Monday, December 31, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Robins in the Winter

This year we noticed many of the robins did not fly south for the winter.  Up until a week ago that was fine because we didn't have any snow yet.  Now we have snow and ice covering everything as we had rain after a light snowfall that made the driveway into a skating rink.

The robins have been eating grapes left on the vine and have cleaned off the mountain ash berries.  I am concerned that they will have trouble finding food until the snow is gone.  They have been on the ground, digging the berries out of the ice and snow that they dropped off the tree.

I did some research on the internet and they are mostly fruit and insect eaters.  We put out a tray with some of Lulu's hen scratch and topped it off with chopped apples.  Since it has been really windy, we put a big rock in the tray so it wouldn't blow away.

Now we wait to see if they come to eat.  If so, we have lots of fruit in the coldroom and the freezer that we can share with them for the winter. 

We've had some lookers, but no one has ventured onto the tray to eat the apples and scratch.  Hopefully, soon one brave robin will try it and spread the word that we have food for them.  I would have for them to starve until the snow is gone.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

To all my friends, family, readers and fellow Lulu lovers - Have a very merry Christmas, safe holidays, and happy and healthy New Year.  All our best,  Love Joan and Lulu.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We're Back!

I finally made it back home.  Lulu not only survived but was thoroughly spoiled by my cousin, Tina.  She got treats and dustbaths and trips outside when it was nice and sunny.  Tina raked lots of leaves in the backyard and Lulu was there supervising and on worm patrol.

Tina said Lulu would follow her around and sit and the foot of her chair.  If Lulu figured Tina wasn't paying enough attention to her, she would stand up tall and peck Tina's clothes to remind her of her responsibilities.

Tina said Lulu had misbehaved for the first few days in that she would go to the bookshelf and peck at some of the books or go to the music shelf and peck at several of the cases that had cardboard covers.  Lulu would also go sit among the plants and peck at the wicker baskets and plant stands.

I'm glad Tina was here to look after Lulu because she would not have liked the trip.  Some of the days, the wind chill was -35°C.  BRRR!  Plus everyone had lots of snow so Lulu would not have been able to go out at all.

I did some visiting in Valemount, BC and Edmonton, AB before heading on to Saskatchewan - Delmas, North Battleford, Shellbrook and Prince Albert before I stopped in Saskatoon.  Unfortunately I picked up a flu/cold bug along the way and ended up spending most of my time in Saskatoon in bed.  Luckily I didn't pass it on to my parents with all my hacking and coughing, etc.

I did drag myself back home but am still under the weather.  Lulu and I spend a fair bit of each day cuddling on the couch.  She has much to say and chatters alot while staying close to Mama.

It is so nice to be home and to be able to cuddle my sweet Lulu!  ;)

Sourdough Sharing - Cookies

I was asked to join a group of bloggers (Sourdough Surprises) that enjoy using sourdough.  Each month, the group is asked to make a recipe in a chosen category and submit it on the 20th of the month.

I decided to join and participate whenever I can as I am always on the lookout for more sourdough recipes and this seemed like the perfect place to find and share new recipes.

This month's topic is cookies.  Since I have been away plus have been ill, I haven't done any baking lately.  I do have two cookies recipes to share that I have previously made and posted.  Just click on the cookie name and you will be linked to the original recipe.

Sourdough Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies is my standby sourdough cookie.  It is moist and chewy and filled with oats, chocolate chips and nuts.


I adapted the above recipe and came up with Sourdough Peanut Butter Cookies .  The cookies are a bit drier tasting, but most peanut butter cookies are.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Travelling Without Lulu

By the time you read this, I will be on my way back to Alberta and Saskatchewan to visit friends and relatives, leaving a trail of jams and juices, fruit and vegetables.

I have a cousin who is staying with me for awhile this winter and she is staying behind with Lulu.  It will be my first solo trip without Lulu for several years.  I will miss her lots but thought it better for her if she stays home with Tina.

Since we don't have snow yet, Lulu can spend a bit of time outdoors each day.  In AB and Sask. she won't be able to do that comfortably.  Lulu hates the cold and snow and would have to stay indoors all the time or in the car while we're out and about.

My mom is having surgery in December, so I'm not sure how long I will be staying in Sask.  Lulu would be miserable while we were there with all the snow and cold.

Tina has been spoiling and bonding with Lulu and they will keep each other company.

I won't be posting while gone as I won't have any Lulu stories or pics to share, my gardening is over for the year and I won't be doing too much exciting in the kitchen.  I won't update until I return home because my parents don't have internet access.

Take care and I'll return soon.  Joan and Lulu

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bad Year for Glasses

I've not had good luck with my eyewear this year. 

Earlier this year, I had an accident with my prescription sunglasses.  I was taking my lawnmower in for servicing and was helping lift it out of the trunk of the car.  I had been wearing my sunglasses and I removed them and set them on the roof of the car so they wouldn't fall off and get scratched.  After we got the lawnmower out and I slammed the trunk shut, I reached for my glasses and they were gone.  I looked on the ground and everywhere else and couldn't find them. 

When I opened the trunk I found that they had slid down and got crunched when I slammed it shut.  Surprisingly, the lens were fine but one arm had a right angle bend in the middle of it, and the other was bent out at the hinge.  I was able to straighten the bent arm by tapping it gently with a mallet but I didn't want to tackle the other arm for fear I break it. 

Because Lillooet is quite small, we don't have anyone to fix eyeglasses.  So I need to drive to Kamloops (2 hours away) to get them fixed.  I waited until I was going to visit Barry so as not to make a special trip.  Unfortunately, it was very sunny that day and I needed the sunglasses.  They stayed on because of the one arm behind my ear and the nose pieces were very tight.  The other arm stuck out from my head at 45° angle.  I'm sure I looked like a goof but they worked.  Luckily I was able to get them adjusted and quickly be on my way.

Now  a week or so ago, I was cleaning my eyeglasses and they snapped in half.  One half had the piece that goes across the bridge of your nose and the other part only the lens and arm.  I tried to tape them until I got to the eye doctor but you can't tape them without taping part of the lens and it is distracting seeing the tape.

I made an appointment to get my eyes checked and when I left couldn't wear my sunglasses because it was too early and still not completely light.  Twice I had to stop when I turned my head and half the glasses flew off my face.  As soon as I could, I switched to my sunglasses so I could drive without the bother.

I now have new eyewear on order and will soon see details again.  ;)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Sunny Fall Day With Lulu

After having some cool and windy weather, it turned sunny and warm.  I dug up my carrots and got the yard ready for winter while Lulu spent the day enjoying herself.  First she helped out my eating chunks out of one of the carrots.  She had never bothered with the carrots before, but the night before I snacked on carrot sticks and Lulu needed to share.  Now she helps herself while I am cutting off the tops.

Here she is checking out the tops to see if any bugs are hiding from her. 

"No bugs here, mom."  sighed Lulu. 

Then Lulu headed over to the herb garden to eat some gravel for her crop. 

She also found some grapes that had fallen and helped herself to the treat.

Then it was on to the garlic patch to scratch in the straw.

 "Not much happening here," commented Lulu.

"But look over there!  That looks interesting."  she exclaimed as she headed for the flower bed. 

"Ahh," Lulu sighed,  "Just perfect!  Lots of sun, some shelter from any stray breezes and soft dirt to bath in.  This is the life!"

"Hey!  It sure is nice to play in the leaves over here!  I like when they bunch up, sometimes you can find bugs." 

And as she spent the day enjoying the yard, she was oblivious to the gorgeous view that surrounded her.  ;)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lazy Man Cabbage Rolls

Since I blanched and froze quite a bit chopped cabbage (I had trouble with the heads splitting this summer), I decided to make some Lazy Man Cabbage Rolls.  You can make this recipe in your crockpot but I left mine in the trailer with Barry so I made them in the oven.  I had never used frozen cabbage for this and was interested to see how they would turn out. 
I brought the cabbage out several days early and thawed it in a container in the fridge.  You need to drain the cabbage before you can use it.
I mix together about 1 - 1 1/2 pounds of hamburger and 1 - 1 1/2 cups rice.  I add salt and pepper to this.  You could also add chopped onion if you wish. 

I then mix in a quart sealer of canned tomatoes.  I break the tomatoes up so the chunks are small. 

Put half the cabbage in the bottom of a roaster or casserole dish.  I almost always use a roaster so I have less chance of my casseroles boiling over. 

Place hamburger - rice mixture onto cabbage. 

Sprinkle on the rest of the cabbage. 

Mix a can of tomato soup with 3/4 can of water and pour it on top

Cook at 350°F for about 1 hour.  You can eat it as is or you can serve it with some sour cream.   

 I was very pleased with the taste and texture of the cabbage.  I would be hard pressed to tell the difference in taste between fresh and frozen. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lulu Returns to White Rock Beach

While Lulu and I were at White Rock, we had one nice sunny day and decided not to waste it, so we went to the beach. 

Many people had the same idea and there were many dogs running in and out of the water.  We decided to stay behind some shrubs so the dogs wouldn't notice Lulu and she wouldn't see them.

Since Lulu had lots of dirt and mulch to play in at Louise's place, she seemed to enjoy staying on the grass and checking out the weeds that had gone to seed in the shrub beds.  

We met a couple of charming children who loved Lulu.  The girl's name was Dune and she asked many questions and even wanted to hold Lulu.  She was very gentle with her.  Her friend, Roman came along later and Dune filled him in on her chicken knowledge.  She was very good with Lulu and Lulu was content to be held by a stranger.  They also fed her grass and weed seeds.   What a charming pair of children.

We did go down to the beach with Lulu so she could eat some shells for calcium but she spied the dogs and wanted back up on the grass.

The tide was out so the dogs had lots of room to run and splash. 

 Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the clouds to roll back in.

Lulu had a wonderful afternoon and both Louise and I enjoyed the sun while it lasted. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blackberry Peach Muffins

I found a recipe for Blackberry Peach Muffins  and wanted to try it ever since we had fresh peaches, blackberries and cream for dessert this summer.  Peaches and blackberries taste awesome together!

I didn't get the muffins made while I had fresh fruit available but decided to try them with fruit I froze this summer.  I had read on the internet that you can freeze peaches whole - just pick ripe, unblemished ones and pop them in freezer bags.  To use, take them out and when they are still frozen but a bit soft, place them  under running water and you can peel them very easily.  I have been eating some of the peaches, semi-frozen and they are very nice.  The texture isn't the same as raw but they are not mush either.

After I read the recipe in the blog, I found the original blogger made several goofs.  She mentioned adding egg but didn't have it in the list of ingredients.  So I checked out her original recipe (Apple Blackberry Muffins) and the current one and tried to correct the ingredients.

1 c peaches, peeled and cut into chunks (about 1 to 2 peaches)
1 c blackberries
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 c flour (I needed almost 2 1/4 c) (I would try 1 3/4 c next time)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 c milk (I would try 1/2 c next time)
1/3 c oil  (I would try 1/4 c next time)

Peel and chop peaches.
Add blackberries.  The original recipe said to mix sugar, cinnamon and fruit together.  I did but wouldn't do it that way again.  I found that the peaches got too mushy - maybe because they were originally frozen not fresh.  Next time, I would mix all the dry ingredients together and stir in the fruit.

Mix rest of dry ingredients with the fruit.

Stir together egg, milk and oil.  Add to rest of ingredients and mix only until combined.  The less you stir muffins the better they are.  If you mix them too much, they become tough.  I had to add almost 1/4 cup more flour to the recipe.  Next time, I would add less milk instead. 

The original recipe said to fill 12 greased muffin tins 2/3 full.  I had enough extra batter to fill 2 small Pyrex bowls as well. 

Cook at 375°F for 25-30 minutes.  The muffins were tasty but you couldn't see many peach chunks.  I would cut the peaches larger next time and mix them with the dry ingredients instead of the sugar.  I would also add less milk so not to toughen the muffins by the addition of the extra flour.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lulu Visits White Rock

Lulu and I went to White Rock to visit my sister-in-law for a few days.  It was very rainy there but Lulu still ventured out. 
"Wow!" exclaimed Lulu, "Will you look at the size of this leaf!" 

Lulu was out in the back where she found lots of dirt and leaf mulch.

"Boy, this ground is much spongier than my dirt at home.  I wonder if I'll still be able to find bugs and worms."  Lulu pondered. 

"The sounds here are different too."  noticed Lulu.  "There are much more traffic noises than at home."

"Oh, I think I found something yummy!"  explained Lulu and she uncovered a bug. 

"I wonder if it is going to rain all day?" wondered Lulu. 

She actually doesn't mind the rain too much as long as there is no wind and the temperature isn't too cool.  She loves the sun but really, really hates the wind. 

The yard was sloped upwards at the back and ended in impassible brush and vines.

"I wonder if I can climb that hill," mused Lulu.  "I wonder what is up there?" 

"Mom! It looks sunnier up there.  Can you see the rays coming over the hill?"  asked Lulu.  "I want to go up there and have a look." 

Lulu spent alot of time trying to climb the slope and did make it about halfway up.  She found things to eat and things to look at and enjoyed herself thoroughly.