Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday before Thanksgiving...

I've been seeing a lot of Black Friday ads lately. Don't know why they're starting so early in the holiday season, but not surprised. I hardly every participate in any of the shopping hype... but since we are going to our daughter's place in the hill country of Texas sometime soon and since she has horses, chickens, dogs, cats, etc. I thought I could use some boots.

Nothing fancy... my wellingtons would do if they hadn't already fallen apart. But I found these on a Penney's Black Friday site and with the sale they would be reduced from $80 to $35. Now that's a pretty good bargain. So I ordered them. Here's a picture:

I haven't had boots since my Animal Science days at LSUBR. (except for my wellies). But these look like they will fit my current need: rounded toe, low heel, and not too high up on my leg.... should protect against copperheads as well as other things one may step on while walking around acreage.

And I don't own that many shoes... not a shoe person. I own tennis shoes (white Reeboks) and some fur lined boots for winter. I do have some shoes left over from my work days, but never wear them anymore... probably need to pass them on.

At the moment I'm cooking a pot roast for our Sunday dinner. I've over-stuffed it with garlic, seasoned it with salt, pepper, parsley, and bay leaves, and cooking it along with carrots, onions, and potatoes. Later this evening  I'll make a gravy and serve all of it over brown rice. 

Oh, I don't know if you remember, but we have had a tiny little possum come by almost daily for several months now. Well, he is rounding out and looking really cute these days. I took this picture this morning as he drank out of the large red feral cats' bowl.

he's filling out nicely

older pic (when he was smaller)

Also we bought our inside cats (Tux, Julie, and Ghost) one of those canvas cubes... it's sort of an add-on type structure (like they have for gerbils). You can get another cube and add a long tube between them. Right now we just bought the cube and the 3 of them have been taking turns in it. Tux can be a bit of a bully when he wants to be. He will sit there and stare at either of the girls until they leave. 

Julie in cube

They will tire of it eventually and then the outside cats will inherit it. This is usually what happens with things we buy for them. But at least the purchases get double use.

Better close this for today. Tonight is the Durrells in Corfu and Poldark on PBS!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

a quick trip home...

Cousins at Mr. Ed's in New Orleans

Just spent a week down in New Orleans visiting family and friends.  I had a wonderful time with my cousins (we are the older generation now).

I basically ate my way through the week. Fantastic food! The two things I miss most about my home-town: family and the food. Let's see - while I was there, I had a fried catfish po-boy,  a roast beef po-boy, red beans and rice, blackened catfish with angel hair pasta and garlic cream sauce, cafe au'lait, beignets, and brought home Angelo Brocato's authentic sesame seed cookies! DH and I love these cookies!

Italian seed cookies

One of my cousins picked me up at the airport and three of us went out to lunch together the next day at a local restaurant that is very New Orleans... in a little neighborhood right off Canal St. and Carrollton Ave. The name of the restaurant is Katie's.... and the food was fantastic. This is where I had my fried catfish po-boy. 


From there we went down the street a bit to Angelo Brocato's Italian Bakery (which is also an icon - think that's the right word) in New Orleans. There we had delicious fresh cafe au'lait. I had an Italian sesame seed cookie with mine while my cousins had spumoni ice-cream. Perfect! 

Cousins Darnell and Barbara

The blackened catfish with angel hair pasta was at New Orleans Food and Spirits on the old Hammond Hwy close to the Lakefront. We've been there before and it's always good. Good gumbo too. And the roast beef po-boy and red beans was at Mr. Ed's - another local neighborhood find.... (which I will definitely return to). It was in Bucktown.

S-I-L and Cousin at New Orleans Food and Spirits on Old Hammond Hwy

DH loves real authentic roast beef po-boys. I'd never had one. I always go for oyster po-boy or fried catfish po-boys. So I thought I'd try one. It was great!! Messy, but great! Wonderful juicy tender roast beef with gravy and crispy delicious french bread. I will get it again. And of course I had to have red beans and rice. However, it's not easy to find red beans and rice in New Orleans unless it's a Monday. Tradition again. But if you google it, it will tell you where it's served only on Monday, and where you can get it on other days.

My college room-mate (at LSUBR 1964) and I spend Friday together... reminiscing... first at Angelo Brocata's for cafe au'lait, then off to City Park to walk. I love City Park... with it's old oak trees, moss, and lagoons. We walked and talked.

City park

Then we went to sit by the lakefront... (lake Ponchatrain)

my friend and the seagulls on the lakefront

We lived very close to the lakefront when I was growing up, so I miss the water... and love to drive or stop by whenever I'm in town.

So that was my week... family, food, and reminiscing!  Now I'm home again in Texas thinking that Thanksgiving and Christmas are both just around the corner. Am I ready? No... but I will be.

The cats were glad to see me. DH says that Tux walked around the house the first few days crying and looking for me. But I'm back 

and he's fine. 

sad Tux

I will also mention that when I fly, I only take an carry-on bag that goes on top and a large quilted bag that fits under the seat. I've always done this as I don't like to check bags. Anyway, what I've noticed lately (now that I'm getting 'up in age') is that picking up that carry-on bag and hoisting it over my head to the overhead luggage compartment is getting a little difficult. If there's a man around, I can always ask for help... but this trip... no one was around but the flight attendant and she was not young herself... and informed me that she had a bad shoulder. I was able to do it, but I know as time moves on, this might not be the case. Oh well, just one of those moments that give one pause...

Have a wonderful week and as always, thanks for visiting!


Monday, November 6, 2017

an after Halloween post...

Feral cats out front on Halloween

This will be a short post as I will be 'out of pocket' until next weekend. Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! We had about 2 dozen kids come by for candy... not a lot, but better than last year. The weatherman predicted colder weather and rain... but we had none of it by our house. 

We removed the cat bed (and wind buffer) before the kids came, but the cats weren't too affected by the Halloween activity. They would move off as the kids ran for the door, then return in between trick or treating (we told the cats that they should go around to the backyard to stay safe, but they didn't seem too worried).

Oh, I did make some 'tea cakes' for Halloween that looked a bit like bats. But since I couldn't force myself to make cookies black, I called them my exotic white snow bats!

... Snowbats on left without powdered sugar. 

... Snowbats on right with powdered sugar


I also missed 2 Saturdays at the Studio due to a stomach bug, so I'm a bit behind on getting things glazed. But I did try spray glazing this past Saturday. It seemed to work well. My plan is to spray glaze some mugs one color, and then use a detail sprayer and very lightly spray glaze around the rim in another color. We'll see how that turns out. Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the Studio will be closed that weekend, there aren't many workable classes left. It may be that I'll have to finish up next semester... which is fine with me.

Well, have a good week... Happy Veterans Day! and as always thanks for visiting! 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

the week before Halloween...

finished pumpkins and stretching cat

These are the finished pieces that I just picked up from the Studio. I think they came out fine... all in one piece too!

Have been playing with the idea of using a spray glaze for the over-sized mugs. I haven't used this technique before, but have seen others do it. I hope to spray the mugs one color and then perhaps due a light detail spray on top in another color. We'll see...

Also... today is my oldest son's birthday!

happy and content... at One Year!

He and his family moved to Hawaii this past summer. I love this next picture... to me it shows how much he likes it there.

happy and content... Now!

Just went outside to check on my small container garden.

parsley and remaining red pepper

I believe that the red bell pepper plant has produced it's last pepper... and it's almost ready to pick. But our curly parsley is enjoying the cooler weather and is looking good. You can't see the basil on the far right, but it has pretty much gone to seed. 

We also have a huge bay leaf tree in the back. It produces enough bay leaves to keep us, family, and friends in a constant supply for cooking, as well as a bug deterrent.

I keep branches of it hanging from my kitchen ceiling as well as in the pantry... it deters bugs.

Well, that's the news here. Weather is definitely cooler here in North Texas and supposedly we're in for some possible rough weather and rain later tonight. We could use the rain... but don't need any more 'rough weather'. 

Leaving you with 3 pics... one of Julie and Tux cuddled together in a basket. Julie has been a bit needy lately (wanting to be be played with more than usual and snuggling in with Tux whenever she can??)

Julie is in front cuddling... Tux is tolerating

Ghost on lying on old quilt... 

not exactly a happy face...

and one of a black feral lying in the pumpkin on our front porch.

feral in pumpkin

It's a large pumpkin...

front porch

Have a wonderful weekend! 
And as always, thanks for dropping by!

Oh... forgot to mention that I just updated one of my other blogs, "Cats, Coffee, and Chocolate" if anyone's interested.  My other blogs are listed to the right at the top here. I've neglected them pretty much in favor of this all inclusive one, but did update just recently...

Friday, October 13, 2017

paraprosdokians... and finished pieces

Have you ever heard of "paraprosdokians"? I hadn't. My cousin sent me a few in an email. Apparently they are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and frequently humorous. (Supposedly Winston Churchill loved them)

Here are a few:

1. Where there's a will... I want to be in it.
2. If I agreed with you... then we'd both be wrong.
3. We never really grow up...we only learn how to act in public.
4. War is not to determine who is right... only who is left.
5. You do not need a parachute to skydive... you only need a parachute to skydive twice.

I thought these were pretty good.

Now... I finished my gray kitty (based on our Ghost) and my red fox. Here are pictures of the finished pieces.

gray kitty

red fox

Today I'm working on underglazing mama chicken with her chicks... and a few others. Stretching kitty and lounging kitty are still in kiln.  Hopefully they will emerge without incident. Small pieces with thin extremities tend to get broken easily during firing. And I've a new piece (kitty hanging over cup) that is awaiting kiln time.

This next is a new greenware piece I'm working on... not sure what I'm going to do with it (just put mama chicken's chicks inside until I decide). May put a seagull on it... and/or some fishing gear?


Oh! Exciting news! Just got a round trip flight to New Orleans for $87!!  How about that? Southwest has these specials off and on all year round, but few get under $100. I keep an eye out for them... and try to scoop them up when they become available. That way I can afford to visit family there and get my N.O. cafe au'lait and beignet fix. Usually almost all seats are sold out on the first day, but luckily I found one. Let's just hope that hurricane season is over (it's not officially over... but gesh, it should be).

And look! My red peppers are turning...


and we got this picture yesterday of our pretty black feral that stays in the front of our house... (he's starting to get his winter coat)

Have a great weekend! And as always, thanks for dropping by...

Sunday, October 8, 2017

a quiet Sunday... more or less

DH went off to buy a Sunday paper and pick up some hot Krispy Kreme donuts this morning. I had awakened early (around 4:30 or so) hungry. I had been to the pottery studio from 9 to about 4 Saturday with only a cup of tea and toast before I left. This isn't unusual as I don't generally eat while working, and did have some chicken wings and home-made garlic coleslaw at 4pm. But I guess that by 4 Sunday morning, I needed another cup of tea. So after making myself one, I sat with the cats in the den and watched re-runs of Murder She Wrote until about 6:30 when I returned to bed until 8.

For once it wasn't my 'monkey mind' keeping me awake... but my stomach wanting food (or tea). 

So perhaps my hunger prompted me to make a roast for Sunday dinner. DH had purchased a 2 lb eye of the round at Central Market Friday... so I defrosted it, stuffed it with garlic cloves, browned it in bacon grease, and added Yukon gold potatoes, yellow onions, fresh carrots, sliced green pepper, a bay leaf, basil, parsley, and S and P. Cooked it in the 450 oven for 15 mins, the 350 oven for 30 mins, and then left it all in the covered casserole in the 250 oven until about 5 pm when we took out the roast, cut it up, added gravy, and put it all back together until 6... when I served it over brown rice. Needless to say, it was very tender and delicious. We don't eat a lot, so have dinner for at least one if not 2 more nights.

Sunday roast and veggies

For those of you who may not remember, the reason for the oven changes is that we have an AGA... which is a little different way of cooking.  There are no knobs to control temperature. It had 4 ovens which are always heated to 150, 250, 350,  and 450. 

our AGA

I did text our family in New Orleans and on the coast of Mississippi to check on how they fared with Hurricane Nate... and all did fine... no flooding thank goodness. 

Spoke to my son and grandson in Hawaii and they are all doing well too... enjoying the weather and culture on Oahu... and getting used to a slower way of life.

Decided to make a few more clay chickens and after thinking how to make them 'different'... came up with making a mama hen and some baby chicks under her wing. I already did a mama on her eggs in a nest...

mama hen and eggs on nest

but this would encompass a mama hen with her little ones under her wings  (I should do one with her baby chicks climbing on top of her... my daughter has sent me pictures of this from her own hen house).

This is what I came up with... again still greenware. Clay has to dry, be under-glazed, fired, blackbird added, then fired again.  

view 1

view 2

Think you can see them better in view 2. They will be more obvious once underglazed. 

That's about the news here.  (Well, we almost took in an old dog that was going to be euthanized at the Animal Shelter this week. Someone saw him there and put his picture on our neighborhood website asking for a foster home for him until a permanent one could be found. His name was Chester and he's apparently an old beagle (with heart worms to boot). But look at this face... our cats would not have been happy, but they could live with it. I was working on DH when another post came in that someone had taken him.  

Isn't that the sweetest face?

Have a wonderful week! And as always, thanks for reading...

(oh, almost forgot... when I was up drinking my tea at 4am, I went to the front window to look out and see what the weather was like... and there in the front of the house running up and down the street in the dark was a coyote... very thin, but a fairly good size. I knocked on the window and he stopped, looked at me for a minute, and then took off in the opposite direction. We see them quite a bit around here since the creek and greenback run behind the houses.) 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

nothing especially interesting... just life as I know it

geese on campus

On the campus where the pottery studio is there are geese... lots of geese!  I took this pic as I walked out on the back patio and was looking through the gate. There were more than you can see in the picture but my panoramic shots don't work very well. Anyway, I counted about 24. I like them, but they are noisy... and will chase you if they get the chance. 

Last Spring there were lots of little gooslings (?), but they seem to have disappeared. Someone said that the large number of water turtles in the lake (in the background) may have eaten them... (yuck!). 

OK... back to my bookshelf barnyard:

my chickens are growing in number

one chicken escaped to join 'the reader'...

these are awaiting bookend that is currently in kiln

Once my bookend base is fired (its in the kiln), I plan to put 'the reader' on it... with or without chicken.

and lastly, with Fall approaching, I sculpted a few pumpkins - just for the fun of it.


These need another coat of underglaze, then need to be fired, and blackbird stain applied. I will post a picture when they are finished.

My red bell peppers are just starting to turn red. There are 4 on the plant. Hopefully they will all make it. I seem to have better luck when I take them off when they are green, but am trying to wait until they turn at least partially red. Then they can ripen the rest of the way on the kitchen windowsill.

starting to turn red

and my parsley that seemed to be dying due to the August heat has revived and is looking well again. Basil has gone to seed. 

Almost time to put out the Halloween decorations! We don't do much - just a few pumpkins and a seasonal sign or two.  Will probably put these out this weekend. But I will post a pic my son had on Facebook of grand daughter playing around last Halloween.

Halloween 2016

As you can see, we all like cats!