Geeses! In my yard!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

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At the beginning of the spring season, we had four different groups of geese descend upon our pond: three pairs and a trio. For awhile, it was like an episode of Melrose Place down there, as they defended their different corners of the pond, drove away intruders (including a hapless pair of teeny little ducks who were forever being picked on by all nine geese), and vied for the prime spots.

This amount of bird activity isn’t unusual for us (for that, see the great pelican swarm of ’14) – except that all four groups of geese decided to stay, even though only one of the pairs had goslings. Oddly enough, as spring turned into summer, the four groups seemed to merge into one large flock. Now they’re just one ginormous family of fifteen.

They stay pretty well hidden when they’re in or around the pond, what with all the greenery, but at varying intervals during the day they waddle on up into the front yard to eat. I love to watch ’em, but they’re exceedingly cautious and often flee even if I’m only spying on them from inside the house.

The two photos at the top of this post were taken from the bedroom window – not to shabby considering they’re through the window screens.

I tried sneaking out the front door for a better shot but they am-scrayed before I could even shut the door. I love Flash Gordon there in the top photo, third from left.

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(Click on the photos to zoom in.)

forever 21

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Today I mourn the loss of my black velvet and leopard print MTV Cribs comforters (reversible, yo!), which have been recycled into dog bedding. I am very broken up about this. I should have cleaned Penney’s out when I had the chance.

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(Far right. Here you see Mags enjoying an even older model. I JUST LIKE ANIMAL PRINTS OKAY! Seriously though, leopard does not show dirt or fur. It’s the bomb.)

This new black and white noir bedding is pretty, but feels way too adult for me.

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(We’ve yet to replace the sheets, obvs.)

The old mattresses are being temporarily stored in the sunroom, which is unheated and thus closed off and empty this time of year.

It kinda looks like we’re running a lodging house.

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Vegan food and dog piles included!

The end.

P.S. Yes we do indeed have two giant beds crammed into our bedroom. A king and a queen, to be exact. (Upgraded from the previous king and twin.) But to be fair we also have 18 dogs, so.

Apple Cobbler (Hold the Cobbler!)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

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The tomatoes might be drying up, but we’ve got plenty of apples now! It took me about 15 minutes to pick this basketful from one of our six trees. Luckily the fruit is ripening at different rates this year, which takes some of the pressure off. I’m sure I’ll still end up giving the majority away, probably to a local food pantry through Ample Harvest or via freecycle. Even after the resident raccoon family stripped one tree almost completely bare, there are more apples out there than I could ever possibly use and/or preserve.

And to think, all these fruit trees (we also have two pear, and one each apricot and peach) weren’t even advertised as a selling point when we bought this house. Total happy accident!

 

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Anyway, with all this fresh, free fruit comes the scrambling search for new and exciting apple recipes. Apple crisps are delicious, but only to a point – after awhile, they get rather tiresome. (Unbelievable but true!)

A few days ago I made a peach cobbler (Shhh, don’t tell anyone, it’s for the upcoming Vegan MoFo! I know I’m such a cheat!) and it occurred to me that the filling would be every bit as yummy on its own. More so, even – the doughy part of the leftover cobbler didn’t reheat as well as the peaches.

And so with a few tweaks and a little fiddling, I adapted the recipe to make Apple Cobbler – minus the “cobbler” portion of the dessert, that is. (The “cobs”? idk, what do you call the dough in a cobbler? For that matter, just what is it that makes a cobbler a cobbler?)

At the risk of overusing the term “yummy,” the apples are just that: soft and warm, and surrounded by a layer of gooey sweetness. Success! If you have a ton of apples that you need to use up quick – or just want to mix things up with your morning bowl of oatmeal – this is the thing for you.

Next up: Apple Pie Insides! Same concept, slightly different execution. My mouth is already watering.

 

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Apple Cobbler (Hold the Cobbler!)

(Inspired by the Peachy Keen Cobbler in American Vegan Kitchen.)

Ingredients

6 medium-sized apples
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. After you’ve cleaned and peeled the apples, cut them into slices about 1/4″ thick. Consistency is more important than the size; try to cut them as evenly as possible so that they bake at the same rate. The thicker the slices, of course, the longer the bake time!

2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients; mix well.

3. Transfer the apples and “batter” to a 9″x9″ baking dish. Bake at 400F for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft and tender. Stir halfway through so that all the apples bake evenly.

4. Enjoy warm, either on their own, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or mixed in with your morning oatmeal.

 

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got produce?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

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A baby pepper, just planted!
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As you’re planning and planting your garden this year – tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, squash, and zucchini as far as the eye can see – please consider including an extra row or two (or three or four!) so that you can donate the excess to a local food pantry. Ample Harvest is a free service that connects gardeners with local charities in need of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and herbs – you know, all the good stuff that any self-respecting vegan gardener might already be planting in her plot.

Here’s how it works:

The Idea

While more than 50 million Americans live in food insecure homes (including a quarter of all children under the age of six), more than 40 million Americans grow fruit, vegetables herbs and nuts in home gardens – often more than they can use, preserve or give to friends.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The Opportunity

Struggling to feed their families, many Americans, both those chronically economically challenged as well as those now impacted by the economic downturn have come to rely on the more than 33,500 food pantries (also called food shelves, food closets, food cupboards or food banks in some areas) across America to help feed their families.

These food pantries, relying on donated and purchased foods, almost never have fresh produce and instead rely on canned or processed produce shipped from across the country at significant cost, both economic and environmental.

At the same time, millions of home and community gardeners nationwide with an abundant harvest do not know that they can share their harvest, do not know how to share their harvest and do not know where to share their harvest. AmpleHarvest.org solves that for them.

The Vision

AmpleHarvest.org envisions an America where millions of gardeners eliminate malnutrition and hunger in their own community.

The Mission

AmpleHarvest.org diminishes hunger in America by educating, encouraging and enabling gardeners to donate their excess harvest to the needy in their community instead of allowing it to rot in the garden. There are no costs to the food pantries or the gardeners for use of AmpleHarvest.org.

The Message

A number of America’s problem could be diminished or even solved if everyone valued our resources, especially fresh food, as the treasure it really is. Our message to America is:

No Food Left Behind

While this doesn’t solve the problem of food access – not by a long shot – growing and donating fresh vegan foods is a small step that you can take to help alleviate hunger in your own community. As Ample Harvest explains, locally sourced foods are also beneficial for the environment: unlike processed foods, fresh foods donated by the community don’t travel as far, don’t require excess packaging – and can even be grown organically, if that’s your thing.

(More below the fold…)

housekeeping and dirty dogs

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Just a quick note to let y’all know that I’m slowly but surely transitioning the blog from a category to a tag-based system for organizing blog posts. So if you notice anything wonky or suddenly see tens or hundreds or even thousands of old posts showing up as “new” in your blog reader, this is why!

I’ve got some other changes planned too; after the tags are squared away, I’m going to import all the old posts from my non-AR blog, Smite Me!, so that all my writing is in one place. Since I mostly write about vegan issues – or occasionally about non-vegan issues from a vegan perspective – it just doesn’t make sense for me to maintain two separate blogs anymore. Plus there was a ton of overlap that should be super-fun to sort through during the merger. Not!

There may also be a blog redesign down the road, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. (I blame Mary! Her Animal Person Redux has got me feeling all restless. Or at least more than I already was.)

And now, so that I haven’t totally wasted your time: Ralphie photos! These were taken last week; we had some incredible weather, and I took him digging down by our pond on a few especially warm afternoons. The previous owners didn’t do much to maintain it, so most of the shoreline is overgrown with trees, scrub, and poison ivy. (Oh, the poison ivy! I can feel my eyeballs breaking out in a rash eery time I look at it.) With the help of a family of beavers, we’ve cleared a 50′ section so Ralphie can dig for critters and wade on down to the water when he needs to cool off. Good times.

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Check out all the dirt in his mouth and the muck covering his harness. He climbed over me several times, staining my white shirt beyond repair. This is why I always wear black, people!
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rebirth

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

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Two geese, swimming in the pond, waddling through the pastures. I’ve been watching them all week. At least one week, possible two. Watching, wondering, revering, daydreaming. Could it possibly be the same pair from last year? The same mother and father who built a home within a stone’s throw of our own, nesting and laying and incubating, eventually welcoming their children into this cruel and beautiful and remarkable world in the relative safety of our pond and its shores, teaching them to fly, swim, graze and live?

Have the birds I fell so in love with last year returned?

Ducks Unlimited (ugh, I know, it was the first useful result to come up!) suggests yes:

When do they breed?

Generally speaking, Canada geese do not breed until they are two or three years of age. Breeding takes place earlier in the year than it does for most birds so that their young hatch right when the plant food they need is in its prime.

When it comes time to choose a nesting site to lay the eggs, the female always returns to the same area where her parents nested. While there are exceptions, females will usually return to the same nesting area every year.

Do Canada geese form families?

The Canada goose is a very family-oriented bird. Usually in their second year of life, Canada geese find a mate and stay together for life. However, if one mate dies, the other will re-mate.

Breeding takes place earlier in the year, with nesting usually happening from late March to early May. Once the eggs are laid, the female incubates them until they hatch around 28 days later.

During the nesting and incubation period, the male stays near the nest and keeps a close eye on the female and the eggs. If a predator should threaten them, the male will attempt to protect the nest by luring the predator away.

Wherever they are, I hope they’ve survived. The babies, too. And maybe I’ll be lucky enough to witness the birth of another generation again this spring. ‘Twas by far the highlight of the season.

Monday Miscellany

Monday, August 31st, 2009

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She may look sweet and innocent here, but as I type this, Kaylee is dancing around my feet, woofing up a storm, for no discernible reason other than that she’s a pushy old broad. Did I mention that it’s getting late and my head hurts?

It’s been crazy ’round these parts the past few weeks, and as light as posting has been, my blogging will probably wane even more with the high summer temps. Shane and I have a number of outdoor projects we’d like to finish before winter (winter, ack! no want!), and even though we’ve finally admitted defeat and called in the pros to knock out some tasks,

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I so hate that I paid someone to cut down trees. Hey, don’t look at me like that. It was euthanasia, not biocide.

there’s still plenty to do.

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I wonder what the previous homeowners would say if they knew we removed 50% of the landscaping they constructed?

If I never have to build a rock wall again, I’ll die a happy vegan.

(More below the fold…)

The view from my office desk.

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

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Now this is why we moved out to the sticks.

(Click here for a more closely cropped – albeit much blurrier – version.)

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Save-a-Turkey Day: T minus 12 days and counting!

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Holy Rover. I glanced at the calendar this morning and realized that Save-a-Turkey Day is less than two weeks away…and I’ve yet to settle upon a Tofurky recipe!

I usually stick with the classic soy sauce and OJ baste recipe, but last year I got all adventurous and tried out the Caramelized Onion and Cherry Relish roast, which was super yummy. Coming off of VeganMoFo, I think I might feel like a bit of a cheat if I don’t try something different. But what? Did I mention that I’m a super-annoying-fussy eater?

The good peoples at Turtle Island Foods have really “beefed” up the selection of Tofurky recipes available on their website. In addition to the old standbys, there are recipes for a Maple-Pecan Tofurky Roast, South of the Border Tofurky Bake, Yam Good Cranberry Tofurky, Tofurky Wellington, Ginger-Garlic Tofurky, Deep Fried Tofurky, Pomegranate/Cranberry Tofurky, Crock Pot Tofurky with Cranberry Onion sauce, and Tofurky a la King, as well as recipes for chili, stew, gumbo, pizza and gravy (!). If you try searching the Google for additional recipes, you’ll find that many of Turtle Island Foods’ concoctions are echoed elsewhere. The Vegetarian Resource Group does have a few original ideas, though, including a Korean Barbecued Tofurky, Glazed Tofurky, Tofurky Stew and Tofurky Aztec.

Turtle Island’s recipe for a Maple-Pecan Tofurky Roast sounds intriguing, but I’m a wee bit worried about the chili paste – too spicy for my overly sensitive taste buds? Maybe I’ll be a goober and stick with Matt Lush’s simple Tofurky baste suggestion: 3 tablespoons olive oil (or other vegetable oil) + 1 tablespoon soy sauce + 1/2 teaspoon ground sage. Or dare I try his third option, with apricot jam?

Any suggestions from the veg*n gallery? What are y’all doing for the holiday? Are you even celebrating the holiday?

Whether you are or you aren’t, PETA2 is giving away a few free Tofurkys. Just blog about “why you won’t be eating turkeys this Thanksgiving (for all of your friends to see!), then leave a link to your blog as a comment below” – by November 19 – and drop a link to your entry in the comments.

Why won’t I be eating a dead bird on 11-27, you ask?

Satya - November 2006

Because there’s someone behind – inside, actually – that meal. A previously living, breathing, loving, thinking, sentient being, with rights and interests far more important than my wish for a meaty meal.

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Turkeys are always welcome at my place, of course, just not in the oven.

So, why won’t you be eating a turkey – and what will you be eating instead?

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VeganMoFo, Day 17: Pumpkin Applesauce & Plant Porn

Friday, October 17th, 2008

As I mentioned last night, yesterday Shane and I spent the day outside, disassembling a fairly large planter. No complaints here, though; it was a gorgeous day, and I’d much rather spend a sunny day doing manual labor outside than be cooped up in the house, plugging away on office work or somesuch.

And can I just say that Midwestern autumns are effin’ gorgeous?

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(More below the fold…)

VeganMoFo, Day 1: Eating Locally (X-Treme Edition)

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

As I mentioned in yesterday’s link roundup, the Vegan Month of Food is upon us!:

Join us for VeganMofo – the Vegan Month Of Food. The idea is to write as much as you can for the month of October about vegan food. The blog entries can be about anything food related – your love of tongs, your top secret tofu pressing techniques, the first time your mom cooked vegan for you, vegan options in Timbuktu – you get the idea.

Last year we didn’t come up with strict guidelines for how often we wrote, but I think the idea is to shoot for every weekday, or about 20 times in the month. Don’t forget to tag your stuff “veganmofo” and you can use the VeganMoFo banner (^up there) on your mofo posts. If you’d like inspiration or would just like to whine about how hard it is, check out the MoFo forum on the PPK message boards.

As the world catches on that vegan food really is the best choice for animals (suck it, humane meat!), the planet (bite me, melting ice caps!) and people (piss off, heart disease!) let’s show them what vegan eating is all about.

One last thing – you may remember that VeganMoFo was in November last year, well, this year it’s in October because there’s more produce and stuff. Also, I’ll be in NYC this November and not really near a computer.

To be included here, just leave a comment on this blog entry with a link to your URL. I will then include you in the RSS feed, once I remember how to update it. You can also join the VeganMoFo Flicker group. Happy writing everyone! If you’re feeling at a loss for how to start this off, why don’t you make your first entry about that?

If you want to participate, it’s not too late. Head on over to the Post Punk Kitchen to register your blog, join the Flickr group, and grab a banner.

There’s been quite a bit of talk on the internets lately about the (dis)advantages of eating locally, eating organic, “voting” with your dollars and “happy” meat. All of which has gotten me thinking about where I shop, how I shop, how much I spend and whether I’m using my “vote” wisely.

(More below the fold…)

A PSA for the good citizens of Saint Joe, MO:

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Don’t ever hire this dude for your roofing needs:

Dave Sanders Contracting
http://www.davesanderscontracting.com

13180 County Road 334
Savannah, MO 64485

1024 Sylvanie
Saint Joseph MO 64501

I’d warn y’all not to use Rick Williams and Almighty Roofing too (see the complaint we filed with the BBB, below), but I think he’s in semi-retirement, so it’s moot.

Honestly, we’ve been trying to get our roof fixed for nine months now; after at least a dozen canceled appointments (and a few outright no-shows)…well, I just don’t understand how “normal” people conduct business like this. Luckily for the husband and I, we both telecommute at least part-time, so scheduling in-home appointments isn’t terribly inconvenient (assuming people actually keep their appointments, ahem). How the hell do regular working couples manage this shit?

In any case, nine months is beyond ridiculous. We didn’t have this kind of issue with the locksmith, or the HVAC people, or even the plumber. (The chimney sweep remains to be seen, I ‘spose.) I mean, WTF!?

A word to the wise: if you’re negotiating to buy a house, and it needs some repairs before closing (particularly repairs that will be warrantied) – don’t let the current homeowner use the contractor of her own choosing. Most likely, you’ll regret it.

On the flip side, if you live in the Kansas City area and need some concrete work done – specifically, decorative concrete – check out Big Red Decorative Concrete. Kevin and his crew patched and stained about 90% of our interior floors last summer (basically, anything that wasn’t tiled over), designed and implemented a faux Spanish tile effect on our back patio, and laid down some industrial grade epoxy in our garage. They rock. No, really – go see for yourself!

Keep reading for the BBB complaint…

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Friday Random Cuteness: Snakes! In My Door!

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Though it’s fun to walk around muttering “Motherf’in snakes! In my motherf’n door!” all day long, it does suck to have to keep said door closed for fear that those motherf’in snakes will wander in and make themselves at home. In the “plus” column, I guess the cross-breeze is no longer necessary since it’s only in the 70s now. Oh, well.

Snakes! In my door!
 

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