Sunday, March 30, 2008

Marsha's Chicken Eggs!

Marsha's Chicken Eggs!
The eggs with the blue hue to them come from her Ameraucana chickens
A perfect late Sunday lunch for two!
Once you get past the fact that these eggs come complete with chicken-ick on them you realize fresh-from-the-chicken are the only eggs worth eating. Yummy! I planned to serve them scrambled for breakfast this morning but because someone let me sleep until noon they had to wait for lunch. The first thing I noticed is how easy these eggs were to peel after boiling but what really struck me is how much more flavorful the yolk is. I chickened-out of making the blue ones today but I will! 

Saturday, March 29, 2008

If you Love me...


I was just about to toss our Easter ham dinner remains out to the little raccoon and possum that come to visit me when he came into the kitchen and told me that if I loved him I would use it to make ham and bean soup instead. So what could I say? I love the raccoon and possum more? No... So I tossed the ham bone into the freezer (and the ham scraps out to the raccoon and possum) and began searching for the best ham and bean recipe I could find - Ironically, this recipe I tried tonight is called, "The Best Ham and Bean Soup" - No really... But I settled on it not because it professed to be the best, but because it was the first recipe I found that didn't mention sorting through a bag of dry beans and soaking them overnight.

Earlier this week I decided I would not be in the kitchen making soup on Saturday since for most of the week it was close to 80 degrees and I had the air conditioner cranking in the house - Hardly soup weather. But as if by special request, it rained all night and most of the day and never reached 50 degrees - Perfect soup weather! Lucky him...  

And, just to dispel any doubts of my love I baked a loaf of my No Knead Bread to go with it too - Fantastic! 

And yes, it was the Best ham and bean soup - Here, try it yourself:

Best Ham and Bean Soup Ingredients

3/4 pound fully cooked ham cubed1 cup peeled diced potatoes
1 medium onion chopped3/4 cup diced carrots
2 cloves garlic minced3/4 cup diced celery
2 Tablespoons Butter1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cans (16 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and; drained1/2 cup frozen peas
3 cups chicken broth2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 cups water

Instructions for Best Ham and Bean Soup

Note: I prepared this soup in a 6 quart dutch oven because I added the large ham bone
In a 3 quart saucepan, saute ham, onion and garlic in butter until onion is tender.
Add the next seven ingredients; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add peas and cook for 5 minutes. Add parsley and serve.

We were just Going out for Koi food!



On our way to pick up food for our koi this morning we found a flyer announcing an estate sale so we made a slight detour. Unfortunately, there were lots of dealers present so just about everything I wanted was driven up close to retail before they would let me have it. Still, the Roseville pottery I got is below book price, all the glass pieces I got are perfect and my ending bids were all less than prices I've seen for similar items in the local antique stores. And, when I think of what I would have paid in Carmel or Monterey, I feel really good! And, you know what they say... A piece is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it - And, if you love it you didn't overpay no matter what the price. 

My better half picked up a walnut rocker (where it fits into the house is anyone's guess), a vintage brass fire extinguisher and a lot of garden tools; nothing I needed or wanted but I couldn't very well have all the fun! I love my finds but still cannot believe a trip to pick up a $27.00 bag of koi food ended up being a $590 day. 

Chickens!

Silkie Hen
Silkie Babies - Lots of them!
What a neat surprise to find chickens where we buy our pond supplies and koi food. Marsha, of Marsha's Koi now has chickens! She may sell a few later in the summer, she said but the Silkies are her babies and therefore will not be for sale. I've never held a chick or touched a chicken (that wasn't on its way to being a dish) so this was a real treat. I cannot wait to have a few. Have you seen the price of eggs lately? Speaking of - Marsha gave me a carton of 18 eggs - four of them are blue and the rest are brown. Breakfast tomorrow will be interesting since I've never eaten an egg that skipped the trip to the market before. Any way, I want three hens, and plan to name them for First Ladies - Pat (Nixon), Nancy (Reagan) and Mamie (Eisenhower). As beautiful as Marsha's rooster is, I don't think our neighbors would appreciate it so no rooster for me. Now all I need is a chicken coop! Maybe I should use the, "If you loved me" line. Hum...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mussels the Easy way!

Out of the box, out of the bag and into the pan - done in 4-5 minutes on medium high. I added a little butter and olive oil because habits are hard to break!
I tossed in some fresh linguini and Voila! Something that looks like it could be served at The Whaling Station on Cannery Row!
No fish monger, no chopping garlic - no muss, no fuss! Just a quick trip to Costco for the most perfect mussels, Ever! He said it was the perfect end to his day... I'm going back tomorrow for a few more boxes to stock the extra freezer!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our Easter afternoon Visitors

I was awaken from my nap this afternoon by all the quacking coming from the creek near my hammock - See Mr. and Mrs. Mallard swimming around in the pool in front of the water fall
They decided to take the easy way past me to get me further up the creek and over to the spot where we put food out for them - Here is Mr. Mallard in-flight
Before they made their way out of the creek I ran over to wait behind a tree to take this picture of them coming over to the pond for a snack. I love watching them and especially hearing all the conversation they make!

Easter Afternoon

A perfect way to relax after Dinner
William came out for a while too

Easter Dinner

Easter 2008

Holy Thursday
Good Friday
Easter Sunday - He is Risen!

For 237 years...

Here comes the Sun!
Old Salem building
Home Moravian Church, founded 1771
For 237 years Old Salem has held an Easter Sunrise Service - And every Easter since we moved to here we've attended. The service begins in the dark at Home Moravian Church next to Salem College in Old Salem village and after a procession up and over the hill, the service continues and ends on God's acre, the Moravian cemetery. Of course, being Catholic I would rather attend Mass but since I love the feeling of an outdoor sunrise service on Easter and since the Catholic church here doesn't offer one, we've made the Old Salem Moravian service part of our Easter celebration. We've had a nice breakfast so it's back to bed to listen to the birds chirp! 

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I finally made it Outside today!


Certainly not as early as I would have liked, but I did finally make it outside this afternoon and it was Perfect! You-know-who actually volunteered some of his daffodils for my table and set up the umbrella for me... And, in this spot overlooking my beautiful yard is where I enjoyed three hours of uninterrupted reading time! At five o'clock the ducks flew into the creek so I moved over to my hammock to watch them and take a nap before I had to leave the house to get over to the Honey Baked ham store before they closed at 7PM. I picked up my ham and a turkey breast for Easter dinner - Brandon's Amie is joining us so I told him to tell her dinner will be served at 3 o'clock because I fully intend to come back home for a nap after sunrise service, which will take us out of the house by 5:30AM. Happy Easter!

That Spring cleaning Bug bit Me!


My intention for today was to be as lazy as I could possibly be...  And although 70-degrees and my spot outside on the deck was screaming my name, the moment I felt the fresh Spring breeze wash over my sleepy face and heard the birds chirping I knew I was going to be busy spring cleaning! I started in my bedroom where I cleaned all the windows inside and out - I even took down the blinds and the valances, moved the bed and dressers, chased all the dust bunnies away, dusted every little thing and threw away everything I didn't feel like dusting - I tossed all the clutter down the steps and then moved into the bathroom and my closets. I washed and pressed all the linens and decided all the towels in the closets needed to be washed again too. I bought four bottles of mountain fresh scented Downey at Target last night and couldn't wait to use it. Everything smells like Spring now! After the master bedroom I drilled through the den, kitchen, laundry room and office, the downstairs bathroom and finished up in the solarium. I left two boxes of magazines on my neighbor's doorstep. I really need to rethink my 27 subscriptions! Any way, my Spring cleaning is done, which means opening the pool can't be too far behind...   

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bing's Kill

I wonder what a pet psychologist would have to say about this! Last night when I went to bed my Oma's chick was on the table in front of my Easter egg tree where I put it - But when I came down this morning I found my little chick in Bing's food dish.  Hum...

Good Friday

Even Better!

I ventured over to the craft store this morning for more faux stems to fill out my Easter egg tree and couldn't resist these cute little birds - I used floral wire to attach them to the branches. Who knew I could be so crafty? 
Do you see the little blue bird?  Too cute!
Results of my morning Garden surgery... 
Even Better!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sunset the evening before Good Friday



I finally Did it!

It has taken me far too many years to do it but today I finally pulled together what I needed to create my very own Easter tree. I've meant to do this ever since my Oma passed away and my Mom brought back her collection of Easter ornaments from Germany for me, but somehow eighteen years of opportunity have just whizzed right by! 

My lack of execution all these years aside, one of my many favorite memories of spending Easter with my Oma was always seeing the Easter tree she created. Oh, how I used to fiddle with her ornaments and pull all the pussy willow puffs off their stems - By the time little Janet was done, "looking" at Oma's Easter tree there were more forsythia blossoms on the table than on the tree! But my Oma, that sweet, sainted woman never once asked me to leave her tree alone.  

Unfortunately for me I couldn't duplicate Oma's Easter tree exactly since North Carolina seems devoid of pussy willow bushes and you-know-who would have a hissy if I had hacked even one branch off his forsythia bushes - so I had to resort to creating my tree out of faux stems. I'm sure buying faux flowers on the first day of Spring is a sin but the good news is that I'll have them every year going forward!

That doesn't mean I won't be doing a little garden surgery tomorrow morning though because that yellow pot on my table is begging for Daffodils...

Happy, happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Looks Presidential, Acts Presidential...

...and He has my Vote!
The next President of the United States of America
John McCain

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Springtime in North Carolina

Daffodils are Everywhere now!
They line the bank of the creek and in between my Hammock trees
The View from my Hammock spot today... Looking up at the big, Beautiful, blue Spring sky
Not a terrible way to spend an Afternoon!
In a few weeks my Shade tree will be Back in proper form!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Our college Dollars hard at Work!

Brandon and his ASU Buddies having a Toga party

...with toga Amie

Brandon and Amie at the Zoo!

I Love this Bird!
Love Birds?

Amie (sweet girl) drove up from Pinehurst Tuesday and they went to the North Carolina Zoo... Who needs a Caribbean spring break vacation when there's the Zoo!?

I knew Brandon would find a way to enjoy Spring break - Such a Good boy!