Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Computer woes

My Christmas was a quiet time, as it is most years, and I've come to really like it.  No stress, no mad shopping at the mall, no deadlines, no pressure.  Just time spent with some friends, good food, Christmas eve candlelight service, and lots of quality time with the pets at home.  

In the meantime though, I've been having trouble with my computer lately, and it's getting worse.   I can get to most things, like my blog, Yahoo for e-mail, but when I click to open, or read e-mail or blog comments, I get the message "this page is not available at this time....."   I've checked my settings, defragged and run scan disk for errors several times, but it's to no effect.  I think the computer is.just.too.old.   I shouldn't complain, since I didn't have to pay for it.  It was a hand-me-down from a friend.  

So, I haven't been able to send e-mail from home, enter new posts on the blog, comment on others' blogs.  (I can still  read them if I go there directly from the search engine, but not the 'reading list' on my blog) or send our standard Amazon gift cards to each other to my siblings for Christmas.  I've gotten messages on several sites that soon they will no longer support my browser, and I have tried to upgrade (Firefox,etc) but they always say what I have can't support it.   The budget won't support a buying new one, so I will have to do what I can on my work lunch hours.

Ahhhhh, technology.

It was fun having several days at home with the pets.  Abigail is breaking out of broody mode and becoming more interactive. She gave Ciaran a warning peck when he got too near the open door of her cage.   Ciaran is feeling the cold, and wants to sleep under the covers with me at night.   After nearly two years, Michu has gotten so brave she comes downstairs mornings and evenings - but still sleeps upstairs.  After claiming a
new' chair I bought at the auction, she has started to share.  Ciaran is the only one who muscles his way in when she is already there, though.  So sweet to see them sleeping all in a tangle. 

I got Holly out of her cage (always a traumatic event for her) this weekend and when I settled her in my lap and stroked her for about an hour, I think she would have let me do that forever.   Holly and I are coming to an understanding.  She is still a drama queen, but she has begun to understand I am not out to kill or attack her every time I stick my hand in her cage.  When she sees me stroking and paying attention to the other buns, she either starts flinging her toys out, if the door is open, or she flops over on her side with a big sigh, and stares accusingly at me.  Drama queen.  

All of the buns are more mellow in the winter when hormones aren't raging.  I've gotten all three of the Mini Rex to lay on their back and go into the 'bunny trance,' while I rub their belly, and Truffle will too, if I hold him 'just the right way.'

Niko and Ivy, the two buns in the 'bottom bunks' just love letting themselves out of their cage for some playtime when I leave their door open - and then putting themselves back in when they are tired (although their outings are not at the same time).  They do NOT want me to take them out or put them back in though.   Niko loves to visit 'Rion, my Mini Rex buck, whose cage is just at the right height for sitting up, putting his paws on the ledge, and saying hello.   It's soooo cute.  'Rion seems to like his visits,  but I'm not going to risk letting them out together.

But then I have to go back to work........thank you, Lord, that I have a job to go to!  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's a good time of the year for it

I realized recently that I have been pretty much living on soup for several weeks now.  I love soup. Soup and good crusty bread is my idea of a great cold weather meal.  But this began when a month ago, I got a cold......that never left.  I think it really was a cold in the beginning, but has morphed into bronchitis and a sinus infection.  Soup sounded really good with all that going on, so during this time I have made all kinds of soup, and really enjoyed this simple but good food.
One of my favorites during this time has been a basic turkey-vegetable recipe I made with some turkey stock I made and froze at Thanksgiving.  I sauted lots of onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, added the stock and veggies, then minced some of my homegrown/canned jalapenos and added them.  It was wonderfully spicy - good for keeping those sinus passages open - and chock-full of of vitamins.

An easy-easy soup I like all the time, starts with basic potato soup.  I steam or simmer cauliflower, broccoli, or brussels sprouts (or a combination) until very tender, then mash them and add them to the soup.  It adds thickness and nutrition, especially with a handful of shredded cheese stirred into the hot soup.

I found a recipe for hot-and-sour soup (my favorite when eating at a chinese restaurant) but haven't tried making that at home yet.   It may be a while because we have a combo of ice/snow and slush on the ground that makes anything other than necessary travel - to and from work - unthinkable.  So I will wait to go out to buy some of the exotic ingredients it takes.

Do you have a cold-weather soup recipe that is a favorite?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Earth stood hard as iron .......

......... water like a stone.   Familiar lyrics from "In the Deep Midwinter, " and very descriptive of the conditions here, only it isn't even winter yet, much less 'mid.'   We had a couple of inches of snow here last weekend that are still hanging on, because it's so coooooold! 

Not much farming goes on at an urban farm in the winter.   I still haul bunny poo out - 5 gallon buckets at a time - and dump it on the garden, but I quit composting when it started getting so cold.  I know it should still be able to 'cook,' in the winter, but mine is such a haphazard pile, I doubted it would do that for me. 

I've upped my diligence about filling the bird feeder - and don't mind other critters that share in the dropped seed.  Last winter I saw definite wild bunny tracks going from heap to heap of bunny poo - checking it out.

Abigail is still broody, the Angora bunnies are about halfway through a coat-growing cycle, the Mini Rexs are molting, and the cats are practically hibernating.   Not much going on here - farm wise.    I went to Versailles after work one day this week to pick up chicken feed, and there inside the door was a huge, black, stove (coal? wood?) giving off lovely rays of heat - just the thing when walking in from the cold.  The hiss of the stove, the homely smells of the feed, the people in coveralls coming in and out.......why do I live in the city?

I made another score at the auction last week - that as usual I did not plan to go to - a lovely old piece of transferware: 

I had said in another post that I would like to find another piece or two of brown transferware, and even though this is a LOT more elaborate in design than what I really like - it was mine for a low bid.  A blogger who seems expert in this area was nice enough to tell me the pattern when I e-mailed her.   The really exciting part is she is sure it was manufactured between 1826-40.  I don't have to have old things, and I'm usually just has happy with reproductions and Home Goods ware, but the history-lover in me was impressed with the age of this.

Lastly, thank you to Michelle , who surprised me yesterday with a package of some samples of her Shetland fiber, because I said that was one breed I had never spun.  The samples are luscious, and I can hardly wait to get to them.  I may even pull out a spindle for the occasion.   I keep telling Michelle I wish someone in this area would get into Shetlands for fine fiber, and now that I've felt her Shetland roving, I'd like that even more.

Until next time from Wren Cottage ..........