Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The pitter patter of little feet

Well, maybe it really IS spring, after all...

The surest sign of spring at our house is this:

We've got 77 of the little fluffballs busily eating, sleeping, pooping, and peeping, happily at home in a recycled refrigerator box in our living room.

Fifty-two are Cornish X -

and there are 25 Rhode Island Reds.

They all hunkered down under the light for a few minutes to warm up,

then discovered the food.

They were actually supposed to arrive yesterday, but there was a glitch at the hatchery - the CornishX chicks were a day late hatching. The company said that they'd arrive either Wednesday or Thursday - probably Thursday.
But when I woke up this morning to the sound of rolling thunder and pouring rain, I had a feeling they'd be here today. Oh, yeah...

They're all warm and cosy, but I'm still dripping.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Because he's the Birthday Boy,

as is the tradition in my family, Madman got to pick the menu for dinner.

Beer battered fish. (He caught them himself.) (The fish, not the beer.) (Though he is the one who went to the store for beer, so I guess he did catch that as well.)
Homemade french fries. (Actually, I picked these - as long as I had the deep fryer fired up anyway, seemed like a good go-with.)
Maple-glazed carrots. (I would have gone lazy on the veg, and concurred with a previous administration but Madman really loves maple, and we need to finish last year's syrup off anyway.)

For dessert, he didn't have any special requests this year, so I made him an apple-upside down cake.
(BTW, follow the link - her picture is way better than mine...)
It was well-nigh a miracle, but I actually followed the recipe exactly as written, even down to cutting a circle out of parchment paper. (This is rare for me. I usually read a bunch of recipes, then wing it. Or start with a recipe and modify as I go.) It was worth it - the cake is delicious!
And the parchment paper is a wonderful neat trick. I've had some ...umm... interesting experiences with the flipping of an upside-down cake.
Like the time we ended up with peach inside-out cake...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gettin' Thrifty again...

Long time readers might remember this post - cuz I am all about the thrifty.

While thumbing through a recent KnitPicks catalog, I saw a great idea - a box/bag for holding circular needles. Perfect!
My intrinsic stinginess thriftiness dragged its little heels. Hmmm... I thought. $23? Pricey...

So, I got this:at the store where I work. After my discount, I paid about $3.20.

I've already stowed a few circular needles. Now I just have to finish a few things in order to reclaim the needles.
Is this the first step toward being organized?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Travel-Addled or Work-Addled... Addled is Addled

And it's kind of fun to say. Addled addled addled...

But, in a effort to get my brain settled and back on track, here's a few highlights from my sorely-needed mini-vacation:

First, after waaaaaay too much of this crap:

my color-and-flower-starved soul got to feast on this:

Azaleas were in bloom. Everywhere. Glorious mounds of honest-to-goodness flowers waving in the sunshine. I gaped, slack-jawed, in every direction. Of course, there were dogwoods and other things blooming, too, but azaleas... Bliss.

One of the things to love about Florida is a general quirkiness that pops up in businesses. (I guess when you're not wasting a huge portion of your life shoveling snow and battling ice, you have time to put a little whimsy into practice.)
There was the little eatery with a handpainted sign defining the levels of spiciness you could order - starting with 0 for no spice, 1- A little, 2 - A little more, and ranging up to 9 - Don't order this, and 10 - No refunds.
There was the pizza place with a funky art gallery on the walls, all manner of crazy stuff suspended from the ceiling, and an outdoor seating area that was a recycled VW microbus with a picnic table in the open rear cargo area. (The pizza was very good, btw.)
And there was the salvage store with tons of vintage toys and oddities for sale, that was decorated all over with everything imaginable glued or cemented to every available flat surface. The really fun parts were out in the parking lot, however. Like this fountain:

Trickling water spins the bicycle wheels with plastic cups and tin cans fastened to them, while the base is covered with every plastic/wood/metal object you can imagine.

We had a grand time playing a game with the kids that was a combination of Where's Waldo and I Spy. "Okay, I see a toaster. Who can find it?" and "Does anyone else see the blue squirrel?"

And this charmer of a windchime. Yes, those are hubcaps. Yes, it's honkin' huge...

We spent a wonderful day at Universal visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, wandering around Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.

(The fake snow on the roofs gave me pause, but I tried not to look at it.)
Lunch was wonderful at the Three Broomsticks - real food cooked in real ways! (Not the typical boiled hamburger we've grown to expect at theme parks. Hopefully it's an idea that will catch on...)

We wandered briefly through other parts of the park (Dr Suess!!) and I snapped this picture for Madman.

(He's a big Wolverine fan.) (And that's a total stranger in the lower right corner. He wandered in just as I hit the button.)

Here's just a small piece of a roller coaster we passed by. We were on a bridge over a stretch of water - the ride went under the bridge, around in whacky loops, and then back over the bridge and disappeared off in the other direction. I tried to get a picture of the cars as they went by, but they were going really fast. And there was a lot of screaming.

And there was yarn. My daughter and I went to her LYS and I oohed and aahed over lots of pretty stuff, and tried to remain firm in my resolve not to buy yarn. (I have yarn. I also have fiber that will be yarn. I don't need yarn.)
But the 4th time I picked this stuff up to look at it, I knew I was a goner. It's Marks and Katten Fame Trend - something I've never seen before. It's a single, and the colors are gorgeous, though this picture doesn't do them justice. (IRL, the colors are much deeper and richer. And apparently impossible to photograph...)

So I bought it. It's souvenir yarn. And it's sock yarn. Totally doesn't count as yarn.