Tuesday, January 31, 2012

If You Ever Come Across a Caged Lion....

 Sunny thinks he's a lion... and he found his way into my birdcage that I bought at Hobby Lobby.
 I love the five stages that he went through during the one min he was incarcerated. Above he was in predator mode.
 Second he was in cleaning mode and started sweep out the cage.
 Thirdly, he was in alert mode.
 Then clean thyself mode.
And lastly, my favorite. Refection mode and the realization of being in complete captivity.

Don't forget to scratch your cat for me today,
Java Girl

The Mockingbird

Today my youngest daughter and I were sitting on the porch. We were enjoying the 60' weather and watching the horses graze while we drank ice tea. And then sweet little daughter noticed that I couldn't whistle today, at all.... the truth is that I've never been a good whistler. And on a good day when the wind is blowing right, you might hear a faint sound come from my beaked lips... but not usually. And little daughter is a relentless tease and she liked noting that I couldn't and she could. Whistle.

So as luck would have it she started to demonstrate that she could whistle better than me and so she did. But what we didn't expect was that far off in the distance the exact sound of her whistle. She whistled again... and there we heard it again! We were so excited that this bird was so near by and ready to duplicate my daughter's whistle.

Sitting there on the porch and the wonderment of the fact that a mockingbird was right near our home just made us get more excited.... until we heard a big hoot from an owl and suddenly realized that right behind our lawn chairs is my bedroom and that Hubby was the mockingbird!!!! And the owl.

This has been a problem with our marriage from the dawn of time. He always seems to be in the right spot at the right time and you never hear him. The other problem is that I'm a bit gullible, which I've passed on down to my daughters. And so you have it.

I guess I should have called this blog To Kill a Mockingbird,
Java Girl 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Memoir's Of A Zoo Keeper

While my Amish Bread starter is brewing and on day 6 (only 4 more days to go!) I thought I would share somethings with you while we wait. 
I know you don't read my blog for certain reasons, I mean, let's be honest... I'm not a grammical (is that a word?) genius by any means. I'm more like a crazy woman on a farm who has a lot to say and no one to say it too. But any who... I'm happy you drop in every once and awhile to see what's going on and for this I'm very grateful. Truly.
So I thought you might think it interesting what I do on a day to day basis. I wear may coats in this family and I will be honest, some don't fit as well as others (for instance anything involving a drill, to name but one) and then some coats/responsibilities come very easy to me .... like being with our animals. I've loved critters since I was little and even had a raccoon named Mert who would ride around in the wagon with me. So naturally I've handed this interest down to my daughters... and being that their Dad is the same way... enjoying our animals comes easily to us.
Today was cold snowy and windy so I headed down to the barn to muck out stalls and brush the horses.... earlier in the day Kiele and Celeste were playing in the pasture and after one look at this horse, I believe he painted his face to play Cowboys and Indians. He being the indian of course.
 This mess took about 45 min to breakup and see the beautiful black fur underneath. It was like standing in a dust storm as I brushed the nasty layers away. It's been real rainy and he's been rolling.
 See this Aussie Clip... well it's made so that if a horse pulls back he will have some resistance and not freak out. My horses of course look at this as one might look at a Rubic's Cube.... a puzzle and they both know how to get out of it. And afterwards they just stand there and don't try to run off. It's a game.
 This is Sunny. He's taken over everyone's heart and has turned out to have quite a temper. Guess that's what happens when you the youngest of four cats. I love Sunny's big paws and picture him as big as a bobcat one day. I do believe he's saluting.. must be the blanket.
 This is Dutch... he tore his toenail off two days ago and found it very easy to get around on three legs. He had a sort of limp, run, run, run, limp thing going one. Oh and when the toenail came completely off, he ran into my closet and bled on my white berber carpet. I let him live because I was able to shampoo all the blood out of the carpet.
 Here's what Sunny and Chance do about 98% of the time. Wrestle. Here they are wrestling by the fireside.
 I fed the birds today... and after filling the feeder I couldn't believe how many came to the feeder. I counted at least 12 male cardinals.
 Zorro our Walmart kitten is now huge, tries to climb everywhere and will walk with you like a dog. And is the fastest mole catcher in the state.
 Purry putting up with Sunny playing with his tail. Purry's wise and Sunny is not. When he corrects Sunny it's always three pops on the head.
 Don't think they are all that obedient... I have treats and pretty much any animal or person who lives here on this farm will work for food.
 Dutch whacking Snoop.
 Prissy is the cutest thing you've ever saw. But if you look deep into her eyes, she's a 53 year old menopausal female. Unless you are a man... then the attitude subsides.
 Snoop, my balanced, smart, keen dobermann/lab mix. I love this dog more than sweets. He also keeps the riff raff away.
Until tomorrow,
Java Girl

Friday, January 6, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread Starter and Bread Recipe

I love this stuff... it's amazing. I think it's the vanilla pudding. So here it is!
 2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour, divided
3 cups sugar, divided
3 cups warm milk, divided
Please don't use any metal bowls or utensils.
Day 1
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand for 10 min.
In a gallon freezer bag, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly so when the milk is added the flour won't be lumpy. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and yeast mixture and then let set on kitchen counter. Do not refrigerate.
Day 2-4
Stir starter with a wooden spoon or squish bag daily. Make sure to let out any air bubbles that may develop.
Day 5 
Stir in 1 cup flour, A cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Squish bag until everything is well incorporated.
Day 6-9
Squish bag daily
Day 10
Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 2 cups starter to make your bread (recipe follows), divide the remainder into 1 cup portions to give to friends along with a copy of the recipe or store excess in the refrigerator and begin the 10 day process over again.
Once you have made the starter, you will consider it Day 1 so you will ignore step 1 in this recipe and proceed directly to step 2. You can also freeze the starter in 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.
Amish Friendship Bread
1 cup starter
2/3 cup oil
3 eggs beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar 
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1.2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 large package vanilla instant pudding mix
Nuts, raisins and dates are optional.
In a large nonmetallic bowl, mix together the starter, oil, eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and vanilla instant pudding mix. Stir into the starter mixture and mix well. At this point you can add nuts, raisins or dates - use about a cup total.
Grease 2 loaf pans and sprinkle the bottoms liberally with a cinnamon and sugar mixture. Pour the batter into the loaf pans and sprinkle the top of bread also with cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 350' for 50-60 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in loaf pans for 10 min. before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I'm making mine with Gluten free flour, rice milk and xanthum gum instead of eggs. We'll see how it goes.

One nice thing to do is to give a baked loaf and a starter already made to a friend. That way they keep up with the process when they know what the end product tastes like.

Have a Java Bread Starter Day!

Ramblings From My Desk

With the Holidays behind us... I usually get a little sad watching all the Christmas lights being placed in the rubber container. But this year I did something different. I only put away 2/3 of the decorations. I left some lights up in my house and it makes for such a warm cozy feeling in the evening with the candles lit and the fire going. Lights especially help with the dark winter days, but I haven't had any of those, it's been warm and sunny a lot. 
 Did I mention that Pigeon Forge has a WinterFest and we went this year. The lights were amazing... and we went to Dollywood and boy does she know how the put up the lights. 
Any who.... now is the time when I sit down and really digest the Christmas letters we received. I didn't get as many letters this year and I guess we can blame it on the economy. I somethings think we are getting too far from social interaction and real correspondence. Maybe I'm old fashion but this family has been known to drive 3 hrs to have lunch with friends and family. Talking, laughing, reminiscing and great food.... my Aunt Joyce says there's nothing better and she's right!

Now also is a time when I look at the coming year and scheduling events that we're looking forward too. As I'm getting older, I'm realizing that time has started to speed up too fast. Our daughters are in their twenties and I have some permanent wrinkles. Oh well... the Bible says that beauty is fleeting, but some of the most beautiful women I know are over 80, it's all how you look at it. 

I hope that as you wind down and reflect... that you feel Christ closer than ever and feel a renewed feeling of hope and love.

Java Girl