Saturday, September 29, 2007

And The Catfish Need Love, Too

This morning when Jack and I woke up we had 4 cats in bed with us, Poncho on the floor on one side of the bed and Lefty on the other, and Buckaroo in the corner of the bedroom in the kitty bed. Ordinarily, Buckaroo would have been in bed with us too, but being that he is 14 years old he has a bit more trouble jumping up on the bed. And the cats are more than happy to share their bed with Buck – being that they never sleep in it anyway.

So Jack and I are snoozing away when we both suddenly awoke. Seems that Buck’s snoring is getting a bit out of control. I sat up and started counting out loud all the animals in bed with us and in the room. Jack and I both looked at each other and just cracked up! All we need is Arnold the pet pig and we could have our own darn sitcom.

Actually, Green Acres might have had a pet pig, but they didn’t have pet longhorns that stared through their dining room windows or a bird that ruled the household. Heck, they didn’t even have a pet catfish!

Have I told y'all about our catfish? His name is Pecos Pete and he has a shy wife named Lilly Langtry. Pecos Pete is at least a yard-long; Lilly is just slightly more petite with her little girlish figure, coming in at about 32 inches long.

Before this piece of Hill Country paradise belonged to us, our realtor brought us out here to show us the place. She was more than obliged to introduce us to the yet unnamed catfish. As we walked out onto the dock she grabbed some crackers out of her purse and started throwing pieces of them into the water.

After a while this very large, yard-long catfish surfaced and started eating the cracker crumbs. And of course, since I love all creatures great and small, my heart got all big with love and I turned to Jack and said – “Honey, I’m sold. You have to buy me this ranch; no one else will ever feed this fish!”

He agreed and bought me the ranch.

But wait, you say. You just said ranch – I thought you lived on a farm. Let me explain. This place was referred to as a ranch from the people we bought it from, but being from the last frontier in Texas there is a certain entitlement to what can be called a ranch. Coming from a place where ranches are the size of Rhode Island, we just couldn’t in good conscience consider ourselves ranch owners, so we just call it a farm. Plus, lavender farm sounds better than lavender ranch.

So we moved out here to our magical farm and I began feeding Pecos Pete on a daily basis, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. It was the least I could do for my new pet being that I couldn’t hold him or pet him or take him for walks on a leash. Occasionally Lilly Langtry would take a bite, but she liked to leave the hunting and food gathering for her strong, brawny husband.

Pecos Pete got to know the sound of my walk from the dock. As soon as I would get to the end of the dock, I would hear a splash and there he would be, his mouth wide open awaiting to be filled with something. So there you go. Don’t tell me you can’t train a catfish!

As it turned out, Pete got a little tired of eating crackers. You know – they all get so spoiled after a while. So I started feeding him cheese. This lasted for quite some time, but then he tired of cheese. So I moved on to lunchmeat. He LOVES lunch meat. And don’t try to fool him anymore with crackers… Now days if I attempt to feed him crackers he just spits them out and swims away.

It’s unconditional love you know.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'd rather be old & crazy than young & dumb

Just a few thoughts for the weekend: Regarding my weird pregnant dream, I talked to Big Mama and she thinks that we must have been trying to get to the Dairy Queen because, in her opinion, a blizzard from the Dairy Queen will fix just about any dilemma. I agree.

Regarding my story about digging potatoes with my grandfather, Sam called and reminded me of just how old I really am. Being that my mother was a very, very young bride - they did that sort of thing back in the olden days, Sami said that I am probably the age now that my Pappy was back when he was watching us dig potatoes.

After counting frontwards and backwards on my toes & fingers a few times, I realized that she was right! And now I'm just dumbfounded. Pappy was an old man my whole life. Or at least that's what I remember.

So now I'm thinking that my nieces and nephews think of me as this old lady that happens to be their aunt. Twenty years from now when they're reflecting back on childhood memories, in their minds will they think of me as their little old aunt that lived on a farm with a bunch of cats who liked to putter about in her lavender fields?

Will they be saying things like, "when I was a child I remember spending summers with old Aunt Deb, she was an eccentric and crazy old lady that had all these animals, including a pet bird that she thought had been sent to her by a higher power. Oh yes, she was a bit cracked, the crazy old thing."

Well, maybe they're right - about the eccentric & crazy part, not the old part.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yonder There's Lavender Potatoes

Just in case you’re in the mood to experience cooking with lavender, here’s a great recipe that my friend, Paige, sent to me. I love new potatoes. Well, I love all potatoes – but new potatoes especially. One of my favorite childhood memories is of my sister and me with my Pappy in the garden picking potatoes. Actually, you don’t pick potatoes, you dig potatoes.

When I was a kid on my grandfather’s farm, I thought there was nothing more fun than getting my hands deep into the earth and digging for treasure. Well, okay - I was digging for potatoes, but in my little imaginary mind I was discovering great treasure that had been hidden centuries earlier by little fairies. My sister on the other hand didn’t see it quite like I did, but she would somehow manage to join in on the fun. We were like two little puppy dogs digging with our hands as fast as we could, saying “I got one! Found another one!” My Pappy would be standing there in his khaki pants & shirt with a great big grin on his face. He would be laughing and saying, “Don’t forget the ones over yonder!”

Yonder. One of my favorite words. Howdy is my other favorite word.

So here’s a recipe for lavender potatoes. If you’ve never cooked with lavender, please keep in mind that a little dab’ll do ya’. Lavender is a fantastic herb, but it should be used to enhance other flavors, not to dominate. Otherwise, you will be eating new potatoes that taste like soap. Not very appetizing. But, when done right, I have to tell you that you will just love it!

Lavender can bring to life many foods, including potatoes, chicken, and rice. Oh, and desserts, don’t forget the desserts – especially ice cream, sugar cookies, and crème brulee. Yummy!

Lavender Potatoes with Rosemary

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Serves 8
1 pound new potatoes, washed and cut in halves or quarters
1 teaspoon dried lavender (or 6 fresh sprigs of lavender)
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons dried lavender
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place the potatoes and 1 teaspoon lavender in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil and continue to boil until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife but still hold their shape. Drain, allowing the lavender to cling.

Melt the butter over MEDIUM in a large skillet, add the 2 teaspoons lavender, the rosemary and the salt and stir. Add the potatoes and stir well to coat with butter. Cook, tossing occasionally until the potatoes are hot, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Chicken Is Alive & Elvis Is On TV, Life Is Good!

Okay y'all, if you don't get a thing done today, at least watch this clip. You'll be glad you did. I'm still laughing!

I don't know this lady, but I have made her my new best friend. I love her, I relate to her, and I would have revived that chicken, too!

(I hope I've done this right, I've never downloaded one of these video clip things)

Wasn't that great! I can't hang here long. Elvis is on TV and I don't want to miss a thing!!!

I don’t know nothin’ bout birthing babies!

Okay y’all, if any of you know how to interpret dreams, you’ve gotta help me out on this one. Are you ready?

It’s a weird one.

Last night I dreamt that I was big, huge pregnant and going into labor (which is biologically impossible in real life). Anyway, in the dream I could actually feel the baby moving around inside of me, and even some cramping and pressure. It was remarkable.

This is when it really gets weird. Big Mama and I were in my hometown walking (she was walking, I was waddling) in very cold weather, trying to get to the Dairy Queen so I could deliver my baby. Big Mama kept saying, “I can see the DQ sign, we’re getting closer, just keep walking.” As we’re walking, I’m holding my big, pregnant belly and looking towards the tall red Dairy Queen sign. Big Mama is helping to hold me up as we walk and I say her, “boy, is this ever going to give us something to blog about!” Big Mama says, “oh yes it will, but right now we just have to get you to the Dairy Queen.”

Please help me y’all. Am I nuts???

P.S. No, I have not been smoking my lavender.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Knitting? Nobody Told Me ...

Hi there! I'm back at the farm after several wonderful days with my nieces and new baby nephew. What a sweetie! Yes - I will get pictures to you, it's just that I'm at the mercy of my very busy brother-in-law. He will get some pictures downloaded and sent over to me soon.

I think.

In the meantime, I have something to share. It appears a huge movement has been going on all around me, it's practically a revolution. Now everyone knows that I have an inquiring mind. Very little gets past me. It can't - you know, I have the disease (notintheknowaphobia). Anyway, this entire revolution movement thing has been going on and I had absolutely no idea. Even my good friend Sam, whom I thought I pretty much knew everything about, has gotten sucked into this above said revolution and she never even told me about it.

It's called knitting.

Jack & I got a call a few weeks ago from a super nice knitting chick named Stacy who was opening a new knitting store in Austin. She was familiar with our lavender body care line and was interested in carrying it in her store. My initial thought was, knitting? Lavender Body care? Please connect the dots here for me.

Stacy was introduced to our lavender body care line during the Blanco Lavender Festival and purchased our No. 145 Lavender Lotion. She said that it was just the best stuff she had ever used, yes she did. According to Stacy, knitters can get very dry hands handling all that wool. Even Sam said (after she finally spilled the beans to me that she was a knitter) that those sweet little Alpacas can wreak havoc on your hands.

Stacy said that knitters love lavender because the dried buds in sachets are great to have in their knitting baskets to keep pesky little pests out of the yarn. Those of you from the Hill Country know how scorpions just love snuggling into nice little dark areas. But did you know that lavender is a natural moth and scorpion repellent? Instead of using stinky moth balls, place lavender sachets in your closets, drawers, trunks, or under your seats and sofa cushions - and by all means, in your knitting basket!

Anyway, Stacy called and told us she was opening her knitting shop, The Knitting Nest in South Austin. And y'all, it's a great, great shop! You have to check it out and see her assortment of really unique yarns; and of course Hummingbird Farms lavender sachets and lavender lotion, no doubt.

When Stacy called to inquire about carrying our product line, I really didn't realize at the time how hot knitting was. I was telling my friend, Sam (the one I thought I really knew, being that I talk to her regularly and have known her since I was 12) about The Knitting Nest carrying our products, and she said, "Oh that's great! I'll have to tell my knitting group about it." After spewing my diet coke all over the place, I said, "You knit? You're in a knitting group? Nobody told me" ... I've now learned that there's even an entire blogosphere out there that is solely dedicated to knitting.

Oh how I hate to be the last to know.

Yes, I distinctly remember Martha coming home from the big house in her new poncho knitted by her new inmate BFF. I just figured that her new inmate BFF was miserably bored and took up knitting to pass the time. I had no idea that this inmate was in the know, that she was part of the revolution surrounding us all - that she actually had one over on me!

Knitting is hot, hot, hot right now. I'm just about 3 years late realizing how hot it is. In fact, there supposedly are even a number of knitting celebrities that are so eaten up with the revolution you can see them knitting everywhere - in green rooms, on the set, in airports, just everywhere! Some regular knitters include Julia Roberts, Madonna, Hilary Swank, Cameron Diaz, Goldie Hawn, Julianne Moore, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Who knew??? And hey - if knitting is cool for Sarah Jessica Parker, well then you just know it's the thing to be doing.

Where are my needles?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I can't chat, I'm too busy planning for Easter

Just a quick check in to let y'all know that my new baby nephew is doing great! He weighs just under 7 pounds, blonde, and looks just like his daddy.

Sorry for no pictures - yet. I'll get some posted as soon as my brother-in-law gets them downloaded. I self-treated myself very well to ensure my disease wouldn't kick in which would prevent me from taking pictures. I was so incredibly organized, I even remembered to pack the cord thingy that goes from my digital camera to the computer so I could quickly download pictures, keeping y'all completely informed in a timely manner of the new arrival. Only one problem - I forgot the battery for my camera. It's still sitting in the charger at home. No worries, the always prepared brother-in-law got some snaps!

Gotta get back to Miss High Falutin'. As we speak, she's packing her suitcase to come live with me. She's decided she's no longer the baby around here, and likes the farm better anyway. Right now she's in her closet deliberating over an Easter outfit to pack. Go figure ....

Easter is an important thing to be thinking about in September.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Just Call Me Aunt Mama

I’m off to meet my new nephew! He is scheduled to arrive Friday morning. We are all so excited! My sister and brother-in-law had decided they were through having babies, but someone else - the real Decider, decided otherwise.

He will become baby brother to two sisters, almost 8 & 5. You’ve met them before. The 7 year old is the studious, always wants to please one.

And the 5 year old is the high falutin’ one.

While Mommy is recuperating from surgery, Aunt Mama (that would be me), will be getting kids dressed for school, dropped off, picked up, and dinner on the table. I’m kind of nervous!

I’ll check back in with pictures of the baby soon!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Poncho needs your prayers it's true, but save a few for Lefty, too

I don't think I told y'all yet, mainly because we've been so bogged down with it I didn't want to have to deal with it while blogging, but we survived our first long weekend home with Poncho being confined inside the house. Poncho is our beloved Great Pyrenees, and Lefty's twin brother.

His primary, in fact his only role in life is protecting Hummingbird Farms. He's always on guard and takes his role very seriously in alerting us all if a bird is flying overhead or if a bullfrog is approaching the front porch.

In fact, it was while in full pursuit of patrolling the place that Poncho tore the ligament in his knee 2 weeks ago. We had choices to make - well, we were told we had choices to make but anyone that knows us knows it wasn't a choice at all. We went with what we considered the only option, and took Poncho to San Antonio to an orthopedic surgeon for surgery. Yes, there are specialists in veterinary medicine. In fact, this same surgeon has already performed 2 other surgeries on Poncho when he was only 6 months old. He grew so fast that his little bone plates couldn't keep up with his ever expanding weight. Bottom line, Poncho's value keeps going up. He'll be bionic dog with joints of steel when he recuperates from this last surgery.

It was quite a trying weekend with him in the house. Last weekend was our first weekend home with him, but it didn't count because he was still pretty worn out from the surgery and just wanted to sleep. But this weekend he's decided he's back to his old self and wanted to go back to work. His job of protecting his 6 kitties, his baby brothers Buckaroo and Lefty, and his girls is nothing he takes lightly. Let's just say that Poncho doesn't quite understand the term medical leave.

How nice it would be if he could talk and we could rationalize with him. There's no easy way of explaining to a 100 pound ranch dog that he's under strict orders to stay confined indoors, in a small space for 6 to 8 weeks, doctor's orders.

Needless to say, I haven't slept all weekend. For Poncho, however, having to stay inside wasn't going to keep him from alerting all wildlife, great and small, that he was in the house and standing guard. No sir. He has a job to do. He barked, and barked, and barked.

His twin brother, Lefty, is a complete opposite. Lefty is perfectly happy staying close to the house (prefers being inside the house) guarding me. Oh, and playing with the kitties and sleeping. Here he is with his little friend Danny.

It seems Lefty has decided that he would rather live the life of a cat. It's much more relaxing. After all, he's got Poncho patrolling the place and keeping the creepy crawlies away at night. In fact, Lefty is scared of the dark.

Poncho's doing really well, he got his staples out and Dr. Paul said he is healing nicely. Tonight however, I think I will sleep outside.

P.S. For those of you not of the Willie Nelson persuasion (not to overlook the great Townes Van Zandt), Poncho & Lefty is a great, great song. If was I more techy savvy, I would download it for you to listen....