Friday, November 26, 2021

Only 6,600 words to go

I'm still slogging along on my NaNoWriMo word count.

It's been an intense month, but I only have 6,600 words left to go!

Yowza, this book will take a LOT of editing when the first draft is finished. But at least I've got a draft to edit. Progress!

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Remember the cat who fell upstairs?

I'm sure you all remember Older Daughter's cat Frumpkin – the Cat Who Fell Upstairs. For new readers, Frumpkin was abandoned by people who moved out (this was in our old neighborhood). He was left to fend for himself, a cruel fate for a former house cat.

He sorta adopted us and became our barn cat, where at least he was fed and out of the elements. When Older Daughter returned from her job in New Jersey, she fell in love with the cat, named him Frumpkin, and took him with her when she got her own apartment. He's been living the life of Riley ever since.

Older Daughter arbitrarily decided today was his birthday. Why today? Because it's the anniversary of his adoption (by her). In reality, she has no idea how old he is. She guesstimates he's six years old, because last year the vet said he's probably at least five.

For his birthday, Older Daughter got Frumpkin a present: a water fountain.

"So I set up Frumpkin's water fountain today," she messaged. "He was extremely unsure about it.

"I stood there with a camera poised for a while before I realized the best way to get a cat to do something is to make them think they're doing it in secret, so I pretended to work in the kitchen. Sure enough..."

"Then I got his birthday tuna."

"He was impatient because I wouldn't let him have it until I blew out the candle."

"Happy cat."

"That's his default position when I'm on the computer."

More pics:

Older Daughter concluded by saying, "He's living a good life, that cat."

I'd say she's right. Happy Arbitrary Birthday, Frumpkin.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

No Thanksgiving tomorrow

We won't be holding Thanksgiving tomorrow since Older Daughter and I are both working.

Instead, we'll be holding our dinner on Sunday, when Older Daughter will be able to join us.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a blessed, peaceful, and abundant Thanksgiving, dear readers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

First snowfall

Yesterday we had lovely weather: high temp 50F, sunny, beautiful.

Fat quail in the driveway:

Fat turkeys in the field:

Today is quite a contrast. We've had frosts and the faintest dusting of snow in the last couple weeks, but today we had our first real snowfall. Not much – maybe half an inch – but very pretty.

To Darcy, snow is just a bonus on his walks.

Every needle and leaf was dusted.

The rocks somehow looked more muscular.

The spider webs caught a lot more snow than flies.

The fat quail in the driveway were suddenly a lot more visible.

Needless to say, the bird feeder has been popular.

The snow isn't expected to last – temps get back into the 40s by Thursday – but this is a portend of things to come. I'm so grateful we have our firewood in and our cookstove installed.

Let the winter come.

Monday, November 22, 2021

World's tiniest antlers?

A young buck paused outside our kitchen window on this frosty morning.

He had a set of what looked like the world's tiniest antlers.

I don't mean to laugh too hard – ya gotta start somewhere – but growing these little toothpicks hardly seemed worth the effort, y'know?

Aren't they cuuuute? Don't you just want to pinch his little cheeks?

Keep working on them, fella. You'll have impressive antlers someday.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Canning mustard

Don ran out of mustard the other day.

He's a sandwich guy and goes through a fair bit of it. For that reason I usually buy it in bulk. However since neither of us wanted a big honkin' container of mustard taking up room in the fridge, I knew it was time to re-can it into smaller jars.

I started by dumping all the mustard in a big pot. Re-canning is best done with a hot pack, so I needed to heat it up.

And heating it up, I learned the hard way years ago, should be done in a double boiler so the bottom doesn't scorch. At first I put the pots on the cookstove, but it was too warm to keep the cookstove going and we let the fire die out.

So most of the heating was done on the propane stove.

While the mustard was heating, I washed and drained the plastic jugs. Don uses them in the shop to hold miscellaneous nuts and bolts.

I also held back two quarts of unprocessed mustard to just keep in the fridge. No sense canning what will get used up right away.

I kept the heat low and stirred the mustard every so often, bringing the warmer stuff up from the bottom.

When the mustard was hot enough, I ladled it into pint jars.

Just about ready to process.

Scalding the lids. It's nice to have all my canning supplies back within easy reach. For too long things had been scattered in distant locations.

Into the water bath. (Ignore the old labels on the lids from previous uses.) Mustard is high-acid, so it can be safely water-bath canned for 20 minutes at a rolling boil.

When they jars were processed, I removed them from the water. One vomited out quite a bit of mustard. Hey, not every canning project turns out Instagram-perfect. (Surprisingly, this jar actually sealed.)

I let the jars cool overnight before dating them and putting them in the pantry. Now Don has enough mustard at least for the next year or so.