Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Happenings Lately

On Palm Sunday, Honorary Son proposed to DD1!  I had to keep it a secret nearly a week, until they were able to spread their good news to all the close relatives they felt needed to be told in person (versus see it on Facebook or hear it second or third hand).  As of yet, no date has been set for the upcoming nuptials, they are trying to work around the college schedules of the (intended) maid of honor and best man.  Well, and DD1's last semester of school too, which will be spent student teaching she has not heard where yet. So, the wedding could possibly be this December, or not until next May or later.

The ring belonged to my Grandmother (who passed away in December 2012).  One of her last requests was that her wedding ring go not to one of her daughters-in-law (she had only sons, no daughters of her own), not to one of her granddaughters, but to DD1 who was her first great-granddaughter (of three).

A new pancake shaping skill:  a footprint!  The toes need a little more finesse, but not bad for a first try.

Pussy willows and forsythia made an Easter centerpiece.

Since both DH and DS2 had a four day weekend, they decided to make a batch of bratwurst, jerky, and smoked snack sticks.  One little glitch--the casings they were sold to make the snack sticks with were too small for our stuffing tube--they were breakfast link size--and a last minute substitution had to be made with what other casings we had on hand.  So our snack sticks look more like kielbasa. . . DH says they are "snack logs".

Suddenly the grass is growing like crazy, the lawns and hay fields are all green, and quite a few of the trees are starting to leaf out.

The rhubarb has jumped into gear too.  If it keeps growing at this rate, I'll be able to make a pie with it next week.  I've never had fresh rhubarb for pie in April before.

Most of my daffodils are in bloom, as are the forsythia.

The hyacinths are at their peak, and the wasps have woken up from their winter's nap.  They are loving the fragrant waxy blooms.

Tulips are blooming on the south side of the house (as are the dandelions!)  The tulips in my other flower beds are nearly ready to open as well.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chive & Garlic Corn

This is one of the recipes I tried in March that both DH and I loved.  It's so good, a nice change from 'plain' frozen corn.  (If I can't can my own, I don't usually eat canned corn, but prefer to buy frozen corn). The recipe comes from Taste of Home's 2008 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes cookbook.  It calls for the frozen corn to be thawed before using, so I just dumped mine in a pan, added a little water, and heated it until the water began to steam.  Then I drained out the water, and continued as the recipe directs.

Chive 'n' Garlic Corn

1 package (16 oz) frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced chives (mine were cut fresh from my chives planting, and 'minced' by snipping with my herb shears)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (I used 2 cloves, and put them through my garlic press)
1/8 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

In a large skillet, saute corn and onion in butter for 5-7 minutes or until tender.  Stir in the chives, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Yield: 4 servings.

Quick to make, and what a nice way to dress up a commonly used vegetable.  I made a big batch of this and took it as my dish to pass to the church potluck on Palm Sunday.  It disappeared really fast.  By the time I got through the line, the dish was nearly empty, and DH didn't get any at all!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Childrens Suspenders

I don't know why, but it seems that even though K3 and Toad really have two different body types--she's built like a stick and he's more stocky, like their father--neither one of them seems to be able to keep their pants from falling down.  Doesn't seem to matter the size; some are inches too short, some are the right length, some are long, and all look like they fit in the waist.  Doesn't seem to matter whether they are denim jeans, jeans with elastic waist bands, jeans with 'adjustable' waistbands, or stretchy leggings or sweatpants. Those kids just can't keep their pants up.  Seems like every ten minutes or so they are hiking up their britches again so that they don't get tripped up by the low riding pants (or because they're resembling plumbers and some elder has told them to 'fix your pants').

And it's not just those two whose pants are constantly sliding down.  I've heard the same complaint from a few other mothers and grandmothers about their own youngsters these days.

Which makes me wonder why it is just about impossible to find child-sized suspenders in the store.  DS2 was a skinny child (his uncle nicknamed him "Stick Boy"), and from the time he was old enough to walk until he was in second or third grade, he wore suspenders to keep his pants up. He had a few pair; suspenders weren't trendy, but they weren't all that hard to find back then. Now, however, suspenders seem to be non-existent unless you want to buy them online and pay a small fortune for dressy ones from a bridal/tuxedo store or dance costume company.  Dressy ones not needed, just nice durable every day suspenders to keep pants in the proper place.

So, I decided that this grandma was just going to have to make some suspenders if K3 and Toad were going to have any luck keeping their pants up.

After finding all the necessary parts--patterned elastic, adjusters, and clips (all of which I had to get online because apparently none of the craft stores near me carry any suspender making ingredients)--it didn't take me long at all to whip up some really cute suspenders.

Seriously, not long at all.  Maybe 30 minutes, tops, to  make two sets.

I made Toad's slightly shorter than K3's, but both are adjustable and should last several years before they are outgrown.  Maybe by then the manufacturers of little kids' pants will make a product that stays in place while being worn.

K3's are a really cute light green with multi-colored polka dots.

Toad's are red with black paw prints.  He's a fan of Paw Patrol, so I have the feeling he's going to call these his "Paw 'Trol" suspenders.

I mostly followed this tutorial for making them, substituting in the triangle adjusters in the back instead of sewing the elastics together where they cross.  I figure they will fit more comfortably, longer, if they are adjustable that way and not having a 'rigid' triangle that gets lower on the back as the kid grows.

These two pair will go in their Easter baskets.  I think I'll make a few more pair to keep here in my stash of Emergency Grandkid Clothing for when they come visiting and their suspenders get left at home (which, given the disorganization of both their parents, is bound to happen.  That's the reason I started my stash of grandkid accessories in the first place.)  Plus, there's bound to be more grandkids in future years who need suspenders.  Heck, if low-rise jeans for women don't go out of fashion soon, I might make myself some suspenders.  Whatever happened to pants that sit at your waist like nature intended?

Friday, April 7, 2017

April Goals

April has lived up to it's reputation (April showers. . .) so far.  I think we've had rain at least half the day 4 days of the six April has given at this point.  At least the weekend was beautiful (and full of outdoor work), and this coming weekend looks promising as well.

With the wet weather, I've had lots of indoor time for thinking and planning.  Some of which has resulted in my list of goals for the month.
  1. ride 12 times (barring any more lost shoes or lame horses)
  2. lose 2 pounds
  3. lose 1" of waist
  4. walk 1/2 hr 3-4x week (wonder if walking in the woods with the grandkids on Saturday mornings counts?  I haven't so far because it's been a less than vigorous pace, but then again it is usually an hour or more, so maybe could count as 1 half-hour vigorous walk session?)
  5. try 4 new recipes
  6. do 1 jigsaw puzzle
  7. read 2 books -- 1 non- & 1 fiction
  8. 1 hr declutter/organizing per week
  9. reduce anxiety
  10. finish Peru socks & K3 sweater
  11. plant peas, lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots & potatoes in garden
  12. put the Quarter Horse up for sale
All of these goals are totally obtainable.  Not one of them is out of the question. (Well, maybe #11 is, since it is more dependent on the weather than the rest of them.  I can't plant seeds into cold,waterlogged soil. . . )

Number 9 seems a little nebulous, but if I said that it could also be listed as "be kinder to myself" or "take a nap when I need to" or "just because I did it when I was 20, 30, 40 doesn't mean I have to do it now at 45" or "just say 'not my issue'" maybe that gives you an idea of what the objective is with this one.  I, more often than not, find myself feeling over faced, exhausted, or with people trying to put more responsibility on my shoulders than necessary. 

DH and I have had a few conversations lately on where the line is between helping and enabling.  Which is sort of ironic since some of the things he would prefer me to be responsible for (versus him being responsible) could fall on the enabling side. I understand that he's kind of overwhelmed at work, but does that mean it's okay to expect me to pick up more of the tasks at home if doing so is overwhelming me? Does he really require 2-3 hours "relaxing" on the couch in front of the TV with the computer on his lap everyday after work?  Or could he, perhaps, do a few chores instead?

I won't even get into the whole when/if/how long each week we should have the grandkids over. . . that is definitely a balancing act between 'for the good of the child' and 'enabling a parent to not change their ways'.  That topic, though, is probably the biggest source of my anxiety this year.  And the impetus for the helping vs enabling conversations between DH & I. There are so many other things I'd rather spend my time with him doing than rehashing the 'what to do about the kids' topic every few days.

Another source of my anxiety is that the population of this little place here will be changing again at the end of April.  And it will be in flux for no one really knows how many months after that.  DD2 will be coming home from college when the semester ends, but then leaving for her study abroad trip a couple of weeks later.  She'll be gone for six weeks, then home for about a month before leaving to go back to college.  Right about the time DD2 heads back to the U.P., DD1 very likely will be moving home again in order to do her student teaching.  Apparently, even though student teaching is an unpaid semester of full time work, those education students doing the teaching are not allowed to work elsewhere (the premise being they are teaching all day, plus doing lesson planning and grading papers in the evenings and on weekends and so have no time for outside employment). As such, with no income, DD1 has requested to move back home for her final semester of college and has asked to be assigned to a school within a reasonable commute of this little place here.  We aren't really expecting her to move out immediately after her graduation in December, so I have no idea, once April ends, when DH & I will return to empty nest status.  There is a strong possibility that there will be a wedding for DD1 and Honorary Son before the nest is emptied again.

So, yeah, I feel that it's important for me to get a grip on my anxiety level before this month is over.  Coping mechanisms will be needed in the future for sure.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My Tea Is Pink

. . . And it smells delicious.  Fruity.  It has dried apple pieces in it, as well as dried citrus, pieces of beet, and flower petals.  Rose, hibiscus, and orange blossom.  Rose hips too.

I have to confess, I've never liked tea.  I've tried it many ways through the years--hot, cold, iced, sweet--and my reaction has always been the same.  BLECH!!  I've been known to call it "hay water" because that's my take on it--it tastes like a hay chaff infused horse water bucket (ask me how I know these things. . . LOL).

But then, DD2, who absolutely loves tea, recently introduced me to a whole new tea world.  Unfortunately it's pricey, but, mmm, I can stand to drink this stuff!  She'd been given some Teavana tea by a good (and generous) friend.  And because it contained absolutely no 'tea'; as in black tea or green tea, she thought I might actually like it.

She was right.  Darn it.  So, not only am I 
  • a picky eater (have been all my life; probably the only kid in the world who hated fish sticks, hot dogs, and fast food burgers) who has a palate for 'real' food, 
  • a picky beer drinker who can't stand any of the popular commercial beers (anything in a can,  bottle or keg with a TV advertisement basically) even if it's given to me for free; who likes dark, thick, microbrews (the higher the gravity the better; Imperial Stouts are the bomb!)
I'm a picky tea drinker.

Apparently the only tea I like is not your standard comes-in-a-tea-bag-in-a-box-at-the-grocery-store kind of tea.  Nope.  Me, I like the expensive 'loose' herbal kind of tea with no tea leaves at all.  In fact, it doesn't have leaves of any sort.  I've tried a couple different flavors now, and I like the fruit and flowers (and cocoa nibs!) teas. Sorry mint and red raspberry leaf, you, too, taste like hay water.  

Guess I'm going to have to learn to grow and blend my own fruity/floral teas now.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Falling Short Again

These were my official March goals:

  1. Ride at least 12 times (preferably three rides a week).
  2. Walk 1/2 hour 3-4x a week (actually, this was a directive from my Dr. in late February and is in effect until mid-April) plus workout at least once a week.
  3. Lose 2 pounds (a February do-over).
  4. Lose at least 1" from my waist (also February do-over).
  5. Try one new recipe a week (need to eat more meat and veggies and less starch/pasta/potato/rice).
  6. Do one jigsaw puzzle.
  7. Read one novel and one horse related non-fiction from my book collection.
  8. Spend at least 1 hour a week on decluttering/organizing.
  9. Put the Quarter Horse up for sale (need to get current nice photos and a video of him being ridden would be helpful to speed up the sale).
  10. Knit a sweater for Toad (to be an Easter gift) and at least start a sweater for K3 (hopefully also for Easter, although her end of April birthday will be a backup date).
  11. Start my tomato, pepper, broccoli and cabbage seeds.

Now that March has come to an end I see that, like February, I fell a bit short of accomplishing those goals. Honestly, March was a struggle, and so far April has been fairly anxious too.  Not to blame the days I spend with Toad and K3, but a whole bunch of my (previous project/relaxation) time has gone there.  In addition to the hours they are actually here each week--typically close to 24 continuous-- at least another hour or two weekly is spent in discussion with DH that relates to them (or, rather, the parenting they are getting or not getting at home).  It's a tough time.  That's a topic for another post, one of these days, when I feel like I have an answer.  Or, at least, can write about it objectively and not sound like I am bashing anyone. Like I said, it's a tough time.

To update where I am with the goals I set for March is the topic of this particular post, so let's get on with it.

Goal #1, well, I came pretty close.  I had 9 or 10 rides out of the 12 I had set as target.  Could have made all twelve except that the Quarter Horse again lost a shoe, which resulted in three lost days that could have been (and two of them had been reserved as) riding time.  Darn all this rain and mud we've had and continue to have!!

Goal #2.  Nope, nope, big NOPE.  I have failed so bad at this.  My only hope is that the exhaustion and strong heart-pounding I feel after slogging through ankle deep mud to feed a few of the horses (who live in round the clock turnout) at the eventing barn has made up for some of those walks that didn't happen.  Honestly, just getting the morning feed done at the eventing barn and then 6-10 stalls (depending on the day) cleaned at the dressage barn have been leaving me pretty much wiped out on physical activity for the remainder of the day Monday through Friday.  And I can't wait to go back to my Dr. later this month and ask him WHY?!? I am feeling worse in terms of energy level even though I am taking both the D3 and Iron supplements he put me on back in mid-February.  Six weeks should be at least starting to make a difference, shouldn't they?  If those 'lacks' are the real problems (which I'm skeptical they are; I asked for a referral to an endocrinologist and this was the answer I was given).

Goals 3 & 4:  Depends on how you look at it.  On my official weigh and measure day (March 31st) I was up 2.5 pounds from the beginning of the month, and down slightly in measurement of various body parts (ribcage, waist, hips, thigh, upper arm. . .) and I was also on my period.  Normally I wouldn't jump on the scale again until the end of April, but that 2.5 pounds really bugged me, so on April 2nd (the end of my period) I reweighed myself and found that I weighed 3.5 pounds less than I had on the 31st, which meant a loss of one pound in the month of March--and a pretty clear indication of how menstruation can affect your weight/shape.  I didn't remeasure, so not sure what the real loss in inches for the month was.

Goal #5, met.  YAY, I got one!  New recipes were an Amish style chicken and noodles dish, a doctored up corn--who would have thought corn with onion, garlic and chives would be delicious?!? (it was awesome, definitely a keeper recipe and one I will put on the blog), a seasoned green bean recipe, and a dinner (pork chops) recipe I can't remember at the moment.

Goal #6 also met.  Doing a jigsaw puzzle has been a nice mental break. Plus, the drawers of puzzles I have in an old dresser are slowly getting emptied.

Goal #7, sort of.  I did read the novel; enjoyed it immensely.  The non-fiction book got set aside and I will have to decide if I want to keep and finish it, keep it for reference (using the index when seeking the info within) without finishing, or just get rid of it.

Goal #8 I didn't keep close track of the time, but I think I managed to pull this one off.  At least, the "Goodwill Box" in the basement has gotten a little fuller (and should be taken in for donation in April) as well as several non-usable items being disposed of.

Goal #9 has not officially happened.  I guess I did some 'research' on best place/way to market him but I haven't pulled the plug and put up a listing yet.  Partly due to that lost shoe (and resultant lameness) in the latter part of March.

Goal #10 Got this one done!  With the exception of the buttons, Toad's sweater is finished.  K3's is started.  One adjustment to the goal has been made: they will not be Easter gifts (due to how many things seem to get lost and never used at their home) but will stay at this little place here for use when the grandkids need a sweater or jacket here (weather appropriate clothing, or the lack of, is an ongoing issue when they come to visit).

Goal #11  This one also got accomplished as intended!  There are dozens of little green sprouts soaking up the sun in front of the sliding glass door in my living room.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Knitting on a Thursday

Well, this seems weird, posting a knitting update on a Thursday instead of the Wednesday Yarn Along that I've participated in for quite a few years.  I have to confess to being anal retentive and a creature of habit; it's going to take me a while to adjust to not having the Yarn Along anymore.

I have Toad's sweater finished (including the blocking) with the exception of the buttonbands and the sewing on of the buttons themselves.  This pattern (Little Shore cardigan) calls for blocking once the body and sleeves are finished, and only after that do you knit the neckband and the buttonbands on the front.

I plan to knit the two buttonbands tonight; I think I can get them both done in one evening.  I have to confess that I don't have the buttons for this yet.  There might be enough of the right size and whimsy in my button stash all ready, or I might have to do a little shopping; I'm not sure at this point.  No big rush on getting those buttons on as I plan to knit K3 a sweater too before giving this to Toad.

Originally my plan was to knit each of them a sweater for Easter, but then (after discussing the idea with DH), I decided that I didn't want to give the sweaters as gifts.  Mainly because most of the things we have bought/made for those kids are never seen again once they get to DS1 and K2's house.  A total lack of organization on the part of the parents and a ton of gifts from the other grandmother are the main reasons things seem to get lost in that house.  Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I believe that having a place for everything and everything in it's place makes daily life much easier, plus you can 'inventory' the kids' clothes at a glance and know what fits and what has been outgrown (and make sure things get worn before they get outgrown. . .)

Instead of gifting the sweaters, I've decided that, like the aprons I made the kids earlier this month, the sweaters shall stay here at my house, to be used when the kids are here.  Because the more often we have them over, the more obvious it is that lack of extra clothing or weather appropriate clothing isn't an oversight in the hectic moments of getting two children out the door to go anywhere, it's just the way it is in that home.  *sigh*  So DH and I have come to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to have a stash of 'extra' clothes, hats, mittens, etc here for the kids.  That way, no matter what their parents send with them for their weekly overnight visit, the kids will have weather appropriate attire to wear outside to play.  A sweater makes a nice substitute for a jacket in the spring and fall, and on cooler summer nights.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Close Call With (Ninja) Turtle Pancakes

So, this having the grandkids overnight on Fridays is starting to get routine.  They arrive, they want to play with puzzles, K3 wants to listen to music and dance, they plan to make pancakes with me for breakfast on Saturday. . .

The pancake making might be getting a little out of hand, though.  I have made 'regular' pancakes, Mickey Mouse head pancakes, snowman pancakes.  I'm keeping the bunny shaped pancakes a secret until closer to Easter, and haven't even done any of the additional ingredient pancakes yet, like chocolate chip pancakes (where the chocolate chips form a smiley face), or blueberry pancakes (or even strawberry  pancakes, if the strawberries are cut fairly small). My pancake repertoire is probably unusually large, as I like to cook, and I was pretty young when my kids were little, (not to mention most of the time I didn't work outside of school hours) so it was fun to get creative with breakfast.

This past Friday night, as the grandkids were going to bed, Toad requested ninja turtle pancakes.  He is in a (Teenage Mutant) Ninja Turtle phase right now.  Somewhere, in the recesses of my memory, I vaguely remember making turtle shaped pancakes when DS1 and DS2 were little. Twenty years ago? I told Toad I wasn't sure if I could make ninja turtles, but I would give it a shot.

I was awakened (for the second time, since I'd gotten up with DH at 4:15 a.m. to make sure he got off to the airport on time for a work trip) just after dawn on Saturday by a little voice coming from the hallway:

"Grandma, it's morning!  We have to make ninja turtle pancakes!"

So, still in our jammies, Toad, K3 and I went downstairs to the kitchen, donned our aprons, heated up the griddle, and mixed up pancake batter.  I again told Toad that I wasn't sure I could make the pancakes look like ninjas (I was sure I couldn't, short of a mold that would define their eye-masks, etc), but that I would make him some turtle pancakes.

Taking a large spoon and a small one (teaspoon), I poured a spoonful of batter onto the griddle with the larger spoon.  With the small spoon, to this I added a small circle of batter for a head, and on the opposite end, just a little triangle of batter for a tail.  Then came four small dribbles of batter for the legs, two on each side of the 'shell' body.

At which point Toad informed me that it didn't look like a ninja turtle.  I apologized, telling him it was the best turtle I could make. He acquiesced that it did look like a turtle, but it wasn't a ninja turtle and he didn't like it.  So I started making Mickey Mouse heads with the remaining batter, since K3 had requested Mickey Mouse pancakes.

When the turtle had cooked through on the bottom and was ready to be flipped, it suddenly became an acceptable turtle to Toad, and he asked that I make a second one just like it.  Since grandmas are suckers for doing things to make their grandkids smile, I painstakingly created another turtle with the last of the pancake batter.

Life looked great.  Toad had his turtle pancakes, K3 had her Mickey Mouse pancakes, we all sat down to the table and said grace.  That's when things began to descend into chaos.

I went to butter Toad's pancakes, and he immediately protested.  He did not want butter on his turtles.  Okay, I put the butter on K3's Mickey head instead (thank goodness she was being easy and not as opinionated as her brother that morning).

Then I started cutting up Toad's pancakes into bite sized pieces. The kid went ballistic. You'd think I was torturing him.  Killed his dog (had he a dog) or something.  He howled.  He nearly jumped out of his chair.  He had actual tears popping out of his eyes.

"NO, Grandma!  Don't cut my turtles!"

Oh shit. Here are these decapitated turtle pancakes with amputated appendages and there is this two year old grandchild having a nuclear meltdown at the breakfast table.  Think fast, Grandma, or your morning is going to suck.  And Grandpa is blissfully unaware, on his airplane ride to Phoenix.  No one can help me now. . .

Toad insisted I fix his pancakes.  He wanted them uncut.  I'm not about to reheat the griddle, mix a new batch of batter, and hold off breakfast while I fashion and cook two new, whole, turtle pancakes.  Think, think, think, think.  How to remedy this?

In a flash of brilliance (and a ton of desperation), I dropped the knife and used my fingers to line the cut up pieces back into recognizable turtles. As I'm putting legs back to bodies and heads back where they belong, I cheerfully say "Look!  It's like a turtle puzzle!"  Because Toad absolutely loves puzzles right now.  And he's really good at putting puzzles together, too (almost better than his sister who is nearly 5 years old).

He stopped his brokenhearted wailing, and looked from me to his plate.  I finished reassembling his pancakes.

"See?  Now you have puzzle pancakes that are turtles! And when you eat the pieces, you'll have a turtle puzzle in your belly!"  I told him with a big reassuring grin.

His look of skepticism changed to one of delight.  He even smiled as he requested syrup for his turtles.  Then he ate every single bite of his pancakes.

Phew.  Crisis averted.  Grandma lives to enjoy another day.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

We Made a Snowman

Again last Friday, K3 and Toad came to stay overnight.  We had a snowstorm. I guess you could say the last official one of Winter, since Spring began three days later.  I know better than to think it was the last snow I'll see for months, as here in this part of Michigan it's not unheard of to have a random snow squall until shortly before Memorial Day.  April snows, in fact, are what greens up the grass so well and seems to make the early blooming flowers more vibrant.

Anyway, on Saturday morning there was about an inch and a half of snow on the ground, although the air was warming quickly. So right after breakfast we bundled the kids into their snow gear--more for keeping their clothes dry than for warmth--and took them outside to play.  DH got out the 4-wheeler and hooked a sled behind it and gave them sled rides around the yard for a little while.  Each one got a faceful of snow on a sharp turn where their rear end separated from the sled, but it didn't dampen their enthusiasm for climbing back on the sled and being whisked away again for more smiles and giggles.  Later, he confided in me that he'd purposely upended them, so they could see that playing in the snow often means biffing it a time or two but is no reason to not play at all.  Plus, he has plans for when they get older and bigger. . . longer ropes and corners with a little more snap to them when the kids are stronger and can hold on better (and will love playing crack the whip on a sled).  I don't know, maybe I need to add the caveat that when you live where there aren't many sled-able hills, you have to get creative in your sledding endeavors. . .

We also built a snowman.  It has been years since I built a snowman, and I think this is the first one the kids have built, so he came out a little rough.  And, being a very sticky late season snow, more than a few dead grass pieces got picked up by the snow during the rolling process.  He's definitely not your pristine white stereotypical snowman.  But, he was just Toad's height, and the kids were delighted with him.  They reminded me that a snowman needs a carrot nose (I think, due to their familiarity with Olaf from the movie Frozen.) so we had to retrieve one from the refrigerator crisper drawer in the house.

Then Toad informed me that our snowman had no mouth (due to the lack of small stones in the yard or driveway).  So I found a young, flexible stick that just happened to be red (and on a branch I was planning to prune anyway) and we gave Mr. Snowman a mouth.  That made him happy.


He smiled until after the kids went home, and the fog lifted and the sun came out to melt him away.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Yarn Along 2017.12 (Sort of)

Happy Wednesday to you!  For the first time in nearly a month, it is not a windy Wednesday at this little place here.  Instead, the sky is a flawless blue, and the sun shines brightly (even so, we are having the 'coolest' day of our week here with a noontime temperature of 32 degrees Farenheit!).

I was going to join Ginny this afternoon for the weekly Yarn Along.  But, she has thrown a curve ball (see her post here if you wish) and it seems today I am yarning along with just me.  What a surprise! But yet, I can totally relate to where she is coming from.  Been there and done that.  I will miss the Wednesday ritual, but yet, setting myself free to talk about knitting on any day of the week, not just saving it for Wednesdays (and, inversely, not feeling like I can only talk knitting if I blog on Wednesdays) really is just what I need right now too.

But, for today, I will continue with my original plan of showing off the knitting progress I made in the past week.

I present to you a one-armed sweater!  I finished the body portion of Toad's Little Shore cardigan late last week, and knit the left arm (as it would be if on a person) at the beginning of this one.  The weekend was knitting-less, with time spent with the grandkids and with doing some outdoor work with DH for most of Sunday after church.

Also featured today is a Peru sock (as I've taken to thinking of them since they are intended for DD2 to take to Peru with her later this spring when she does her Study Abroad trip that will fulfill her minor in International Spanish). It is almost ready for me to start working the heel flap.

When I haven't been knitting, working, cooking, doing housework, doing yard work with DH, minding/entertaining/playing with the grandkids or riding horses this past week, I've been reading book #2 of The Dressage Chronicles series. This one, A Matter of Feel, is every bit as good as the first book was.  The horse handling and riding descriptions are so vividly accurate I can almost feel myself in the boots of the characters.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

To Create, Or To Clean?

That is the question.  Consciously, subconsciously, that seems to be my internal struggle more often than not. It's no wonder that I am so constantly fatigued any more, and that my brain seems to be in a near permanent state of fogginess.

Scenario:  I'm done working at the horse farms for the day. I have my riding gear with me, I could just zip into the barn bathroom and change, then grab my horse and ride.  Yet, I'm tired from working since the sun came up hours and hours ago, and I know more work awaits me at home. Do I ride (create a horse that is a little more athletic, a little more polished in it's training and a rider who is also a little more of each) or do I skip riding and go home to tackle the laundry, sweeping, dish washing, bed making, etc etc etc?

Scenario: I'm home from work (whether I rode or not), I've had my lunch, and there are three to four hours between now and when DH will be home from work (and dinner needs to be on the table, ready to eat).  I have knitting projects, sewing projects, and a counted cross stitch project I could quite happily spend the entire time span working on.  Yet, there are dust bunnies creeping out from under the couch (despite just being evicted last week), a pile of shirts in need of ironing, a cruddy stove top that needs to be cleaned and scrubbed, and muddyfoot prints on the mudroom floor again. (Could we please be done with the freeze/thaw mud cycle of the season?!?) Do I relax my brain creating something lovely with my hands or do I stuff my creativity in the closet for another day and use my hands in less enjoyable pursuits?

Scenario: I have a book calling my name that I've been wanting to read since early January but have made myself finish several library books first, as they have a due date and the book with the siren call is mine all mine.  I know once I start this book, it will be a fast read and that I could finish it in a weekend. Yet, this weekend is also the monthly (FREE!) trash collection at the township hall and I could cut down on a lot of clutter if I rounded up some of the no longer useful/worn out/unrepairable items around this little place here.  Do I grab that book and spent a blissful couple of days in an alternate life as the main character, or do I avert my eyes from the bookshelf, plug my ears, and get down to the business of locating junk to take to the township hall?

Now, this one is really bad.  Scenario:  I have several pair of hand knit socks (some of the first ones I made in 2013) with  worn out spots on heels or balls of the feet.  All they need is to be darned, and they will give me a few more years of use.  I love my hand knit socks.  They fit so well, and they are so warm and comfy.  I have never darned a sock before, but I did look it up last year and the concept seems simple enough.  I'm sure I can do it.  I even acquired a darning egg from one of the local antique malls for a few bucks.  Darning socks could be seen as a chore (fixing something) or as a creative outlet (learning a new skill and 'creating' a usable pair of socks).  Yet, I am the only one who benefits from the repaired socks, and doing a deep cleaning of our bedroom benefits both DH and I.  Do I darn the socks, or do I gut the bedroom, clean it thoroughly, and replace all the furnishings (and closet contents) to their places (and pitching junk into the bin to be taken to the township)?

Most of the time, I automatically choose the less fun option, the chore, the cleaning.  (Oh man, how I hate housework!  I was once offered a job at $10 an hour-- back when minimum wage was $5/hr--cleaning houses and I turned it down because my dislike of cleaning is that strong.  Except stalls; I love cleaning up after horses.  But cleaning up after people sucks.)

It's part a feeling of responsibility and part a guilt reaction (Who doesn't work full time?  Who therefore is in charge of cleaning and running the house?)  This line of thought and action is like torturing myself!  It's like constantly punishing myself by withholding the fun stuff from my life until the not so fun work is completed.  And I have to say, anymore, its like the work will never be completed.  Just when I think I start to get ahead, when I can forecast the ending of the mountain of cleaning, something happens and more is piled on.  DH's work schedule picks up and he is no longer cleaning up after himself, let alone being around to help with heavy household tasks.  A holiday or school break comes and I have a houseful for several days or a week, exponentially multiplying dirty dishes and towels to be washed and food to be purchased and cooked.  We get the grandkids for 24 hours once a week, making not only more things to clean (toys, bedding, dishes, shoes and coats on the mudroom floor. . .), but also taking out pretty much two days from my time that should be spent cleaning.

I can't turn a blind eye, either, because my very nature is that of someone who craves order and organization.  To try to operate in chaos, in clutter, drives me nuts.  So, the more things pile up, be it dust, or DH's unopened mail on the counter, or clean clothes on the laundry counter in need of folding and putting away, or cooking detritus on the stovetop or footprints on the mudroom floor or even couch pillows out of position, the more stressed I feel.  Somebody has to clean this up!  Somebody needs to make order!  Unfortunately, by default that somebody is me.

I dream of a week of vacation. Not the kind of vacation where I go away and then when I get home have to catch up on all the work that didn't get done while I was gone, like every vacation I've ever taken my entire adult life.  A vacation where someone else does the cleaning and all I do is creating.  Whether it's in the form of riding, or reading, or sewing, or knitting, or cross stitching, every waking hour is spent in something enjoyable that lets me satisfy my need to be creative.  I don't even have to do the laundry, because someone else will wash, dry, and put away my clothes for me that week.  I just have to eat (preferably awesome food made by someone else), and create.

Wouldn't that be nice.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Yarn Along 2017.11

I am joining Ginny's Yarn Along this afternoon,

Toad's sweater is starting to look like, well, a sweater!  I think I am about 2/3 of the way through the body.  After the body comes all the 'other' parts like the collar, sleeves, buttonbands.  I have to confess I'm sort of wishing I could just take an entire day and do nothing but knit on this sweater. I'm pretty sure if that were actually possible I'd have it finished by the end of that day.

Sock #1 of the surprise socks for DD2 is also coming along.  I am through the third of eight pattern repeats for the leg.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Overnight With The Grandkids

For the last three weekends, we've had K3 and Toad overnight on Fridays.  It was a conscious decision on our part, DH & I, to request time with invite the grandkids to come visit, since we've rarely seen them (on average, less than once a month) since DS1 moved his family into their own home in February 2016.  Fridays became the night of choice in reaction to an observation we'd made, and DD1 backed up (with a poor opinion of this person that she had actually known in high school) that on Friday nights while K2 was at work and DS1 was finishing his shift at his own job that K2 was just kind of leaving the kids with whomever of her friends was available to come to their house, usually a friend that is also from our little hometown and is about the age of DS2.  So, after discussing it amongst ourselves, DH & I asked if perhaps we could have the kids stay overnight with us the next Friday.  And, so far, that has turned into three Fridays in a row, with K2 actually inquiring this past Friday if we wanted to have the kids again.

I have to confess, having the kids overnight wipes me out, as I've all ready been in a frequent state of fatigue for many months, and neither one of them sleeps through the night.  Which means when they are here, I get a very fragmented night's sleep (and really feel like a zombie by the time they go home the next day).  But, it is nice to see them so often, and I also think that it is good for them to have regular contact with DH and I.  It's a much more structured environment and more attention than they typically get at home.

Since they've been helping me to cook dinner on Fridays (as much as a 4yo and 2yo can), and making pancakes seems to be the Saturday breakfast routine now, last week I sewed two aprons for them to keep here and wear when they help me cook.  Until then, I'd been trying to jerry-rig and pin up adult sized aprons when they requested to wear an apron 'like Grandma' during our cooking sessions.

just the right size aprons

This weekend, we got creative with our pancakes and made a few shaped like the head of Mickey Mouse. Needless to say, K3 and Toad were amazed that Grandma could make pancakes that weren't just circles!  (Even though it's really three circles in each pancake, LOL.)

Another activity that's become a 'must do' when they are here is put together puzzles.  They absolutely love getting out the puzzles and showing me how fast they can put the pieces together to make the picture.  (Little do they know they are building logic and problem solving skills, as well as improving fine motor skills!)

On Saturday, the kids were up with before the sun, and full of energy.  They were literally bouncing around while standing at the sliding door in the living room watching the sun rise above the trees. So, after making our Mickey Mouse pancakes and eating them with homemade maple syrup (which 3 weeks ago they insisted they didn't like but now they clamor to pour all over their pancakes), we got them bundled up against the cold air and took them outside.  Both DH and I wanted to walk through our woods and see what kind of damage Wednesday's prolonged high winds had done out there.  With the sun shining brightly in a beautiful blue sky, and the kids needing to run, 8:15 in the morning seemed like the perfect time for a walk to and through the woods!

running through the field to the woods road

We found several trees down across our road through the woods, and many others that were down but not on the road.  Each time we came to a tree across the road, we consulted K3 and Toad on how we were going to 'get through'.  Sometimes it was over the tree, sometimes it was under the tree, and sometimes it was a combination depending on how big you were and if you could fit through the branches!

uh-oh, tree leaning over the road

how should we get through now?

Toad went under

K3 went over

We also saw a couple of trees that, instead of blowing over, twisted off and broke up high.

Our walk and tree inspection took about an hour.  We returned to the house with faces red from the cold.  Two hours later, however, we decided to go to the woods again, DH armed with the chainsaw to cut up the trees that were blocking the road, and me with a thermos of hot chocolate and a box of crackers for a snack.  The kids ran and played in the woods, and also helped clean up sticks on the road, while DH sawed the trees into chunks and I stacked the cut wood on the edges of the road.  The kids thought it was great fun to not only play, but to eat and drink out in the woods.

first time drinking from a thermos lid 'cup'

Overall, it was a pretty fun time.  These two certain look like they enjoyed it.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

If Horse For Sale Ads Had No Limits

I need to get serious about putting the Quarter Horse up for sale.  Last Spring, I found out he had navicular and amended my original "Keep Him For 2-3 Years Then Sell Him" plan that I had come up with in late December 2015 after putting my old Mare to sleep (as blogged about here) to a "Give Him One Year Then Sell Him" plan.  The thought process being that I wanted to have a chance to see if there was a magic shoeing fix for his sore feet--some navicular horses are comfy with shoes and pads--or if his future was best labeled as Companion Horse rather than a Horse That Could Be Ridden.  I knew that it wasn't just his advancing age that was making him unfit as a long term mount for me, he is also a bit short/skinny for my long legs, and with the navicular he wasn't going to hold up to the sort of intensive training I was wishing to embark on now that my kids are grown up and I have time to focus on the original love of my life: dressage riding.

Now here we are, nearly a whole year later.  He is wearing shoes and pads which do keep him comfortable for riding a couple times a week.  But if I ride him two days in a row and/or with lots of focus on lateral work, he's a bit sore.  He would definitely be happier in a home where he was ridden lightly or infrequently, and I would be less frustrated with a horse whose feet didn't inhibit riding three or more days a week.

So, it's time to write up that for sale ad.  I'm just not sure how to briefly sum up his awesome points, his personality, and his little niggling navicular problem.  If only a for sale ad could be composed without limits to length, or what you should or shouldn't say.  I'd advertise him with something like this:

Handsome Redhead Looking For His Person

The Quarter Horse is an irresistibly good looking chestnut gelding who is old enough to have been there, but young enough to give the right person years of pleasurable moments together.  18 years old with a youngster's heart and spunk. Standing approx. 15.3hh, with a lean build, he is just the right size for most ladies.  He gets along well with others in turnout and has no vices in his stall. Easy to handle, he becomes very loyal to his person and will follow them anywhere.  Can be a bit timid in new situations, so is best for a confident rider (yet not an overbearing one).  Has experience western, on trails (prefers to trail ride with brave buddies who will keep the bogeyman away), and most recently in dressage.  He is great fun to ride, with a cat-like walk and super comfortable trot & canter. Was diagnosed with slight navicular in left front April 2016, currently in bar shoes and full pads.  Shod, he is suitable for light or occasional riding (or possibly more often with a slimmer rider; I've gotten kind of chunky). Is comfortable barefoot in pasture.  Priced affordably at $3000.  

But, that's a bit too wordy and not nearly professional enough.  So, back to the drawing board, and don't put it off too much longer.  I need to get The Quarter Horse moved on to his next home before I can begin shopping for my Dressage Horse Extraordinaire (or at least as close as I can come to extraordinaire on a low budget).

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Yarn Along 2017.10

I am joining Ginny for the Yarn Along on this incredibly windy Wednesday.  (How windy is it?  Well, driving home from work I passed a road that was closed because the power lines on either side of it had blown down).

Mom's socks are finished!  As you can see, they came out almost but not quite with the stripes lined up. I wish the camera would do justice to the colors, as they are really pretty socks.

I've worked a bit on the Little Shore cardigan for Toad, but not much.  I had it hidden away during the weekend, as we had both K3 and Toad from Friday through Sunday evening.  I think I am about a dozen rows in at this point.  The camera makes the yarn look rather pinky-red, but it really is more of a candy apple red color.  Very bright.

Yesterday I also cast on for DD2's surprise Peru socks.  I am planning to have them done by the middle of May in time for her to take them with her when she goes for her study abroad trip.  I am using the Tendril sock pattern that I made these socks with in December.

Monday, March 6, 2017

I Think That Qualifies as "In Like a Lion"

I don't know about where you live, but at this little place here March came in in a crazy mix of weather.

February 28th was a very warm day with thunderstorms that rolled through after dark.  Strong thunderstorms. With heavy, driving rain.  By sunrise on March first, we had received about two inches of rain.  There was water everywhere (luckily, it all stayed outside), and on my drive to work I noted how much flooding there was in many farm fields.  The water was all the way up to the shoulder of the road in several, and the creek I pass over about a mile from my house had risen to less than two feet of the bottom of it's bridge. Normally there is about a 5 foot difference between bridge and waterline there.

During the day, the wind grew, and on my drive home in the afternoon I noticed that one old barn on my route was blown over.  I'm positive that rickety barn was standing on my way to work that morning, but by afternoon it was a heap of rubble.

Also during the day, the temperature plummeted; and dinner time found it to be about thirty degrees colder than dinner time on Feb. 28th had been.  Now instead of heavy rain, the evening included heavy wet, blowing snow.  White out conditions at times.  Several local areas lost power (thankfully, not this little place here).  And despite the ground having been thoroughly thawed and warmed enough that we had earthworms and spring peepers making an appearance before Tuesday's thunderstorms, on Thursday we woke up to roughly an inch of snow on the ground.  In other words, it snowed so hard that it accumulated faster than it melted when contacting the soil.

Some of the roads were slick and icy for the morning commute on Thursday.  By afternoon, everything had melted again.  Thursday night, however, was very cold, and on Friday morning the ground was frozen, rough and hard.

Given a beginning like that, I am hoping that March will get gentler, and ease us on into Spring.

Also given a beginning like that, I'm a bit hesitant to get too lofty with my personal goals for March!  My original plan was to reset many of my February goals, and add in a few more specific to the month of March itself (such as getting seeds started indoors ASAP).  Now five days into the month, I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't overbook myself, because weather conditions and working outdoors every morning during the week greatly affect my energy levels for the latter half of each day--the time I have for working on these goals.

Here are my official March goals:

  1. Ride at least 12 times (preferably three rides a week).
  2. Walk 1/2 hour 3-4x a week (actually, this was a directive from my Dr. in late February and is in effect until mid-April) plus workout at least once a week.
  3. Lose 2 pounds (a February do-over).
  4. Lose at least 1" from my waist (also February do-over).
  5. Try one new recipe a week (need to eat more meat and veggies and less starch/pasta/potato/rice).
  6. Do one jigsaw puzzle.
  7. Read one novel and one horse related non-fiction from my book collection.
  8. Spend at least 1 hour a week on decluttering/organizing.
  9. Put the Quarter Horse up for sale (need to get current nice photos and a video of him being ridden would be helpful to speed up the sale).
  10. Knit a sweater for Toad (to be an Easter gift) and at least start a sweater for K3 (hopefully also for Easter, although her end of April birthday will be a backup date).
  11. Start my tomato, pepper, broccoli and cabbage seeds.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Yarn Along 2017.9

Things are really soggy at this little place here after about 2 inches of rain fell overnight.  We had some strong thunderstorms go through that brought hours of torrential rain.  Thankfully everything is dry indoors, both at home and at the horse farms. The outdoors, however, well, let's just say my knee boots came in very handy today.

Now that I'm back inside, I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along.

The Plain Vanilla socks for Mom are speeding right along.  I finished the first sock on Saturday (I think), and cast on for the second on Sunday (I think).  The exact days are a little fuzzy, but both happened since Friday night, and I am all ready through the heel gusset on sock #2.  I fully expect this sock to be finished by Friday.  

I wasn't able to get the stripes to quite line up on both socks. I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Mom won't care, but being the perfectionist I am (and because I tried to find the right spot in the yarn to cast on sock #2 to make them identical) it bothers me a little.  Not enough that I'm going to frog the entire second sock and start over, though!

Meanwhile, I couldn't resist casting on yesterday for my next project; a Little Shore cardigan sweater for Toad.  I'm going to work it in Knit Picks Mighty Stitch worsted in the color Serrano.  This yarn is so soft and squishy, I think it will make a really comfy sweater for an active little boy to wear this Spring. It's super bright too, so if he takes it off outside and drops it somewhere while playing, it ought to be pretty easy to see.  The camera really didn't do the color justice.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Goodbye, February

Well, this month has flown by. I know that February typically does, being shorter than the other months after all, but yet this one seems to just have whizzed through my life.

Time to revisit my February goals and see how I did.

My Goals for Feb:
  1. ride 16 times (so, 4x p/week)
  2. workout (other than riding) at least 2x per week
  3. lose 2 pounds
  4. lose 1" of waist
  5. try one new recipe a week  
  6. do one puzzle
  7. read one horse book (non-fiction) and one novel
  8. spend 30 minutes a day cleaning/decluttering
Goal #1: not met.  The Quarter Horse developed a worrisome cough shortly after the beginning of the month. At rest, he was okay, but when I rode at anything other than a walk he would have episodes of coughing so hard I would nearly lose my seat.  So I gave him lots of rest between rides (riding like once a week) for most of the month.  Counting the weekly lessons I took on T and the few rides on the Quarter Horse, I rode all of 8 times this month.  Which is only 50% of my goal.  On the upside, his cough seems to have resolved itself and the last couple of rides were great.

Goal #2: Started out well, fizzled in second week with busy afternoons.  That was followed by my annual physical, and a couple other appointments for blood work and follow ups, which greatly ate into what 'free' time I'd planned to use for working out. Workouts totaled six for the month.  So, 75% of goal.

Goal #3: Nope.  Scale still says the same number as it did 27 days ago.

Goal #4: Lost 1/2".  Better than no loss at all, but could also be the difference between being bloated or not.  However, I did lose a total of almost two inches off other parts of my body, parts (like upper arms!)which are not subject to bloat. 

Goal #5: Nailed it!  Garlic chicken calzones, a new venison stroganoff recipe, duck tinga (Mexican duck), and banana snack cake.

Goal #6: achieved!

Goal #7: Done and done! Although it took me a lot longer to read each book than I had thought; I used to fly through books and now it seems like it took about three weeks for the non-fiction and a week and a half for the novel.

Goal #8:  Ha ha ha.  Not.  On a daily basis, this was a huge fail.  On the other hand, there were several days that I spent 3-4 hours at it. Overall, it didn't total 1/2 hr per day.  I decided (since we haven't owned a vacuum in eons, not having any carpeting in the house at this little place here) to bring the shop vac in from the garage and suck up all the collected dust/hair/fuzz/whatnot from where the floors meet the walls and the broom or dust mop don't reach into(because DH never installed baseboards when we built the house).  This entailed going room by room, pulling everything away from the walls in order to use the wedge shaped nozzle to vacuum in the small crevice that made up the borders of the room.  Moving stuff out and back (and sometimes sucking up enormous dust bunnies under furniture--like I said in yesterday's post, things got really cluttered and out of control while DS1 & family lived with us, and it is taking me forever and a lot of mental/emotional energy as well as physical energy, to get things decluttered, cleaned and organized) took hours.  Honestly, I've only gotten four rooms, two hall ways and one set of stairs done with the shop vac so far. 

Overall, not a bad month.  I did accomplish quite a bit more than I would have without setting goals. A small part of the house is totally cleaned and decluttered. That's good for my state of mind. (Disorganization is so depressing!)I think March needs some goals too. I'll have to take a look at what's on my calendar and come up with next month's (hopefully realistic)list.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Mexican Duck

Earlier this month I tried a new recipe featuring duck. I had found a whole duck (raised a few summers ago) in the freezer  while reorganizing it. The chest freezer, like a number of places, had gotten horribly choatic with things just being stuffed into it willy-nilly when DS1 and family were living here.  So, with my normal freezer filing system thrown out the window for a couple of years now (because digging out from all the chaos and clutter has been a long --and still ongoing-- unpleasant process for me) I had forgotten about the small duck way down in one of the bottom baskets.

I let the duck thaw in the refrigerator (about a day), then put it into the crock pot on low for 7ish hours.  It was somewhere between 2.5 and 3 pounds, and since I really don't have a recipe for cooking a whole duck in the crock pot, I just winged it (ha ha) in terms of cooking time.  When it looked like the duck was ready to fall apart--legs separating from body and breast meat trying to fall off the keel bone--I took it out of the crock pot, deboned and shredded it.

After that I loosely followed a recipe for duck tinga that I had found on the internet.

Here is what my personalized version of the recipe turned out to be:

shredded duck meat
4 smallish potatoes, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 8oz. can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tsp oregano
2 cups water
1 avocado
sour cream
fajita size tortillas

With your hands, squeeze the water out of your shredded potatoes.  Heat a skillet on medium heat, then add oil, potatoes, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes start to brown, roughly 15 minutes.

Add the oregano, duck, and adobo sauce.  Stir in the water, and let simmer until you are ready to serve dinner (can serve as soon as hot; I think mine simmered for about 45 min. waiting for DH to get home from work.)  Can simmer longer if runny, or add more water if it looks like it is getting too dry.  You want the mixture to be 'juicy' but not soupy.

Warm the tortillas (either covered in foil in 300 degree oven about 10 min, or one at a time in a hot frying pan--dry, no oil or butter--for roughly 30 seconds per side).  Remove skin and pit from avocado, and cut into thin slices.

To eat, place desired amounts of duck mixture, sour cream and avocado on a tortilla, fold and eat!

This was super spicy.  At least, I thought so, since I rarely eat anything above the level of a mild salsa.  But yet, I loved it.  Heaps of sour cream and avocado toned down the heat enough that I could eat a couple of these in a row.  DH wasn't so fond of it. In fact, he said that I didn't need to worry about making "Mexican duck" again in the future.  

Given that the only poultry currently in our freezer are chickens, turkeys and a previously forgotten goose (same year as the duck), I won't be making duck anything any time in the foreseeable future.  Wonder what kind of interesting goose recipes I can find. . .