Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mr. Attitude

I'm having fun with this cheeky-monkey-of-a-pony...

That look! Finney is so cute, but he can be naughty. Still, he has a good heart and he's learning!

And he's so cute. Did I mention that? I took these photos before Christmas when there was still snow on the ground. It all melted on Boxing Day and turned the paddock into a muddy cesspool. Now the temps have dropped again and we should get some snow this weekend to clean things up!

So glad we adopted these two!

Selfie with Finney.

Selfie with Esme.

And then, after the thaw, they spent their days rolling in the mud. I do brush them, but I can't keep up!

Minor panic on the weekend when a bunch of my horse friends thought Esme was pregnant!

Nope, turns out she's just fat. She went into heat yesterday. Finney was gelded at the end of September. It never occurred to me that Esme might be pregnant until all my horsey friends started asking questions. But as I found out, they were carefully separated in foster care whenever Esme was in heat. PHEW!

Meanwhile, we are continuing to enjoy our riding lessons at Havencrest Farm.

We had a good lesson this evening! This is Gordon with Snip's bum. I think tonight was the first time I got on the horse and rode without a tinge of fear. :)

And here's a rude hat I just bought, thanks to Valerie over at Wandering Cat, who sent the link.

Rude, but true, and an appropriate answer to all the people who ask me why I have 13 cats! 

Have a great New Year's eve tomorrow! I'm still figuring out supper, but we're going to pig out on our annual chocolate fondue.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Boxing day goings-on

It's Boxing Day and we've all been lolling about, digesting...

Of course the cats are more than ready to stuff their faces again. Alex wants to know why supper is taking so long. 

Emerson seems more interested in the birdfeeder outside the window, but Louise is right in there!

I got Gordon this great shirt at RC Tees.

Emily is vigilant!

Alex wonders what the hell is taking so long. Eventually everyone got fed!

Here's a shot from Christmas eve. We had a little wine with our cheese fondue.

And Christmas breakfast...

Oatmeal (with Irish oats!) with sauteed Golden Delicious apples, pecans, cinnamon, maple syrup and rather a lot of cream.

Meanwhile, Lenny the blind 27-year-old farm mallard...

...apparently has a new Muscovy girlfriend! Karène was hanging around him today.

He had a bath, which is why he's a damp duck. And he has grain stuck on his beak!

He seems quite happy tottering around the fenced-in area we have for the birds. I keep an eye on him and today was the first time I left him alone out there for any length of time, but he did fine. No one seems to be picking on him. I'm going to keep his cage in the duck coop for now and he can sleep in there, plus I'll make sure he gets his food and water in there so no one else stills it from him. He has an adorable quack and seems quite happy!

Happy Boxing day and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

We been having a nice Christmas Eve!

Emerson volunteered to help us with our cheese fondue.

I got an incredible pile of foam on my cocoa! (Thanks, Gordon!)

Bernie the farmer came to disk the ice on our driveway so it wasn't as slick. We are having a little "heatwave" with freezing rain and rain on top of the snow. What a mess!

Emerson helped me in the kitchen today...

He supervised from the top of two boxes of honey. I sold a lot of jars today and yesterday! People wanted them for Christmas gifts.

Then we took a family portrait. Emerson figured that the only cat who mattered was already there!

I got the stuffing ready for tomorrow...

I won my beautiful apron in a blog giveaway. It was made by my friend Susan over at My Mother's Apron Strings.

Caramelized onion and apple stuffing. I realized halfway through that I had no dried sage, so I went outside and dug through the snow until I found my sage plant. Success!

We were incredibly late decorating the tree this year...

...but this afternoon, we got it done.

It's always fun going through the ornament collection.

This one dates from my childhood in the 60s!

This one...

...is more recent. Exhibitionist Santa!

I also made my coconut chocolate almond tarts, like every year...

I've already eatne three. Oops.

And as per tradition, we had It's a Wonderful Life on while we did the tree.

Have a wonderful evening!


Here's the tart recipe:

Chocolate-coconut tarts

  1 cup all-purpose flour
  1/3 cup sugar
  1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  1/2 cup butter
  3 to 4 tablespoons water
  1/2 of an 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
  1/3 cup sugar
  1 teaspoon vanilla
  1-1/4 cups coconut
  24 whole almonds
  1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  1 teaspoon shortening (or butter)

  FOR CRUST: Stir together flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and cocoa powder. Cut in
  butter until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle with water, 1
  tablespoon at a time, tossing gently until moistened. Form dough into a
  ball. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Divide dough into 24 balls. Place
  each ball in an ungreased 1-3/4 inch muffin cup. Press dough evenly
  against bottom and sides of cup.

  FOR FILLING: Beat cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, and vanilla with an
  electric mixer for 30 seconds. Stir in coconut.

  Fill each muffin cup with about 1 rounded teaspoon of filling. Top each
  with a whole almond. Bake in a 375 F oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until
  filling is set. Cool for 30 minutes in pans. Remove from pans; cool on
  wire racks.

  MELT chocolate pieces and shortening in a small heavy saucepan over low
  heat, stirring frequently. Drizzle over tarts. Makes 24.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.... 2014

Okay, who else is really old like me and remembers watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom as a kid in the 60s? Marlin Perkins was my hero! The show no doubt contributed to my great love of animals and nature.

Anyhoo, we've got our own little wild kingdom right here, as my latest wildlife camera photos will show...

I set it up in our woodlot and look who came to visit!

I love how they look right at the camera!

This guy with the broken antler showed up more than once.

And here's another handsome young buck!

The coyotes were out too...

He's got something in his mouth in these last three!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Neigh and a new quack!

Our pony Finney is young and full of energy! My friend Debbie came over the other day to show me how to lunge him...

He really seems to love it, and is very good with "whoa"! :)

Meanwhile, we have yet another new feathered family member...

This is Lenny! He's a, wait for it, 27-year-old blind farm mallard who was surrendered to the OSPCA by his elderly owners because of illness in the family.

We picked him up on Sunday! He was quite a hit with the lovely ladies who work at the shelter.

Right now Lenny is in a cage within the duck coop, but I'd like to try to integrate him, at least for part of the day. I want to make sure the others don't pick on him and that he can get around a bit. He does amazingly well for a blind duck! His owner said he that every day, Lenny got a banana in the morning, layer mash in the day, and some lettuce at night. So I'm obliging the old duck... you can see his banana offering at the bottom of this photo!

I initially found it hard to believe he's 27, but apparently his former owner swore that he was, and I've read that mallards can live 20 years in the wild, so who knows? I would guess that his blindness is caused by cataracts, but it doesn't seem to bother him one bit.

He likes to swim in his water bowl so I suspect outings to our bathtub (which I will video!) are in his immediate future. He's a special duck.

And that makes living being #83 that we're caring for!