Wednesday, July 30, 2008
(Vanessa and I checked this out at work today, since she and her husband Paul will be doing the chicken processing thing for the first time in a few weeks. We pretty much laughed our asses off after getting through the initial second or two of shock and disgust. LOL)
Let's see, within the last year she's gotten a new house, a new job she loves, a new husband (well, her first actually), a new desire to be incredibly adventurous and creative in her cooking, an ice cream maker and all the other cool stuff that comes with getting married, and not one but TWO new kitties! I'm sure I'm forgetting something!
And last nite she called to say she was in the process of signing papers for her new Honda Fit, which I knew she was going to get after much mad-hunting trying to find one in the local area, but that's not what she was most excited about. (Ok, let's be honest - she was BRAGGING - and it wasn't so much about the car!) The purchasing process for a car always takes awhile (credit check anybody?) - and even though they'd had dinner before going to test drive and buy the car, Andy and Sharon were there past 930pm. So when the Honda guys offered to take a dinner order for Sharon and Andy since they were running out anyhow, and even though she declined, when they mentioned Chipotles and chips, Sharon jumped on the chance for some chips and guac! (Or, as Sharon refers to the guacamole from Chipotles - crack. That's right, she's a guac junkie!)
So yeah, assuming all finished up well last nite Sharon, congrats on your new car and your chips and your guacamole. I think you're pretty much done getting cool new stuff, riiiight? I mean, what's left!? MORE KITTIES!?
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Nope, I'm not flexing for you - NOR am I being very masculine in the holding of these beans... I'll let the next harvesting grow a bit longer and we'll see how they taste- I just couldn't resist picking these. They were great cut into about 2-inch lengths, steamed briefly, and then fried with garlic and oil. MMM!
A pretty pretty boquet?
I sorta feel bad for Andy and Kelli, along with Kelli's parents who were visiting for the weekend. I'm sure things were relatively peaceful and quiet (as peaceful and quiet as a weekend of killing, scalding, plucking etc 34 chickens can be!), and then suddenly eight people show up in two cars - and trust me, we're a talkative bunch! But the folks at Bluebird Meadow Farms are a VERY hospitable group, and in no time we were seated with margaritas and lemonade and being fed great food, including some seriously kick-ass beer battered, homegrown peppers and onions dotted with small pieces of cheese (white cheddar?). Talk about some goooood stuff!
Here's Jesse chilling with a non-alcoholic drink (Remley Baby Girl #3 is due in late October!)...
Andy and Kelli's dog Watson is QUITE a character. He's a wirey little Border Terrier, and I DO mean wirey! I've never seen a dog with such coarse fur. But he's a lot of fun, and full of energy...plus really he's got some great tricks and is very well behaved.
Here's the nice, peaceful view of Andy and Kelli's backyard. Well, part of it...it goes on quite a ways!
Gotta say I never would've thought to try frying up anything in a cast iron skillet on the grill! Here's Andy cooking those great peppers and onions! We couldn't get enough of them, so he whipped up a second batch. MMMM GOOD!
Emma found out Watson likes chips and salsa...
Sarah: "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, with the prettiest golden hair...hate me because I can look this amazing and still chow down on a bowl of chips!"
Brett doesn't eat fried peppers.
Brett doesn't eat fried onions.
Brett DOES, however, eat fried potatoes!! Andy made sure everyone was accounted for, and fried up some of the taters he'd just dug up....GOOD STUFF! Luckily Brett was kind enough to share...
After nibblies we got a tour of the farm, the barn, and the property - starting with where Andy, Kelly and Kelly's really nice parents spent a lot of the weekend before we arrived - the chicken killing and processing area (aka the backyard). Here's the cones Andy rigged up for draining the blood from the chickens. While Andy shows us his most horrifying slaughter-pose, Sarah contemplates what the last few minutes of a chicken's life was like. LOL (If I remember right, she was giggling a bit while Sean flipped her upside down)
What's the most modern, high-tech way to get the feathers off a freshly killed and scalded chicken? You tickle them off!
No, really... Take a look!
(I couldn't convince Emma that this contraption was really a fun carnival ride - that all she had to do was crawl in and we'd turn it on. What it does is spins around rapidly, and those rubbery fingers remove all the feathers, most of which fall down the sides of the barrel. Would've been interesting to see it in action!)
No chickens were harmed during our visit. This was the most chickeny thing we saw (until we peeked in their fridge!):
And how do you effeciently heat a barn during those cold New York winters? You build one of these crazy ovens!
Out behind the barn Emma played on a pint-sized tractor... There's Andy and my brother wondering why the wheels on the tractor don't really work very well, and mom, as usual, is on the phone doing real estate stuff.
Dad and Andy are waiting for the the rest of us to pile in the back of the pick up to go on a tour of the property...
Brett just loooooves the sun!
I was hanging my arms out the pick-up, plucking grasses and wild carrot flowers for Emma and Sarah - I think that was the best part of the tour for them.
Brett, Sean and I just enjoyed the chance to sit and go for a nice slow ride through the fields.
Something Andy and Kelly have is a whole lotta nuthin'. Lots of space. And this is a really, REALLY good thing - be envious! I sure am! How beautiful is their "backyard"!?!?
Little house on the prairie!
Kelly, aka The Girl in the Kitchen (or just Kitchen Girl for short), was showing us Andy's Padington Bear boots.... I still think we need to paint some little butterflies and ladybugs on his nice yellow boots! ;-)
A woman after my own heart, Kitchen Girl has an amazing knack for packing A LOT into a dishwasher. I get lectured for this. We all joked about how my dad is incredibly meticulous with dishwasher loading, while we're all about getting as much in there as possible.
My mom's well known for her "dislike" of chickens, raw meat, raw chicken, salmonella, and anything that might be germy. We grew up thinking chicken was best marinated in bleach (I'm kidding!). Here's me terrorizing my mom with the half chicken Andy and Kelly sent us home with (and yes, there's also a yellow squash in the bag), and Kelly's providing some bleachy disinfectant to protect my mom! ;-) (And knowing mom, she'll make me take this picture down - so hopefully you'll see it before she does!)
[Sure enough - she had me take down the picture!]
Thanks again to Andy and Kelly for having all of us, for feeding us, for the great chicken (another post will show how I cooked it tonite!), and the really fun afternoon. It was also really nice meeting Kelly's parents. Turns out Kelly and her mom, Meme, are lurkers here - never commenting but keeping up on what's going on with us here...so it was a bit unnerving when they would comment on stuff going on in our lives, and yet I'd never even met Meme before! NOW I know how Finny must've felt recently... But seriously - I'm really glad we got to meet Kelly's folks, and got to see Andy and Kelly again, and will hopefully get to see them again before too long.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
We've been having fun since we got up here Friday afternoon. Mom and dad had a wedding to go to, so they left shortly before we got to the house, and then Sean, Jesse, Emma, Sarah, and baby-to-be showed up a couple hours later (they have a much longer drive, plus take lots of burn-off-some-energy stops for the girls).
These pictures are going to be in a hodge podge order - sorry...not working on my computer where I sort the stuff easier, scale it down, etc.
Mom and dad set up a spot in the basement for the girls to have fun in - and got ahold of a drum set and accordian. Uh oh! The threat is that we're going to all pack the drum set in Sean and Jesse's car before they head back to VA tomorrow. ;-) The girls LOVE their little rock band area of the basement...
There's been TONS of food - here's the gooseberry pie mom made. Thing is, it's hard to convince people they want to eat the pie when they know how tart the berries are. I've tried it before, and have no interest in eating it again. I like lemony-tart stuff, but gooseberries do NOT do it for me.
Yesterday afternoon it was time to dance in the yard and burn off some energy. Lance, the little boy across the street, came over to visit and do crafts with the girls, have dinner with us, and just have fun. Cute kid (but not as cute as my nieces!). He's a year older than Emma, and I keep trying to play matchmaker between the two of them. We're actually starting to think he has a thing for Jesse. Coo coo katchoo!
Here's Sarah running and dancing...
And Sean got plenty of exercise twirling all the kids around. It's no wonder he was popping ibuprofen this morning!
Jesse had the kids racing across the yard. Unfortunately Sarah just couldn't keep up - she never had a chance of winning. Sean decided to give her a helping hand. Or feet.
Me and Sarah having fun in the sun.
Brett and Sarah watching the planes fly by.
Sarah being contemplative?
While Sarah and Jesse took a nap, Emma was having fun with dresses, ribbons, etc and was instructing me on how to tie ribbons on her. Then we put a funny clip in her hair and decided she needed to do a fashion show. She actually came up with just about all of the poses - she's QUITE a natural. I think she'll grow up to be on America's Next Top Model...
But we did also watch the planes...
Making a heart...
In addition to planes and helicopters, there were also princesses...
Looks like I'd do well with a kid of my own. Kids make you cute!
Emma, Sean, Sarah and Jesse... (You'll notice there's no pics of mom - she doesn't like her picture on the web - especially not when I take them!)
Today we go out to Andy and Kelli's Bluebird Meadow Farms - they've been killing and cleaning chickens yesterday and today, so who knows what we'll see when we get there!?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Time for a stretch!
Seriously - this can't be comfortable...
How cute are these two - I caught them like this when I got home from work the other day...
No, he's not going to eat her - just time for a yawn...
...followed by some cuteness...
...and finally some cleaning.