Friday, April 11, 2014

Central Coast Jaunt

  Last weekend, we took a quick one night trip to San Luis Obispo to do research on the monkey's California mission project. It was a great excuse to spend a night at Avila Beach...
This is one of the piers. There are seals or sea lions hanging on that weird contraption, that were making a ton of noise.
   Hotels in Avila tend to be pricey, but I nabbed a decent room at the San Luis Bay Inn for a reasonable price.
   The monkey was in heaven...
Of course, I had to stop at the Avila Valley Barn for some yummy treats, like Paso Almond Brittle. This is what remains of the old shack I photographed a number of years ago. It's completely collapsed.
   There was NO way I could visit the area without doing a little wine tasting! We had never gone through Edna Valley, so we cruised through on our way home. This is the view from Edna Valley Vineyards...excellent wine, and lovely grounds. In fact, HGTV was filming there.
   On the recommendation of the nice local at Edna Valley, we visited the tiny Autry Cellars. They only produce about 1,000 cases a year. This is where the magic happens! The machines in the back are a bottler, and corker, as I recall. A little pricey, but fantastic reds.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A teeny tiny Egg!

   So, over the weekend, one of our hens laid this teeny egg! Isn't it cute?? LOL

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cooking Perfect, Crispy Bacon

   As I make Sunday breakfast for my little family, I was marveling at how many people do not know the trick to making perfect, crispy bacon. That is, if you are like me, and like your bacon crispy. Some people like it soft; I believe they are ANYWAY, you double line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, place the bacon lined up in a single layer, and bake at 250 - 300 degrees. Do NOT cook at a higher temp; if you do, it will splatter too much, and not get that lovely, even state. It takes about 20 minutes or so.
   The one drawback, is it will infuse the house and clothes with the aroma of bacon (a plus or minus, depending on who you are). I counteract this by turning on a few 'scentsies,' and lighting a candle or two in the kitchen.
   When the bacon is done, drain on paper towels, and let pan cool. When it is cool, clean-up is a snap. Just take the foil with the cooled oil out of pan and dispose. Voila! I need to take my bacon out now!!
   IMPORTANT: It will NOT be crispy when you remove it. Take it out when it is evenly brown to your satisfaction. It crisps up when the oil drains out of it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Random Update...and CAKE!

  I couldn't bring myself to blog until now. I must admit, the house is much quieter since my Henry passed. This is the Frangelico cake I made for Valentine's Day. I believe I have posted the recipe in a prior post. It's way yum...
   This is the beautiful turkey we did last month. Cinnamon is one of the ingredients in the rubthat gives it an amazing color & flavor...

   Around March 1, we had enough snow fall so the monkey could sled, but not enough to try out my snowboard! Maybe next year...
   For Dr. Seuss Day, our wonderful room mom made these 'Cat in the Hat' treats. We also made oobleck, and cat in the hat parfaits. Fun AND yum!

   The most exciting thing that happened this week, was the monkey won an 'honorable mention' in the Kern County Science Fair. His category, 'animal, behavioral & field studies' had a ton of competition, so we were very surprised and happy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Sweet Henry

 As most of you already know, our beloved knucklehead, Henry, passed away Friday. This is my favorite photo of him & the monkey, when they were both 4 years old, right after we got Henry (he had cut his leg on a glass door, trying to get to a cat). This is Easter at our old house in Laurel Canyon. About a week later, he came down with bloat.
Here is Henry & another beloved late pet, Rio, trying to hypnotize the monkey's ice cream away from  him...
Henry looooved sleeping on a people bed...
Two cutie-pie buddies...
Henry would do funny things, like squeeze into small this laundry basket, for instance. I fell in love with that rascal when I met him at my friend's house in Petaluma. He kept stealing clean diapers from monkey's diaper bag, & tearing them up all over the house...

Monkey liked to be a doggy, too. We are going to really miss our Henry...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

December Update

 WOW! I cannot believe I didn't post at all in December. I guess I was busy! Kahlua is still a funny pig-horse. She loves to roll in the dirtiest spots she can find, and can be a little mischievous. Last week, she even gave me some serious bucking action, when she got happy & excited.
   I took this photo one mysterious night...
   This was our tree before we hung the ornaments. Also known as 'be-tree-moth,' it was the biggest tree we have ever had. HUGE!
   The monkey before his bands were removed (with our miracle dog Moose)...
...and after, celebrating at King's Hawaiian.

   My students rocked the Holiday show, with their renditions of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, & Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy.
   Will post a January update soon! Happy New Year!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving School Feast & a Move for the Chickesn

   My school had a fabulous Thanksgiving feast last week. This is a great picture of my class, in that it protects my kids' privacy, yet lets you see how adorable they looked in their Wampanoag & Pilgrim costumes. I was happy they were served the turkey I cooked (some of them said I was a good "cooker," lol).
   Only in Cuddy Valley, can you have such a lovely view on a Sunday morning, when you run out to get some coffee at the local mini-mart. We had just enough rain & snow on Friday night & Saturday morning to make mud, but it was still lovely on Mt. Pinos.
    After a hearty breakfast of pumpkin pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs, it was chicken moving day. The outdoor area would be too difficult for the hens, especially if we get any deep snow (we are two years overdue). So, we moved them to a sheltered area under the deck, that doesn't get more than an occasional dusting, even in the heaviest of snows.
   We are providing them with artificial light, since it is so dark, AND as part of the monkey's science fair project. We were hoping his teacher would approve our idea on the effect of changing the dogs' food on their noxious gas emissions, but she chose our chicken idea (maybe next year!). We are going to see how much light will stimulate them to lay eggs again (they have stopped for the last month).
   We had to remove the 'china ball,' as it diffused the light too much.
   Here are the girls as the hub commences the catch and move...
    The hub has a brush pile that needs to be chipped, we have named the "Habi-quail,' as several coveys have moved into it. A hen that we have named "Baka," (short for a bad word for idiot in Japanese), evaded capture, and kept hiding in the habiquail. Here, the monkey has a box trap (a la 'Looney Tunes') to try to catch her.
   The other three hens settled into their new area quickly. Their names are: Rocky, Scruffy, and Sweet Pea.

After HOURS of evading capture, the hub was successful in putting Baka in with the other hens. Here is their new area, with the current lighting arrangement.