Friday, June 29, 2007

Snake Bite Pot Roast

What's up with this title? Well, it has to do with my day, but we really didn't combine them. :^D

Our Wounded Injun

The first topic has to do with Abrial. On Wednesday, she went out in the morning with the other "girls" and when Morgan went to call them in, she tells me, "Abrial is hurt. She's limping." She comes in holding up her front paw, not bearing any weight on it. I feel all down her leg and on her foot, thinking perhaps she had a burr between one of her toes. I notice that one of her toes is swelling and I look at the paw pad and see a puncture mark. Ah ha! An insect sting! I call the vet and they said to give her Benadryl. I kept watching the paw and it wasn't getting any worse, but no better. There was no change on Thursday.

This morning, however, the toe was grossly swollen and I saw a hole on the top part of the toe. So I brought her immediately to the vet. The vet found TWO holes - puncture marks - snake bite! She was put on anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. I was given wound care instructions and we came home.

You can see one of the punctures on her toe. (Yes, that is pale green nail polish on her nails from her grooming last week - it matched her pale green bows with little froggies on them. They need to be redone, but nail polish remover would definitely NOT feel good right now.)

When we came home and I told my father-in-law, we had a joint effort of trimming the very large azalea bush where Morgan saw Abrial standing with her foot up. My nephew called it "The Salem Snake Hunt." :^D We gave that azalea bush quite the haircut, but found no snakes. We have killed young copperheads in our yard before, but have seen none this year. The vet also seemed to think it was most likely the bite of a young copperhead.

This is a picture from the internet of a juvenile copperhead - notice the carpenter ant next to him - he's a pretty small guy, but can still be nasty.

Abrial has been a real trooper, sweetly allowing us to look at her injured paw, wash and care for it, and she takes her medicine nicely and doesn't put up a fight.

Now after discussing such a fun topic and posting such a lovely picture, tonight's dinner was Creole Roast and Gravy, Brown Rice, Steamed Carrots, Grilled Red, White, and Blue Potatoes, and a cucumber, tomato, bell pepper salad. Dinner was a joint effort between my SIL, Susie, and me. I made the roast and brown rice. The grilled potatoes were leftovers from Susie's grilling last night, and she steamed the carrots and made the salad this afternoon. The whole family went next door to my in-laws to eat.

Daub Creole Roast

1 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons parsley
1 1/2 crushed bay leaves (or I just put two whole ones in when I add the broth)
1 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon cloves (this is the secret ingredient)
6 1/2 pound boneless beef round roast
2 tablespoons oil
1 quart of beef broth
1 cup sherry (tonight it was the rest of the bottle of Shiraz in the fridge - more than a cup I'm sure, but it needed to be used)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Mix the onion and the seasonings together. Wipe roast with damp paper towels. Make slits in the roast, going almost to the bottom, but not through the bottom of the roast, every 2" or so. Make sure the slits are large enough for your finger to fit - you'll need to stuff the onion mixture down into each slit. Push about 1/2 teaspoon of the onion mixture into each slit, pushing it down into the meat. I sprinkle the roast all over with a small amount of Kosher salt before browning to give it a nice crust - not too much salt because of the broth, though.

In hot oil in Dutch oven, brown roast on all sides. Add remaining onion mixture, broth, and sherry/wine. Roast, covered, for about 1 hour (I had two huge roasts and left it in there, covered, for about 3 hours.) Uncover and roast, basting every 30 minutes or so, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until roast is tender.

Remove roast to platter and let rest before slicing. Thicken broth with a few tablespoons of cornstarch that has been stirred into cold water (or whatever preferred method of thickening a gravy you like) and cook on medium heat on the stove until thickened. Pour over roast.

Sorry. No pictures. The vultures descended too rapidly. :^D

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Libby's Day of Beauty

Last night Brooke spent the night with a friend. So Libby was left without her mommy. She was a sad and lonely kitty and even submitted to Morgan "dolling her up." Reluctantly, of course. These were the poodles' bows from their grooming last week.

Can't you tell how much Libby is loving this? Or is it masked by the look of utter disgust?

And this is what Libby thought of the beautification process. Morgan, you should have known!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Going Vertical

Today's forecast was for rain. But since that was the forecast for almost every day for the last three weeks, I wasn't worried. About 2 p.m., though, the barn manager called me to tell me there was a very strong line of thunderstorms headed our way and I might want to go put up the horses.

We finished our Latin and left for the barn. On the way, it started sprinkling. When we turned on the road to go to the barn, the bottom fell out! Our horses were standing by the gate with their heads down and their backs turned to the blowing rain (that reminded me of a hurricane, actually) and were drenched! We brought them in and toweled them off, turning off their fans so they wouldn't get chilled.

When we went back to feed them supper, the side pastures were flooded! I guess that was the past three weeks' worth all rolled into one storm! You can see the water in the road in front of our house.

Speaking of the house, do you notice they are working on the roof? It's looking more like a real house every day! I've been climbing the ladder the framers made to get to the roof to get into my scrapbook room most afternoons (okay, not today) and I sit up there while the sun goes down, watching the birds eat the insects that come out at twilight. It's so exciting! Well, for me at least!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


It was just "girls" going to church today - the men folk were all gone - Joshua to the Navy, Steve working. We had a guest speaker, although he has spoken at our church a number of times. Pastor Stovall Weems from Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida spoke. Very good message - it was a "Reader's Digest" version of a series he did at his church on marriage. I want to see if the whole series is available for download or to buy. I'd love to hear the whole thing.

After church, us "girls" went to eat at a Mexican restaurant, then went shopping! We hit the sales at Bath and Body Works and Yankee Candle and Morgan scored two pairs of new sandals at a great shoe sale!

Then we dropped off Brooke's friend and headed to the barn. After taking care of the horses and coming home, I went over to the new house to do some clean-up. On the way over, this is what I saw.....

We have baby bunnies in our backyard! Okay, so they're pretty far back from the house, but still! We have seen them a couple of times, but we've never been able to get a picture. Until today! While they are not technically infant bunnies anymore, they are still very small. There are two that we have been able to see - we haven't seen a Mommy bunny though. I walked up and got pretty close, then quick as a flash he disappeared around a tree and my last shot revealed a blurry bit of white cottontail! Too sweet!

Friday, June 22, 2007

New Shoes, New Teeth, New Recipe

Today must have been a sleepy day for everyone. We only had 16 kids at early practice this morning! Mine were there - I had to do ribbons from yesterday's meet. Then I went to the barn because the farrier and the equine vet were coming.

I didn't get a picture of the old shoe and the hoof before it was cleaned out. Because we live in such a damp climate with very soft ground, the horses hooves need to be trimmed out before the shoes are put on. Thrush and white line disease (both fungal infections) are common down here because of the dampness. Here's Honeybee's cleaned, trimmed hoof. He is fitting the shoe on. The V-shaped dark thing in the middle of the hoof is called the frog.

The frog is an important part of the horse's circulatory system — it pumps blood up the horse's leg each time the horse takes a step, and the frog makes contact with the ground. The frog acts rather like the heart, in that blood flows down the horse's leg into the frog. The horse's weight then compresses the frog on the ground, essentially squeezing the blood out of the frog, pushing it back up the horse's legs.

The farrier is shaping the horse shoe with the hammer to fit Honeybee's hoof - he holds it up to her hoof and feels around the edges to make sure it is all smooth.

Now he nails it on the hoof. He uses six nails per hoof. The nails come out through the top of the hoof where they are bent over, then clipped off and filed smooth.

After Honeybee and Punkin got their full sets of new shoes and my horse, Lady, got her shoes on just the front, trimming only on the back (because she's a bad girl and kicks her stall - shoes would increase the stall damage and would come off frequently), Honeybee and Punkin had to have their teeth floated. They were given some sedation until they were woozy, then fitted with this appliance that holds their jaws open. Then their back teeth were filed smooth with an electric grinding machine.

Here's our wonderful equine vet working on Honeybee. Lady didn't need her teeth floated today. Honeybee and Punkin were quite woozy from the sedation even an hour afterwards. Needless to say, they stayed in their stalls today! But I'm sure they are going to feel much better with their "new" teeth!

This was our supper tonight - Shrimp Roban, baby green peas, and fresh red and yellow tomatoes. The tomatoes were so yummy! The pasta dish was creamy and delicious - yes, and fattening! Shrimp Roban is one of the signature dishes for Semolina Restaurant.

Semolina's Shrimp Roban

1 pound fresh shrimp (I seasoned mine well and sauteed it in a bit of olive oil for about 3 minutes)

2 cups Roban sauce (below)

1 ½ pounds cooked pasta

¼ cup chopped green onion

Heat sauce just to a simmer in a large sauté pan. Add shrimp and cooked pasta and toss to coat in sauce. Cook only long enough to heat the pasta. Garnish with chopped green onion.


¼ cup butter

2 tablespoons garlic (I used about 7 large cloves)

1 cup chopped green onions

1 quart heavy cream

1 tablespoon blackened redfish seasoning

Place butter, garlic and green onion in a sauce pot and cook just until the garlic releases it flavor. Add heavy cream and cook until reduced by nearly one-half. When reduced, the sauce should heavily coat the back of the spoon. Add blackened redfish seasoning and adjust with more spice to taste.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Up On the Housetop

Today was another busy day. I dropped the poodles off early at the groomers. A little after noon, we left the house and didn't return until 8 p.m. First we let the horses out, then we went to a swim meet. The girls did very well and our team won the meet. I had to pick the poodles up from the groomers before the meet ended, so they spent the last hour and a half under the desk in the pool office at my feet while I finished scoring the meet. While many people think scoring is the ultimate job because I sit in an air conditioned room rather than sweltering in the sun, it's really a pain, not to mention the fact that I only saw my girls race once each today - they swam in five different events. I'd really rather be a timer. Oh well.
When we arrived home, the sun was setting over our new house where I discovered a surprise.....they've started framing my scrapbooking room!!! This is perhaps the part of our house I'm most excited about (okay, after doubling the space and the fact we'll have more than one bathroom). The poodles were even excited!

Here's a picture of the interior of the house. I think it looks neat with all the boards every way - it reminds me of TinkerToys!

Steve was the brave soul who first ventured up to the second level to see the scrapbooking room. Not bad for a guy who's afraid of heights. :^)

He tried to talk me into it, but I was afraid. Morgan wasn't and she went up there. I decided not to be outdone by a 10 year old and (with the help of a taller ladder) I went up to see as well.

I'm so excited! It will have a full bathroom and a little kitchenette, so it's like a little separate apartment. I think I might have to put a futon or a day bed up there for all night scrapping! I just can't wait!!!

This side will adjoin the attic space over the garage. There will be a door in this wall as our attic access for the whole house.

This is from the center towards the front of the house. You can see some of the ceiling joists for the house in the background. The little partitioned off part is the bathroom.

This shot was taken from the far corner of the kitchen part. With the exception of the bathroom (obviously), everything will be open.

Morgan took this shot from my scrapbooking room looking out over the land behind our yard. Beautiful shot! Can you see the Spanish moss dripping off the tree in the background? I love Spanish moss, but there's not as much around as there was when I was a kid. It is technically an "air plant" rather than a moss and it is very susceptible to air pollution.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Silly Girls

Last evening I had four giggly girls at my house. Both Brooke and Morgan had friends spending the night. It tends to work better that way. I've found three is NOT a good number when it comes to sleepovers. Morgan's friend spent the day yesterday, stayed the night, and went home after swim practice. Brooke's friend was picked up late yesterday, stayed the night, and spent today with us. Morgan went home today after swim practice with a different friend. Whew! Such a busy social calendar for one so young!

Brooke and her friend, C., watched Bridge to Terebithia while making duck tape purses and wallets. After the creative burst had played itself out, the time for beautification had arrived. Here they are with their various beauty treatments. I love the smiles!

"A cheerful friend is like a sunny day spreading brightness all around."- John Lubcock

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

LSU Overload

First, the important news. We heard from Joshua. We had spoken with him last evening and, while he was nervous at first, he felt better when he saw one of the guys he met at MEPS. He opted to stay at the hotel while all the other recruits hit Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I was very proud of his unpopular choice. Hurray for you, Josh!

He called tonight and, although I didn't get to talk to him, Brooke relayed the message. It went something like this: "Heyitsmedonthavemuchtimeiloveyoualliarrivedsafelycallyounextweekgottagobye" and lasted all of about 10 seconds. But it was better than nothing.

We live in an area saturated with LSU fans. During football season, people have little purple and gold flags on their cars, tiger tails on their bumpers, pay for special personalized LSU license plates. Then there is LSU basketball in the winter and LSU baseball in the spring and summer. It's never ending.

Not being sports fans, Steve and I really don't understand all this madness. People schedule WEDDINGS around games. Pay astronomical prices for tickets. Fly all around the country to see every game. Get to the games six hours early just to BE THERE. These fans are NUTS!

Some people go so far as to paint their houses LSU purple. These flowers are our LSU fan neighbors. LSU colored flower beds are a common site in this part of the country.

Monday, June 18, 2007

My Son, the Sailor

Well, not yet, technically. Joshua left today for Navy basic training in Great Lakes, IL. He left around 2 p.m. Before that, we got him his favorite lunch (Raisin' Cane's Fried Chicken) and he said goodbye to everyone - even his kitty.

I was okay today. Really. Yesterday I was quite the emotional wreck, but today I was okay. No waterworks whatsoever. Morgan made Joshua cry, though. Just for a minute.

Here's what our house looks like as of today.

We had a juicy watermelon before supper (yes, before). Here it is surrounded by the cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes grown in my friend's garden.

Happy Father's Day!

Steve got the first relaxing day in quite a while today. We did start the day with a little work - he mowed the ditch bank, which really didn't take too long, and I went over to the new house and picked up around the construction site. Then we got baths and went to church, then out to eat. Steve had a yummy steak at one of our favorite local restaurants. For supper, we went next door to Steve's parents' house for a meal with the whole family. Before supper, though, we had a little beauty shop in the backyard.

About two weeks ago, Joshua decided since he was going to be losing his hair anyway (in Navy boot camp), he might as well have some fun with it. He had his friend use my poodle clippers and give him a Mohawk! He asked me today to shave it off and I told him I would, but beforehand I wanted him to spike it up if he could so I could take some pictures. He said he would, but he'd need some help. His sisters were in on the act, blow drying and hair spraying while he put in some hair glue. Here were the (pretty scary) results.....

Josh walked over to show everyone. His dad was so proud. ;^) He looked like one of those people who would scare small children while walking down the street.

He usually just wore his hair like this.....

Still unusual, but not nearly as scary as the spiky do. After he washed all the stuff out of it, I started the haircut. Using the poodle clippers. :^) Note that Joshua is wearing his good jeans.

Look at all that hair!

There's my cleanly-shaven young man! Much better!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Swim Meet Today

Today was the first real swim meet of the season for our team. It was VERY hot and between our team and our opponent, there were at least 300 swimmers, each swimming three events. We thought this meet would never end.
Here's Morgan, getting ready for her event. The goggles and swim caps make the kids look quite bug-like, don't you think? But Morgan is a cute bug!

I was busy running back and forth, trying to get parent volunteers organized, find kids for different events, give information to new parents, etc, in addition to scoring the meet. Steve decided to pick up the camera. I told him to take pictures of all the swimmers and I'd share them with all the parents. So he did just that.

One of Brooke's friends said, "Don't look now, but there's this man who keeps taking pictures of everyone." Brooke sighed and said, "Yeah. That'd be my dad." She kept telling him to STOP TAKING PICTURES, but he didn't listen.

Frantic Friday

We have been so busy this summer. Today was no exception - we were up and out of the house to feed the horses Brooke has been "horse-sitting" while their owners were on vacation, leaving before 6 a.m. so we could make it to the YMCA for 7 a.m. swim practice. We had loads of errands to run today and spent most of the day on the road. Here's the picture of how the house is coming!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Scenes from Thursday

These cat tails grow on the side of the road near the barn and I just love them. I've been wanting to take some pictures of them.

More progress on the house - it's almost completely framed up! Hurray!

Supper tonight was one of those "whoops" things - we were going to have a quickie meal of frozen cheese tortellini and tomato sauce, but we were out of jarred sauce. Heavy whipping cream to the rescue! I whipped up an impromptu alfredo sauce, put fresh baby spinach leaves in the colander before draining the tortellini, and paired it with green and wax beans that I tossed with browned butter and spicy walnuts. The tortellini with the alfredo sauce was quite tasty - I may need to repeat this "whoops."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Warm Wednesday

My poodle-grooming-room and the shop are framed. This is the room behind the carport.

Our air conditioning went out today as well. It was a little warm inside. It was actually cooler outside because you could catch a breeze. The whole outside unit needed to be replaced. Joy.
Stuart, stretching out and trying to catch a breeze.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A View From My Window

On my SHS email group, another blog challenge was posted. This was one a view from my window. While this is not TECHNICALLY from the window, it is the view I'm most often looking at these days - the view from my back door window (I took the picture right outside the door to avoid glare). You can see the beginnings of my house peeking through the trees!

Now, in a few months, THIS will be my view. :^D I can't wait! This would be the view from the place I'm looking forward to the most - my bathtub!

And below will be the view out my bedroom window! I have a chair there now and last evening I just sat in the peace and quiet (and cool, since our a/c went out and it was cooler outside than inside) and enjoyed what will one day soon be the view out my window.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Undercover Floor

Today the girls' and I went to a horse show across the Mississippi River while Steve stayed at home to neutralize the floor. The girls had a pretty good day - Morgan got second in poles and Brooke got third in barrels. Both won money to help pay for their entry fees - that's always good!
When we returned and settled the horses, I helped Steve cover the clean, dry floor. First we covered it with Tyvek, then with brown paper. Here's what our floor looks like now!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Before Going Undercover

The scoring has been finished and the staining is done as well. Not that it was easy. Steve had a bit of a problem with the sprayer (the hose blew off, spewing stain in a heavy stream). The lady at the store said it was fixable - and that even the professionals have accidents like that. Last week, one of their best floor guys had a sprayer literally blow its top, sending a geyser of spray that necessitated them replacing the home owner's ceiling. Knowing even the pros have things like this happen made us feel a wee bit better.
Today after the girls' first swim meet, we picked up some muriatic acid, a deck brush, and the neutral pH cleaner. I practiced with the muriatic acid on the "accident" that got on the back patio. It faded it and would eventually get it all up, but I didn't want to waste daylight for that. I cleaned the darkest patches of stain with the muriatic acid to fade them, then cleaned the whole slab again, THEN put down the second stain color.
It was hot work, but I think we will be pleased with the results. Here is the unsealed floor. The sealer will put the gloss on it, but for now it has a matte finish. It'll be sealed much later - we need to neutralize it and cover it so the framers can start on Monday.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Are You My Mother?

My girls kept telling me that a small bird had made a nest in one of Nana's hanging baskets and laid three eggs. They check once a day after they saw the mother bird fly away so they wouldn't make her mad. When they were sitting in the chairs by the front door, she'd yell at them and swoop down to "scare" them if she wasn't already on the nest. Two of the eggs hatched a few days ago and Brooke finally got a picture. Their little fuzz is coming in, so they don't look quite so naked. Still ugly. But they'll improve with age. :^)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Scoring the Floors!

Today Steve started scoring the floor. When we got home from the horse show, he had part of the lines cut in one direction.

He did both directions in the laundry room just in case it rained and washed away all the chalk lines he and our hardworking nephew, Zac, had measured and popped.

Nana walked over to see the progress. Morgan offered to give her a ride back on the 4-wheeler and, to our surprise, Nana accepted! This is the first time I can ever remember her riding a 4-wheeler!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Crack Den

My husband is working in a crack den. Literally. Some people bought this house that was formerly a crack den and hired him to completely remodel it. It really doesn't look too bad from the front, but the inside was a mess. It's not too bad now, they say. The owners filled three of those large construction site dumpsters to overflowing with just the junk in the inside. Yuck.

It's really a nice house in a nice neighborhood. I'm sure all the neighbors are glad the "business" was shut down. The wife is wheelchair bound and so much of the downstairs is being remodeled to accommodate her. Doorways are being widened. Steve has already talked to a cabinet maker about having them custom built. The cabinet maker said he will come to her house and measure her sitting in her chair so the counters will be the perfect height for her. I'm sure she will love that.

Here's just a little bit of the mess inside. When the girls and I arrived this morning, all of this (along with everything else in the kitchen and laundry room) had been torn out and brought outside. The girls and I worked upstairs, that's in relatively good shape. The girls cleaned the walls, I removed old hardware from around the windows, killed wasps, went downstairs and filled three large garbage cans full of sheetrock and trim moulding that was torn out of the office. I also removed all the carpet tack strip from the office and completely scrapped it out and vacuumed with the shop vac. Whew! I was so tired by the time I got to the barn, I could hardly lift the fork to clean the stalls.

Then we went to our lot and played with concrete stain on the little practice square. We tried eight different combinations with three different stains. Before the sun went down, we scrubbed it with baking soda and water to neutralize the reaction. Since it was wet, I didn't take any pictures. We'll get some tomorrow and decide which color(s) we like.

As for me, I need a good bath and I'm going to hit the hay. Horse show tomorrow for the girls and me. Steve will be scoring the concrete. When this house is finished, we're going to need a LONG vacation!!!