my brownies often have a cakelike texture around the edges and are almost sticky in the centre.  If I bake them longer, the edges get too dry with the centre usually not being much different from before (just a little more cooked).  Ideas?  Suggestions?

My brownies were taken from Rita Davenport's Sourdough Cookery book.  
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies.

1/4 c butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate (I substituted 3 Tbsp cocoa and 1 Tbsp butter for each square.)
1 c sugar
1/4 c peanut butter (I used chunky)
2 eggs
1/2 c sourdough
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

You are to melt the butter and chocolate over low heat.  Then add sugar and peanut butter.  For this step, I just used very soft marg. and my mixer.

Add eggs, sourdough and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients and stir into batter.

Spread in a greased 9" x 9" pan.  Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool and then frost, if desired.  I don't usually frost mine.

Here you can see the sunken middle.  :(

Here is one middle piece and one edge piece.  The brownies taste great with the chocolate and the peanut butter.  I will try them again, once I get help with the sunken middle problem.

The blondies are from a Robin Hood Flour pamphlet on sourdough.
Sherwood Blond Brownies

1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sourdough
1/4 c butter, melted
1 egg
1 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c chopped nuts or coconut

Beat together sugar, sourdough, butter and egg.  Again I used softened not melted butter.  (You don't think that is my problem, do you?)  Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Spread batter in a greased 8" x 8" pan.  Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes. 

Again you can see the dropped centre.  It is not as bad as the chocolate ones, though.

Again you can see how much higher and drier the edge piece was compared to the middle piece.  These taste great with the brown sugar and nuts - a nutty butterscotchy flavor.

Check below for other great brownie and blondie recipes to try.  Enjoy!  ;)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lulu and the Perogy

Lulu and I stopped in Glendon, AB to check out the big perogy.  She had already seen the pysanka and the kielbasa so we decided to check it out.

It was large and made me hungry (I love perogies).

Lulu wasn't too happy though and it was very wet in the park with lots of water.

She couldn't wander around looking for treats so she had to stay on the cement pad.  Poor girl.  I stopped a while later along the road where she could scratch in the grass and weeds looking for bugs and seeds.   ;)   

Monday, May 13, 2013

Carrot Seeds

Did you know that carrots are biennial?  That means that in order to get seeds from them you need to wait until their second year.  Well, I decided to take the challenge and give it a try.

What you do is save some carrots from the previous harvest year.  I stored mine in a plastic grocery bag that I loosely tied shut so they would still get some air.  You don't want it completely sealed or they might rot.  You keep them in a cool place - I kept mine in the extra fridge downstairs.  This is what they looked like this spring.

I dug a trench at the end of a flower-saving garden in the back yard.

I stuck the carrots in the trench.

Then I covered them up to the top of the carrot.

The carrot blossoms are supposed to be a bee magnet.  We will see what happens as summer progresses and keep you informed.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Lulu and the Dragonfly

Lulu and I were on the road again - this time to visit Barry in Bonnyville, AB and to move the trailer up there from winter storage in Red Deer, AB.

We stopped to check out the dragonfly in Wabamun, Alberta.

They don't claim it is the "World's Largest Dragonfly" but it is "Canada's Largest Dragonfly".  I checked on Google and the have the "World's Largest" at Ottertail, MN. 

Lulu wasn't impressed because from her view, all she saw was a tall pole.

Lulu also didn't like the fact that most of the grass was still brown.

It was too early for her to have green grass yet.

But she gave in and ate brown grass, picking through it for tender morsels of new green blades of grass.

Onward we go!  Lulu, the travelling chicken and Joan, the chicken chauffeur.  ;)