Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 29 - Tree Clean-up

        Earlier this week Fleur-Ange had our two old Ash-leaved Maples, between the house and the barn, taken down. In order to save money we had the tree service just cut down the trees and leave them to be cleaned up. They did cut up the large parts of the lower trunk as my chain saw was not large enough to cut through them but smaller bits were left along with all the smaller branches. 

        Yesterday, October 29, I skipped art class and gym time to work on cleaning up all the smaller branches. I worked from 9:00 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon on chopping branches, moving the smallest ones to the burn barrel, moving the larger branches to several piles, and burning the smallest branches and twigs in the burn barrel. During that time I only took a 5 minute break at lunch time to grab a piece of cold pizza to eat while I fed the fire and then another quarter of an hour to help in the barn when the farrier came to trim the donkey’s hooves as well as the goats hooves. By the end of the day I was feeling quite fatigued and made a couple of bad moves with the machete so I decided to quit while I was still whole. Fortunately the machete did not cut me as I had on heavy gloves and the blow was not too hard. 

        I did find, during the day, that the machete was much better than the larger heavier axe for about 95% of the cuts I wanted to make. I used the axe only about 3% of the time and them my little hand limb saw for the remaining 2% of the cuts. The chain saw cuts will come later when there is someone else around.    

        Having worked over 7 hours at the job left me quite tired and a bit sore in the arms and back but, for some reason, my left instep was the most painful. I do not understand why as I was not on my feet any more than a usual work day but the pain would not go away. I iced the foot, elevated it, massaged it and rolled it on my roller to try to ease the pain but it is still with me, fortunately to a much lesser degree, this morning. Hope it improved before the half marathon this coming weekend!
        Maybe a photo or two will be added later but I did not take any yesterday. I even gave up the opportunity to take a photo of a little wood frog that I found while working.

        I was way too dedicated to getting that mess cleaned up. I still have lots to do but will not do another 7+ hour chopping marathon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ham and Swiss Pie (Kind of)

Recipe from The Country Cape B&B in Whately, MA 

Ham &  Swiss Pie

2 cups cut up ham
1/4 cup chopped onion     
2 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
4 eggs
1 cup Bisquick 

Mix eggs, milk, Bisquick, salt & pepper
Pour over meat, cheese & onion
Put in greased 10” pie plate
Bake @ 350° for 35-40 min
(Done when knife inserted in centre comes out clean.)

        On our one B&B  of the trip that really served breakfast, we had a Ham & Swiss Pie that was so good that I asked for, and received, the recipe. Having been home for a few days I tried it out, in my usual fashion of using recipes as a guide only.  In this case I used pepperoni that was left over from making pizza the day before instead of the ham. I used an entire onion. The milk that I used was 1% instead of whole milk. I omitted the salt and pepper as we add our own at the table.Since I did not have any Swiss cheese on hand I used 1/2 cup of goat cheese and 1/2 cup of old cheddar cheese. Hey, I did use 4 eggs that were fresh from our hens so I did not change all of the recipe.  I try to not use mixes, i.e. Bisquick, so I looked at the ingredients of Bisquick and saw that it was basically flour, salt, shorting, and baking powder so I used 1/3 cup of tapioca flour, 1/3 cup almond flour, & 1/3 cup barley flour to cut down the amount of gluten in the mix and added about a half teaspoon of baking powder and half teaspoon of baking soda.

        I baked the mix in our oven at 350° for 37 minutes and it turned out great. I look forward to trying it again sometime soon!

        (I forgot to take the photo before any cutting. It actually got cut into 8 pieces but 6 of them disappeared at breakfast.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday Flowers

            Every Friday I go out looking for wild and/or naturalized flowers and make a list. This past Friday I spent time in the natural parts of the Royal Botanical Garden's Arboretum and then spent a couple more hours walking along the Hamilton Waterfront Trail.  Following is a list of the blooms that I found on this mid-October afternoon:

            (I tried to put in a table with English, French, and Latin names but it would not upload for some reason.)

Alyssum, Hoary *
Aster, Calico (Starved Aster)
Aster, Frost
Aster, Heart-Leaved
Aster, Heath
Aster, New England
Aster, Panicled
Avens, Catling's *
Beggar Tick
Beggar Tick, Tall

Bindweed, Hedge

Bugleweed, Rough
Bugloss, Viper's *
Butter-And-Eggs *
Catnip *
Celandine *
Chickweed, Mouse-Ear *

Chicory *

Clover, White *
Clover, White Sweet *
Comfrey, Common *
Coneflower, Tall
Coneflower, Thin-Leaved * 
Coreopsis, Tall
Crown-vetch, Purple (Crown Vetch) *
Dandelion, Common *
Dandelion, Red-Seeded *
Dogwood, Red-Osier (S)
Evening Primrose, Common
Fleabane, Daisy
Galinsoga *
Galinsoga, Small-Flowered
Goldenrod, Canada
Goldenrod, Lance-Leaved
Goldenrod, Tall
Groundsel, Common * 
Groundsel, Sticky * (S.Ragwort)


Herb Robert *
Knotgrass, Common *
Knotweed, Japanese *
Mallow, Common(Cheeses) *
Medick, Black *
Mustard, Black *
Nightshade, Eastern Black
Nipplewort *
Pink, Deptford *
Queen Anne's Lace *
Ragweed, Common
Ragweed, Perennial (Western)
Raspberry, Wild Red (S)
Smartweed, Water
Sow Thistle, Common *
Sow Thistle, Field *
Sow Thistle, Spiny-Leaved *
Storksbill *
Swallowwort *
Thistle, Bull *
Touch-Me-Not, Spotted
Vetch, Cow * (Tufted V.)
Wallrocket *
Witch Hazel
Wormwood, Sweet *

        The * means that the plants are not native to our area but have come elsewhere, mostly from Europe or Asia. The (s) is for shrubs and other names in parentheses are common alternate names.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October Routines

        Finally, after a week and a few days, I am getting into autumn routines. I still have not been to the gym on a regular schedule but maybe next week events will fall into place. There are many chores  to be done to get the property ready for winter such as a last bit of mowing, putting benches away, cleaning up the various gardens, shearing the goats, etc. Hoping it will all get done before the snow flies.

        On the way to doing all that, there is still the regular dog walking, taking photos, and trying to read old mail from last month.  Following are three photos from the dog walk this morning:

Frost Aster (aka Old Field Aster)
 Aster velu
(Symphyotrichum pilosum)

Highbush Cranberry
Viorne trilobée
(Viburnum trilobum) 

Anémone de Virginie
(Anemone virginiana)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

        We just enjoyed 2 and 1/2 hours of Fleur-Ange's granddaughter and parents for a thanksgiving lunch and did not get one photo. It has to be the first time that has happened. We did have an exciting board game of Candyland however and the oldest person won followed closely by the youngest person.