Wednesday, September 26, 2012

AKA Morning Perfection




I knew something was off all night.

Someone had fooled with the thermostat. I won't mention any names but he might think he's like the head of a law enforcement office or something.

Or an Indian Tribe.


Look.

I'm a finely tuned machine. Throw me off a degree or two and my whole being begins to self destruct. So it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out after I had the third straight dream involving fire, ovens, and suffocation that HE WHO SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS had done a little manipulation of the temperature.

So there was a long period of early morning time when I lay awake, sweating, and plotting my revenge.
Of course, I suppose you think I should have just gotten up and adjusted the temperature, but that would have been much too easy.

And also, now that I think about it, pretty darn smart.

But anyway, when I wasn't  planning the horrible things I was going to do to get him back, I was thinking about my favorite recipes and the ones I would want to take with me into the Witness Protection Program if ever the need arose.

Seriously, you're gonna have to cut me some slack because it's premiere week! of all my favorite shows and it's therefore totally possible that Tony DiNozzo or Mr. Reese from Person of Interest might show up at my door at any time and present me with an exciting new identity (I'm pretty sure my name would be Gladys) that would plunge me into a secret life of international espionage.

And Gladys might be a spy, but clearly Gladys would also need to cook.



There's absolutely no doubt that this would be one of the recipes I'd pack for my new life.

It's been around forever, and it's known by a lot of names. The most common is French Breakfast Puffs.

Around our house (AKA The Den of Thermal Torture) they're known just as humble Cinnamon Sugar Muffins because I was never above changing the name of a recipe if I thought it would raise the chances of the boys actually trying them.

I'm sure at least once, years ago, I served a meal of Lego Soup and Power Ranger Salad.

You do what you have to do.


But whatever you call them, these little jewels are probably in my Top 5. All time Top 5.

And that speaks volumes.

Now, any time the boys are here for a visit they're a guaranteed breakfast must-have.



Make up your own name if necessary, but make them immediately.



                                               French Breakfast Puffs
                                     (Cinnamon Sugar Muffins)

1/3 c. shortening
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 c. milk

butter
extra sugar and cinnamon

1. Mix shortening, sugar and egg in electric mixer.
2. Sift together the flour, Baking powder, salt and nutmeg
3. Stir the dry ingredients into the shortening mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
4. Fill a 12- cup muffin pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
5. While still hot remove from muffin pan and roll each muffin in first melted butter, then in a mixture of about 1 cup sugar and 1-2 T. cinnamon (depending upon your taste)


Hope You love 'em...

Gladys





Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Not. Yet.



I noticed this morning
Somewhere.
Somebody.
was shopping for Christmas.
no! no!

It seems their minds
had to turned to mush.
They're thinking of presents and bows.

It's not! the time
to do these things,
My friends!
I'm telling you
whoa!

Put on the brakes,
and stop right now.
It's Fall.
Not Christmas.
Yo.

It's time for pumpkins and acorns and leaves.
And maybe a turkey or two.
Throw in a ghost here and there, OK.
But Reindeer should stay at the zoo.

You'll thank me.
I promise.
Don't rush it, enjoy.
Who cares if you never
do locate that toy!

At least you'll have apples
Rake leaves! Bake a pie!
It's not long, the Fall Season.
Please don't let it slip by...



by Lu...






Monday, September 24, 2012

Awaiting Ethiopia




























Meet Jillian and Chase y'all!

I know. Adorable.

Jillian is the daughter of my dear, dear friend and former Aggie roommate Shir.



And no wonder, you say, that Jillian is adorable. Just look at her cute Mom!
Oh the fun that was had in Rm. 222 of Krueger Hall...


But enough about the past! This is about the very real present and the simply awesome future for Jillian, her Chase, and a unbelievably blessed child that God has already selected for them in Ethiopia.

Yes Jillian and Chase are diving headfirst into the very laborious process of international adoption. A process though long, that will ultimately end in forming a precious and perfect family. One that will fulfill the dreams of this couple to have a child and that will give a home to one of God's tiniest and most deserving children.

I can guarantee you that this child will be loved unconditionally, forever, and by a host of the most wonderful extended family ever.

Amen.

I encourage you to hop over to Jill's blog Awaiting Ethiopia  to read some of their story.

And then please visit Jill's Etsy shop at Awaiting Ethiopia on Etsy and support them by purchasing some of the adorable totally handmade kitchen towels, potholders, and other things that they offer to raise funds to help this adoption become a reality.

In case y'all didn't know adoptions are not without significant financial considerations!!


The items are so cute and timely for those looking to purchase some early Christmas gifts. And I might mention that there are some AGGIE THINGS to choose from!

(Um...Jill? I'm a slacker, so can I please reserve four of the Aggie potholders right now???)

Pretty please?



And I know that as much as they would appreciate your support through the Etsy items, I'm sure they would also simply covet your prayers as they enter into this process. As a matter of fact, today starts their Home Study, an arduous and detailed three-day process that will be their final BIG STEP in getting everything going!


Blessings on you Jillian and Chase!

And the child who waits for you.



Lu



Friday, September 21, 2012

The Light Can Do Funny Things

Rumor has it that fall's on the way.

I'll believe it when I'm wearing a jacket, eating some chili, and not sweating. All at the same time, thank you.

Anyway, today I offer some photos taken just this morning right here around the house.

I think it will be clear that despite my best efforts I have not yet put the smack down on proper photography skills.

Enjoy.






























This is my "bonsai like" ficus tree. The sunlight streaming in from the dirty windows nicely highlights the dust all over the leaves.



















The birdbath...






















My crazy little cascading pencil cactus is over 20 years old.




































Most of my succulents have done well. I highly recommend them for fuss-free gardening.































I love the little Baby Toes! (bottom left)
























The sunlight was pretty this morning along the south side of the house























Try to focus on my ripening!! lemons, and not the diseased state of the tree.

Blasted scale insects.
























We rarely use our formal dining room. Do you use yours??

























The crooked lines of this light fixture over the dining table always create an optical illusion that makes the glass bulb covers look out of line.

Or maybe they're just out of line.





























Um... and the crooked lines of this bookcase combined with the light streaming in the windows always make this looks like a mess. Isn't that funny? Really. My cookbooks are totally organized and categorized!

Another horribly deceptive optical illusion!?

I lie.


While you pantry organizers are here working on my spices, I'll let you loose on this thing too!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Lu


Thursday, September 20, 2012

This Ain't Mrs. Wilkes' Place





























I admit it.

Sometimes I plan what I'm going to cook according to how much mess it will make.

Three bowls, a spatula, a 9x13, a whisk, two mixer attachments, two cutting boards and a huge mess on the counter?

Some days not so much.

There are lots of times when I want something good and homemade but without a ton of dishes to wash. I think any home cook will tell you what sets them apart from an actual chef (besides the professional culinary training, of course) is that when the home cook is finished with the cooking part, she (or he) can't usually count on a team of designated dishwashers to sweep in and do the dishwashing part.

I am my full kitchen staff.

Oh, there are times when The Chief gets in there and starts to pretend he's going to do the dishes or clean the counters, but something always seem to happen...
Which is frankly just as well because chances are the next time I cook after he cleans up finds me spending a lot of time LOOKING FOR THINGS.

But bless his heart anyway for making the effort of pretending.



So. I've been on a biscuit kick lately. Years ago I was on a muffin kick, but it's biscuits all the way now.

This recipe is called Boadinghouse Biscuits and I am here to tell you they're easy, they're quick, and they come out perfect every time.

Now we should note that these are not the famous Mrs. Wilkes Boardinghouse Biscuits made even more famous when Art Smith (former chef to Oprah) made them on her show.

No, these are from another boardinghouse.

I suspect that if I was running a Mrs. Wilke's place, I would have all kinds of other things to do than slave over biscuit making all day. Why there would be sheets to change, floors to sweep and manure to shovel from the hitchin' post out front.

And although not my original recipe, these are from Miss Lu's Boardinghouse where there's Food Network shows to watch and lots of precious minutes to be wasted on the internet.


Don't be disturbed by the instructions for the recipe. It's simple. Really.

I just have that pesky habit of total OVEREXPLANATION.



 Boardinghouse Biscuits


1/2 c. butter, chilled
3 cups flour (I use cake flour for this)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. buttermilk (or maybe a little more)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter (or spray) a 9 inch cake pan.
Cut 1 T. off a stick of butter (set aside). Cut the rest of the butter into tiny cubes.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Put one cup of this flour mixture into a pie plate and set aside.
Cut the butter cubes into the remaining flour mixture with two knives or a pastry blender. It should resemble coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. It should kind of look like really thick oatmeal. You can add a tiny bit more buttermilk if you think it's too thick.
Just don't stir too much.
Using an ice cream or cookie scoop (sprayed with cooking spray) scoop up a ball of the dough, plop it into the reserved cup of flour, roll it around to cover with the mixture, then toss it back and forth with your hands to remove the excess flour and place it in the cake pan. Be sure to place the biscuits quite close together.
Continue with the remaining dough. You should have about 10 biscuits. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven when golden brown and brush the remaining tablespoon of butter over the hot biscuits.



Now. Go shovel something off the front porch.

I'm kidding!

Just enjoy a biscuit.

Lu


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Someone Mentioned It's September?



Say What?

When did that happen? The September thing, I mean. I'm just not quite ready. Well I'm ready in a theoretical sense, but not ready in a WOW THAT PROBABLY MEANS I NEED TO START COOKING THANKSGIVING DINNER TOMORROW sense.

I love fall. And while I realize it has not officially arrived yet, just the cooler temperatures around here (it's been BELOW 90 for several days!) are making me anxious for soup, stews and anything made with apples.

I totally forgot to mention that a couple of weeks ago I saw something in the grocery store that made me want to CLAP. MY. HANDS.

And maybe rock from side to side.

The Honeycrisp apples are here. Praise the Almighty Creator of fruit.

Of course when I saw them that first time, they only had the organic variety and they were, well, PRICEY. So I did what any logical Honeycrisp fanatic would do. I went to the bank, withdrew our entire life savings, and bought three.

Who needs retirement funds anyway?

If you haven't tried them, you're truly missing one of the great flavors of the food world.

And I know my people said Amen.



And speaking of flavor.


I wanted to finish up those questions I received last week for Food Forum Friday. Let's just call this Way Behind Tuesday.

Lori asked if I had a recipe for anise cookies. I hate to admit this, but the anise flavor (including the similar tastes of fennel and licorice) are pretty much the only flavors in the Whole Wide World of Flavors that I just plain don't like. Sorry Lori!  I know it's an absolute favorite for some of you, but it pretty much makes me want to run and hide.

Do y'all like the flavor? Do you have a favorite recipe for anise cookies? I know Lori would love it if you'd share!


A recent discussion on FB prompted Miriam to ask "what is the most exotic or wild dish that you have ever prepared?"

I know with my reputation as a "farm girl" a "wild hog stalker" and just generally a female Bear Grylls, you're expecting something fun and fancy like sauteed snake intestines or at the very least opposum or something.

Y'all are going to be so disappointed. Fried calamari is probably my "wild thang". Unless of course you count when I prepare something from ground beef that is hovering precariously close to its expiration date....

I know.

Finally Cindy asks how to determine how much dressing should go on a salad.  
Hmm. I think it has everything to do with the integrity of the greens. A salad that has as a base a hearty green such as iceberg lettuce or even spinach can take a pretty good dousing and not get soggy too fast. Lighter more delicate greens need an equally light touch with the dressing.

I typically make my own dressings, and when I do I just add a tiny bit to the salad just to lightly coat the greens (while tossing with tongs) (you should not add so much that it poolsimmediately before serving and then serve additional dressing on the side.

Remember, the thicker the dressing, the "heavier" it will be on the greens.




Thanks so much for your great questions!

Before I go, I think I forgot to tell y'all that last week one side of my oven kind of exploded.

Yes, exploded.

I have three more therapy sessions remaining.


Lu







Friday, September 14, 2012

Food Forum AND Fun Fact Friday



I know.

How much more enjoyment could we possibly pack into one single weekday?

Fun Fact #1: Peanuts are used to make dynamite. I mean really?

I've had some great questions this week. I've just chosen a couple (I'll answer the others at the beginning of next week) because I may be an eensy bit pressed for time and if I spend too much time here on the blog and not enough time on the other thing I NEED TO BE HARD AT WORK ON, two things will probably happen.

1. Lots of ladies will be disappointed at a brunch on Saturday

and

2. I would have to change my name and drop quickly into the Witness Protection Program.

(Which always seems very adventurous and kind of exciting on NCIS)

(But probably not in real life)

(Have I mentioned I have a crush on Tony DiNozzo?)

Fun Fact #2: Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) has no idea who I am. But I had a voice class with Lyle Lovett. Who now probably also has no idea who I am. 
Hey Lyle!

So here goes:

Our first question is from Patty and she asks "How do you make a roux?"

When The Chief accepted his first job after graduating from college I was thrust knee-deep into Acadiana. The part of the world where EVERYONE is born with the most wonderful French Cajun accent and knowing how to make a roux. It's just in their genes.

I didn't even know how to spell it.

I'm a quick learner though, and it didn't hurt that most of our neighbors were natives of South Louisiana who kindly took pity on me, the girl from Texas who knew nothing of the roux.
Bless them for it.

In case you don't know, a roux is the base of many sauces. Some of the traditional "mother sauces" in French cooking, but more importantly in South Louisiana and elsewhere, a roux is the thickener, or base of gumbo. Even more important than its thickening ability is the deep and unique flavor that a roux imparts to a dish. The darker the color of the roux, the deeper the flavor.

A roux is made of flour and a fat. In Cajun cooking the fat is almost always vegetable oil. You'll occasionally find a rebel here and there who uses butter, but butter is much more commonly found in the roux of traditional French sauces such as a bechamel.

The flour/fat ratio in roux recipes is usually slightly more flour than roux, although many cooks follow the equal parts rule. Typically if I'm making gumbo I use about 1 c. oil and about 1 1/3 c. flour.

But I'll admit that sometimes I use butter. Please don't hate.

The process is quite simple, yet a little time consuming and sometimes tricky.

Heat the oil in a skillet or dutch oven on medium-low heat then add the flour while CONSTANTLY stirring with a wooden spoon. You absolutely cannot stop stirring. If you do, the flour will burn and YOU MAY AS WELL JUST GO BUY A BUCKET OF CHICKEN because nobody is eating that gumbo.

As you slowly and carefully stir, the flour in the roux cooks and becomes darker. A roux can be referred to as blonde (very, very light brown), peanut butter, brown or chocolate colored. Each one being progressively darker and much more complex in flavor.

To make a gumbo I usually try for a brown roux and then immediately add the ""holy trinity" of celery, bell peppers, and onions. You then proceed with the rest of your gumbo recipe.

You can't speed up the process of making a roux by turning up the heat. It'll burn. Don't do it. I've tried more times than I'd like to admit. The wheat in the flour has to toast slowly to get the depth of flavor that is so distinctive of a good gumbo.

If you've had a good, proper gumbo just once, you'll know what I mean.

Making a roux is a practice in patience. It may take more than one attempt to get it right.

Question 2 is from Linda: "Is there a formula in knowing the right amount of eggs or flour or sugar when creating a new recipe?"

Wow Linda, what an interesting question. Probably one I should have thought about myself long before now.

Not that I know of.
When I'm going to try to come up with let's say a new recipe for muffins, I usually just look at a few muffin recipes in cookbooks that I have tried before and get the general ratios for ingredients. The amount of sugar will always depend on the other ingredients (such as what kind of fruit or nut or other "add in" you include). The number of eggs may vary according to the wet ingredients used (milk, buttermilk, water) and the size of the eggs. I always buy large brown eggs, and generally all recipes are written using that size. The amount of leavener (baking soda, baking powder and eggs to an extent) depends on the amount of flour and other dry ingredients.

So, I guess I'd have to say no. No magic formula. But of course I was always bad at algebra which depends a lot on formulas too. So it's likely I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Fun Fact #3. The Houston Astros are really bad this year.

Although, according to The Chief, this doesn't actually fall in the "fun" category.

Keep those questions coming!

Have a great weekend.

Lu







Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Look! A Squirrel!

























I promised everyone the recipe for these scrumptious biscuits, but first a little explanation.

Please don't immediately start rocking back and forth. I'll do my best to keep it brief. Like The Chief always reminds me "just work toward a point Lu. Please just work toward a point."

I'm doing a catering-type job this Saturday and I've been working hard to decide on the perfect menu. So far I've decided on seven. Have I mentioned I have a problem with indecisiveness? Just when I think I've got it down, I'll have another idea that would be different! and perfect! and fun!

When I mention this problem to The Chief he usually says something along the lines of "well Lu, just stop having more ideas. Decide on something and stick with it."

Which seems so simple if you're him. Or someone else.

Just not if you're me.



Thank you Pinterest.

(I feel like I should be getting some type of royalties for posing as the subject of this poster)

Anyway, yesterday I couldn't decide whether to stick with what I had or to do some more THINKING ABOUT IT, which naturally resulted in me in the kitchen experimenting with some biscuits! that maybe could be served as sandwiches! with a lovely Rosemary Chicken Salad! or some Homemade Pimento Cheese (I could stir in some bacon! or some toasted nuts!).

It was either that or curl up in the fetal position for the rest of the day.


Here's what I did. (Nice, neat recipe at the end!)

First I chopped some rosemary. (Mainly because The Chief announced the other day that it was taking over the yard and he was going to cut it down if I didn't trim it)

Then I grated some cheese.

This was a block of Parmesan (not the pre-grated stuff)

Then I cut a stick of butter into 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour mixed with 1/3 cup of cornmeal.


I used my trusty pastry cutter.


Then I stirred in the cream and milk and added the rosemary and cheese.

But I didn't take a picture.

I think that was when I was contemplating World Peace.

I used an ice-cream scoop to make the biscuits.

I baked them for about 15 minutes.

Then I ate all of them except about four. I can't remember.



The cheese gets a little bit browned and crusty on the bottom and OH MY GOODNESS.

These are best if eaten immediately after baking (If you want to reheat some, I suggest wrapping in foil and reheating in the oven on 350 for about 5-7 minutes)

I guarantee you'll love 'em!


Here's the easy recipe:

Parmesan-Rosemary Biscuits


1 1/2 c. self-rising flour
1/3 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. (1 stick) cold butter
1 1/4 grated Parmesan (not pre-grated)
2 T. chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. milk (I used 2%)

1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with Silpat, or spray with baking spray.
2. Place flour and cornmeal in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Add cheese and rosemary, stir to combine well. Add cream and milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
3. Using an ice-cream scoop or spoon divide batter into biscuits ( I had about 16, but it depends on the scooper!) Bake about 15 minutes until lightly browned!

**You could substitute Cheddar and thyme! Or Gouda and Dill! Or....!

Enjoy!


P.S. Would you do a girl a favor and click the "Share on Facebook" icon below? Or at the top!

Thanks!

Lu


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not to Brag, But I've Always Excelled at the Alphabet

I don't want to rub it in or anything, but frankly, I'm just really good at the ABC's. Always have been.
I don't want to go on and on about it because, well, that kind of inflated pride can surely lead to nothing good.

But I cannot tell a lie. I was delighted when I found this ABC meme. It's fun! It's easy! It's like going to a party and playing one of those get to know you games without the agony of having to decide how to dress for the party.

And what could make a party better than 1) not having to choose an outfit and 2) not actually having to leave your house?

Nothing. That's what.

(What's a meme you say? It's just something that spreads quickly via the internet.)

There are many versions of this one out there, but I came across this one yesterday.

Here goes:

A. Artistic talent. Hmm. Uh. Well. Darn Let's come back to this one.

B. Bed size. A queen. I've always thought that a King was just disproportionately and awkwardly large. Granted a queen does kind of require The Chief to scrunch up his legs. But I fit just fine, thank you.

C. Chore that you hate. No question. Taking the clothes out of the dryer. Shamefully, I've been known to leave them there for days and then restart the dryer umpteen times to get the wrinkles out again. I know. Martha Stewart would never do that. But then again, I'm doubting that Martha ever actually goes near a laundry room.

D. Degrees. Uh, do you mean temperature? Just kidding. I have a Bachelor's and a Master's degree from Texas A&M University. Whoop!

E. Essential start to waking for the day. Washing my face, Vaseline on my lips and eyelashes and a TAB. I know, sad but true. Wait. Not vaseline on my TAB. Just TAB. Oh. And it seems to help if I actually get out of the bed.

F. Favorite color. Hmm. What day is it again? I'll have to go with a teal-ish-ly green-y blue-esque shade of green-blue. I'm quite particular. Or maybe coral. But God as my Witness, never purple.

G. Gold or silver. Gah. I am so not a jewelry person. Before I ever get with the trends and jump on the latest gold bandwagon like everyone else, it will all be over and I'll look like an accessory slacker yet again..

H. Height. 5'5". But since we're not really at this little party, I'll stretch it and say I'm a willowy 5'10". Who's to know.

I. Instruments you play. Gee, I'm boring. I took piano lessons for a year or two when I was about 8 then we moved and that was that. One of the big regrets of my life.

J. Job title. Currently, I'm without title. Title-less. But, let's see, over the years I've been Teacher, Drill Team Director, Driver's Ed. Instructor (no, seriously), Director of Admissions, and District Science Coach and Instructional/Curriculum Specialist.

K. Kids. Love my two boys.

I've always liked this quote:

There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart.
-Washington Irving, writer

L. Live. I'm a proud Texan. Born and raised. I only left once for three years when The Chief got his first job in Morgan City, Louisiana.

M. Middle name. Luann

N. Nicknames. Lu, Lulabelle, LuLu, and my Daddy called me Partner or Pal-sy (you know, like his pal!)

O. Overnight hospital stays. Well, two for the boys then a couple of others. But let's not get into my medical history.

P. Pet peeves. Oh my. They change all the time. Right now it's probably people who talk on their phone the entire time they are shopping in the grocery store. Argh. Hate it. Or maybe people who talk on their phone the entire time they are going for a walk.

Q. Favorite Quotes from Movies. Well this could not be more embarrassing. I'm not a movie person. At all. Someone help me.

R. Right or left handed. I'm a right-y.

S. Siblings. One older sister.

T. Time it takes you to get ready. I'm quick. Really quick. I can wash and dry my hair, get dressed, and put on my makeup in less than 25 minutes. Of course, this has absolutely no bearing at all on whether I'm late or not as I will wait until EXACTLY 25 minutes until I have to be some where to begin getting ready. It's just how I roll. One day I probably need to write a post on How The Chief Feels About That.

U. Ultimate vacation. Oh gosh, I'm not sure but there would be mountains and cool air and water in a river. And The Chief would be hypnotized or something and not care how much money we spend.

V. Vegetable you hate. That's hard. I like almost everything. I'll say beets. I'm not much on beets.

W. What makes you late. (Does this seem odd to you for W?) Anyway, see T above.

X. X-rays you've had. You don't get to be my age without having a few X-rays. Too numerous (and boring) to list.

Y. Yummy food that you make. Goodness. I would have to say that I am most proud of my Fresh Apple Cake, my Potato Salad That People Like, my Banana Roll Cake and I'm getting pretty good at ribs. I'll throw you down.

Z. Zoo animal you like. I can't pick one. Please do not force this on me. I love the zoo! You know me, I even love the snakes! And the porcupines! Oh and the elephants! The bears are great. Oh and the sloths! I love the sloths.


Now.

You pick a letter and let us know something about you! (In the comments. On FB. Whatev!)

Remember it's like we're at a party.

But still wearing our stretchy pants!

Have a great Tuesday.

Lu

Monday, September 10, 2012

Just Stick Me With a Fork

Hello. Good Morning. Hi.

First, you should know that I sit here in awe and fascination of what is happening in our great out of doors. God has seen fit to bless the Houston area with a tiny fall preview which includes highs in the upper 80's and humidity levels in the 60's.
Now look, you northern/cool weather/cynical folk, don't laugh. This kind of stuff gets us EXCITED around here. And even though we know it's likely to shoot back up between VERY HOT and NOW I WILL SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST in the next day or two we are practically giddy with the current niceness of it all.

I was determined on Saturday to be outside when the "cold front" blew in so I strategically stationed myself pulling weeds from between the flagstone in the courtyard. And I am here to tell you that there was A HEALTHY CROP. Now for those of you who have never had to do this, let me tell you a secret.

I use a pickle fork.

YOU DO TOO?

No, I'm serious. It's just tiny enough to reach down between the cracks, grab the roots of that offending weed and yank 'er up. And besides, I have a confession to make. Around my house, we only rarely never use a designated fork to remove a pickle from a jar. I'm just gonna go ahead and put this out there... we use our fingers. Or if we have company, maybe a butter knife to stab one and get it out. But a pickle fork? Not so much.

We are practically barbarians.

Don't get me started on the little tiny olive tongs.


So anyway, the cold front didn't really come in with a roar, so to speak. I had to stay very alert and try to sniff out any change in temperature/wind direction while I was weeding. I guess at least I didn't suffer a heat stroke or sustain any kind of skin-frying burn during the process, so PULL OUT THE BOOTS AND SWEATERS, IT'S WINTER!


Now.
A moment of silence please.


My beloved lemon tree is sick. SICK, SICK, SICK.

I'll get choked up if I talk about it too much, but my friends, the COTTONY CUSHION SCALE has attacked my little citrus buddy.

Please avert your eyes if you don't want to look upon evil.


These things are all over it. Everywhere. Thousands and thousands of them. After researching for help, I have personally (with my own two hands) removed and smushed enough of them to occupy their own planet and then sprayed the whole thing with something designated for scale.

But to no avail.

NO, the creepy little things seem to simply delight in the spray as it conversely works as a cottony cushion scale GROWTH HORMONE, pushing their size and population to the limits of human imagination.

Please just throw us in right there at the end of your prayer list.

(And come to think of it, that's one list I don't mind being at the end of)

Amen?


It was so good to talk to you this morning. Let's have a great week, shall we?


Lu


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ode to a Ligament (by Weegie)




























Ode To A Ligament
By Weegie (Copyright Yesterday)


It's question time around here now,
and I have one for you.
Have you ever torn your ACL? You haven't? I have.
Boo Hoo.

You might recall this time last year
I had the same disaster.
The left one then, the right one now
And no, my sprints aren't faster.

I'm not sure why I have to deal
with all this pain and limping.
It's easier to strut, you see
when legs, they don't cause gimping.

The fact that I'm a working dog
creates all kinds of issues
I'm handsome, smart, a studly guy,
sometimes the girls need tissues.

There aren't too many dogs out there
who'd keep The Chief in line,
do all the work, get zero pay,
and still be oh so fine.

Because I guess it's hard to find
good looks, great minds, all sum.
It's fairly easy to forgive
My legs, they are, quite bum.

The Chief was thrilled to hear I'd need
another little surgery.
And if I said that under oath
I'd be committing perjury.

Some pain, steel screws, and whining now
are all I have to ponder.
It's better than the other thing-
to meet the Wild Blue Yonder.

I'll let you know what you can do
to make my days more pleasant.
Chicken, blueberries, cheese and such
All told, delightful presents.

I'll keep in touch and let you know
how quickly I'm progressing.
I am as always, now, and then
Your Humble Canine Blessing.









Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This, That, and Some Things























Well I hope all of you had a great Labor Day weekend.

You realize that you can now no longer officially wear white, don't you?

Especially white shoes. It's practically scandalous.

I was convinced for years that there was a prison somewhere for all the After Labor Day White- Wearing Criminals.

Did I ever mention I was gullible? And maybe impressionable?


So.

We were at the farm where it was so hot that I thought seriously about cooking chicken fajitas on the hood of The Chief's truck. I couldn't really get him on board with the whole idea, though. I think he said something along the lines of NO.

"Well they do it with eggs, Chief. Why would fajitas be any different?"

So instead I just watched all the pelicans in the lake. They would make these long, beautiful, single file lines and float gracefully to and fro and then I would run in house to get my camera and they would all bunch up in a boring clump as soon as I was ready to take a picture.
I can only imagine what fascinating photos would grace the cover of National Geographic if I was their photographer.

Cows hidden in the grass.
A Bobcat completely obscured by a tree.
A dead cicada that I posed on a Christmas Cactus on the porch. (you'll never know, will you?)

Riveting stuff, my photography.



Anyway.


The Chief worked on the tractor. I mean, usually that's my job, but I decided he has to learn sometime...

And I added to my collection of turtle/tortoise shells.
























 I also took some pictures of Weegie but he wants to use them for his post tomorrow.  Not to mention that I also had planned to write a poem for Labor Day but he insisted that I drop that idea as he is evidently planning some kind of poetry for tomorrow.

It's probably no big loss. The part of the poem that I had planned in my head had a lot to do with it being so much labor to fight my neighbors with sabers, so like I said, NO GREAT LOSS.


I'll just leave you with a picture of the trees just off the front porch and a big invite to come back tomorrow to see what AWESOMENESS Weegie has planned...

Or so he would lead us to believe.



Oh, and how was your Labor Day everyone? Exciting?























Have a great Tuesday!

Lu