It’s Time to Play Guess WTF This Is!

apple treeYes, I know this is an apple tree. That’s not the mystery object though they are a little mysterious in that the tree used to have only small green crabapples and now has decided to go whole hog this year and become a fully fledged, actual apple tree. I even made apple sauce out of a few of the big juicy ones to try them. Delicious!

They are rather like Macouns or Cortlands, but I am calling them simply “those darn apples.” Because now the whole ground is littered with them. I can’t stand waste, but who can eat that many? I put a bag in my pantry a week ago. Those apples are still waiting to be peeled and turned into pie. They have become a tremendous chore weighing on me. And the wasps and bees are out there buzzing around the ones that are rotting on the ground. Even the dog has taken to snacking whenever he wants. It’s apple madness!

wtf1Meanwhile, speaking of the dog, the other day he was barking his “I’m a little frightened of something new where it shouldn’t be” bark. I know the bark well. If a bag blows into the back yard, I hear it. If I move a garden chair and he doesn’t know about it and sees it at dusk, lurking out there by the darn apple tree, I hear it. God forbid a trash can rolls somewhere strange. Bark, bark. I hear it.

So, in the early morning, with my first cup-of-tea-stroll around the yard before I start writing, I figured his bark indicated another nothing burger, as they say. As I got closer to the dog, barking and doing his little hopping movements of WTF, WTF, WTF, and saw the strange entities at the far end of my yard, I slowed down. What the heck? Were they hedgehogs curled up sleeping? Did I want to get closer? Maybe I should let the dog handle it after all.

wtf2Tell me if you can guess WTF this is. I have taken the photo next to a tennis ball so you can see the size. It was solid and heavy. I chucked its three compadres into the pond. (Sorry ducks and turtles, hope you’re ok with that.) I did NOT touch them with my hand. And the dog was perfectly right to bark his frightened bark because they hadn’t been there the night before. Twelve hours and, bamn, four of these crazy things. Never before and not since!

Next post, we’ll see who knows what they are, or I’ll tell you. Potatoes, maybe?

Keep guessing. Happy Fall!

Sabby Cat on Stone Buddha, Just Because

Happy Tuesday! I simply feel like sharing this photo of my cat when she was younger. So here it is:

Sabby Cat on Stone Buddha Statue
I don’t think the Buddha minded at all. In fact, Sabby, the cat, has grown quite a similar belly to the revered enlightened one since this image was taken. 🙂 I wonder if rubbing Buddha’s head had anything to do with it.
sabby on her back

My Backyard in Spring

“Well worth waiting for.” That’s what I think each morning when I go out in my backyard in the springtime and see the abundance of wildlife that has hatched or bloomed. While I have been too soft-hearted to snag a tulip (can’t decide which one to kill and bring inside), today, I did break off a small piece of my recovering lilac bush — recovering because last year it was covered in a wild vine that chokes whatever plants it grabs hold of. With the vines removed last summer, the lilacs had a chance to bounce back this May, albeit a little stumped. Now, their perfumey fragrance is permeating my home office.

At the edge of my property, there is a pond fed by a small river. It is dammed at one end. It is the perfect breeding ground for many water fowl, also turtles and beavers.  This morning, I saw a mother duck and four babies, small as bathtub rubber duckies, swimming with her. (I’ll get a photo next time.) Also, a Canadian goose landed (though I can’t say for sure it is from Canada as I have not asked for its papers). We’ve had a number of geese, but this one landed alone on the water and proceeded to honk and honk, more loudly than my dog barks. I am 100 percent sure it was calling for its mate. I hope the other goose finds its way over. (Of course, in these photos that I just ran back outside to take, you can’t actually see any animals, but they were all there at 7 a.m. I swear!)

I also watched a beaver swimming by. They look so much happier this time of year than when they emerge from under the ice and snow through a hole and skitter around on the top of the pond as they do in the winter. There are also blue heron, usually two, though as with the goose, I saw only one recently. If it sees me or my dog, it flaps over to the other side of the pond, looking rather like a mini-pterodactyl. The other cool creatures to watch fly are the mallards. They launch themselves from the bank on the other side, fly for a few hundred yards, quacking noisily, usually in pairs, and then they land, feet first with a massive splash. The other day, two pairs of ducks seemed to be fighting for superiority over the pond, chasing each other in flight and dive bombing whenever one landed. I don’t know which pair triumphed.

Meanwhile, I have a couple domesticated companions with me at all times.

Perry, the Wonder Dog, loves to play ball and for the most part ignores the wilder creatures. (Here is a video of him in slow motion — just because!)

Sabrina on tree.Sabrina, the cat, always comes out, too. We have a fallen tree in the yard that has been there since a large storm a couple months ago, and because she is not the most agile creature, the horizontal tree has been her first experience with “climbing.” She loves this maple; it’s perfect for sitting in the sun or trimming her own claws with fervent scratching.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games out there in the yard. I spend a lot of time decapitating dandelions with Perry’s ball thrower. Best garden tool ever!

 

Now, back to work on this perfect spring day!

Happy Easter, 2017!

I simply want to wish my fellow human beings and animal friends a very wonderful Easter Sunday.

Now, here’s a sweet treat (and naturally gluten free). My gentleman friend (GF) and I made a Martha Stewart recipe for coconut almond macaroons. We added chocolate chips and they came out quite delicioso!

Coconut Almond Macaroons

The very simple recipe:

1 cup natural cane sugar

3 large egg whites

3 cups unsweetened shredded cocounut

3/4 cup sliverred almonds

1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2)Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a medium bowl. Stir in coconut, almonds, vanilla, salt, and, if desired, chocolate chips.

3)Drop the coconut mixture by 2 tablespoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

(I used a giant cookie sheet and this made about 24, but you may want to use two sheets.)

4)With moistened hands, squeeze each mound tightly together to form a compact ball.

5)Using a spatula, flatten one side at a time to form a pyramid shape. (I didn’t have the patience for this, but my GF did.)

6)Bake in oven until golden brown on bottoms and edges, 15 – 18 minutes. (Switch baking sheets top rack to bottom rack halfway through if you use two sheets.)

7)Transfer sheets to wire racks and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer macaroons to racks, and cool completely, about 20 minutes. (No, we didn’t wait that long before tasting.)

ENJOY! Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.