Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You mean you can bake there?

Today I decided that my oven should be functioning as something other than storage for frying pans. David's birthday is today (number 58, but who's counting) so I thought I would make a pineapple upside-down cake. I haven't made one in years and when I took it out of the oven, I remembered why. This is the result I always get.

Oh, well, it will still be good with some vanilla ice cream melting on top.

Nathan has been asking for banana nut bread ever since he had some at Bob Evans a few weeks ago. I figured while I had the oven going, I would use up the ripe bananas. That was a much more sucessful outcome.
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We're going to the Hocking Hills this weekend with David's cousin Mark and his wife Cindy, who is also my best friend. We've rented a log cabin there the last three years. As it happens, it will also be my only vacation this year. Again, since I already had the oven at the right temperature, I made my dessert contribution to the weekend's feast. It's my mom's recipe for Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. She always made it every year for Christmas Eve when she had our family in for dinner. I usually make it as a layer cake, but a sheet cake is much easier to transport.

The kids and I carved the jack-o-lantern last evening. The boys drew the design on paper and I tried my best to recreate it. It's not half-bad, if I say so myself.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Make a wish

Last Sunday was Gaige's seventh birthday. We celebrated by taking the whole gang to The Maize at Little Darby Creek. There were lots of activities for the little ones, and they had a great time. Afterward, we went to Aimee's and had pizza and cake and presents for the birthday boy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


She sweeps with many-coloured brooms,
And leaves the shreds behind;
Oh, housewife in the evening west,
Come back, and dust the pond!

You dropped a purple ravelling in,
You dropped an amber thread;
And now you've littered all the East
With duds of emerald!

And still she plies her spotted brooms,
And still the aprons fly,
Till brooms fade softly into stars--
And then I come away.

~Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The autumn leaves of red and gold

My camera can't do it justice, but I couldn't resist more pictures of my backyard. The leaves are more beautiful this year than I've ever seen them and they just keep getting better. I don't know if the drought has made the colors more pronounced and richer than usual. It doesn't matter. I'm just enjoying their breathtaking show. The woods seem to be on fire,but it won't last. They're falling fast and when it starts raining tonight, it will bring down most of the rest.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Do you love Amish country?

Several family members and friends are enamoured of all things Amish. Personally, I can take them or leave them. I don't like decorating with Amish-type decor and I'm not trying to brag, but I'm pretty sure my cooking can stand up to their best. I have no problem with people who like these things. But, if you are one of the Amish culture admirers, are you also aware that they are some of the worst perpetrators of puppy mills?

On Saturday, I attended The National Quarter Horse Congress at the Ohio State Fairgrounds with visiting family. It's an annual event that showcases the quarter horse breed with competitions, demonstrations and vendors, lots of vendors. I kept seeing people walking around with puppies, either in their arms or on a leash. I asked one person if she had bought the puppy there. She replied that there was a large tent set up on the north side of the fairgrounds where you could get just about any breed of dog. I thought that was kind of weird, but whatever. Then I kept noticing young Amish folks walking around. Then it hit me! DING, DING, DING, DING! Puppy mill people! I was really upset, but we were leaving and I was dog-tired and didn't feel like getting into a confrontation. Of course, not all puppy mills are run by the Amish. There are lots of other greedy people out there, too.

Consequently, there is an editorial in today's Columbus Dispatch concerning puppy mills and the attempts to pass into law legislation that would create a division in the Ohio Department of Agriculture. This division would set and enforce minimum humane standards which would include adequate living space, food, water, daylight, time out of cages and medical care. There have been many attempts to pass this legislation and it has always been struck down by lobbyists who claim that it would hurt legitimate breeders. The bills have been changed to satisfy their demands and yet retain the essential elements needed to protect these innocent animals from being abused.

Please visit Jo Ann's pet rescue blog and find out what you can do to help get this bill passed before the current Ohio Legislative session ends.

I just keep thinking about all those little puppies and how many of them are going to end up in shelters, because the new owners made an impulse buy without doing any research about the breed they bought. Please contact your Ohio state senators and representatives and help regulate these operations by urging them to vote on House Bill #223 or Senate Bill #173.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The falling leaves drift by my window

Fall is here, but a strange one it is. We've had record drought and very warm daytime temperatures and nary a frost has been seen on the pumpkin. It did get below 40 degrees one night, so far. Finally a little rain this week, but only 3/4 inch, not enough to do much good. It did however bring down quite a few maple leaves in our backyard which made a pretty carpet for the chooks to explore.

Daphne, the one who was supposed to be a Buff Orpingtion but is a Buff Rock instead, is putting her best yellow foot forward.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cute babes

A few pictures of the cutie-pies who were visiting this weekend.

They tell me I'll live

The scary infection is almost gone. Just a little redness and soreness left in the middle of my arm. Whew! Dodged a bullet there! Unfortunately, the end result is that the family has come to an agreement that Cricket will have to be euthanized for the children's and my own protection. We just can't take a risk that she might do harm to one of the grandchildren or anyone, for that matter. Ironically, Cricket has been giving me extra loving head rubs ever since, but that doesn't change the fact that she can't be trusted, because she can change demeanor in a heartbeat. This is the third serious attack she has made in her lifetime, once on a friend of ours. It was only my intervention that kept David from wringing her neck on those other two occasions. I won't write anymore about it and I won't follow up on our decision. Let me just say that I won't intervene on her behalf this time.

Well, you weren't using it

The chickens have found a more convenient spot for roosting on these early fall days. Why is it more convenient? It's a lot closer to the place where they prefer to poop. The patio!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Once bitten, twice shy?

Or...... maybe not. You would think I would have learned my lesson back in the mid-90's when my cat Cricket, who is 14 years old now, attacked me for no apparent reason and bit me on the forearm twice with four puncture wounds. Miraculously, I didn't get an infection as cat bites are very toxic and nearly 50% percent of the time lead to bad infections, sometimes requiring hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. In the worst cases, it can result in surgery.

Cricket has always been a contentious cat and we've always protected the grandchildren and any other visitors from her. She's very unpredictable. I call her the "witch" cat. We've been having a problem with her since we got Angel, our white, completely deaf cat. Apparently, Angel doesn't understand the house rules that establish Cricket as the Queen Bee. She can't hear Cricket's hissings, spittings and various warnings, so she challenges Cricket, usually on a daily basis. Up to this point, I've been dealing with this problem by keeping Cricket sequestered in our bedroom. She eats her food there, sleeps beside me on the bed and even uses a litter box under the desk. During the day, she usually stays outside. Lately, I've been letting Angel go outside and experience the outdoors like the hearing cats.

Tuesday evening this became a scenario that had I foreseen the outcome, I wouldn't have intervened. The two cats were having a standoff, and it looked as if this time the fur would fly. Usually when they get to this point, I just pick one of them up and remove them from the situation. Unfortunately, I chose to pick up Cricket and obviously she was zoned in for the kill and wasn't about to let her mommy get in the way of taking out the interloper once and for all. So, she attacked me, again. She scratched and bit me several times. She is lightning fast, so she was just a blur. I slung her off my arm and kind of screamed, because it hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.

I rushed into the house and immediately started washing, washing, washing the wounds. Trying to get out as much bacteria as I could. I was bleeding all over the place, so I got an old tube sock and cut a place for my fingers and thumb and tried to get as much Neosporin on it as I could. I also took ibuprofen for pain and inflammation.

By Wednesday morning, my forearm was red, swollen, hot and tender to the touch. I didn't want to go to the ER and my doctor isn't in the office on Wednesday, so I decided to wait and see her on Thursday. By Wednesday evening, I knew that decision had been a mistake, because I had a red streak going up to my armpit. David made his nightly call (he's in Germany) and could tell right away that something was wrong, so I confessed my stupidity. He insisted that I go to the ER immediately. Now, that might sound like an easy thing to do. Just hop in the car and go. Well, I had three little grandchildren to think about and they hadn't yet been fed their supper. We struggled through chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (I ate a little broth and they ate very little) and then left for the Urgent Care Center. We waited there for over an hour and as soon as the doctor looked at it, she told me to go straight to the ER because I needed intravenous antibiotics. I protested because of having the kids with me, but she said she would call ahead for me and apprise them of my situation so they would take me in right away.

The phone call must have done the trick. As soon as I checked in at the front desk, they whisked us back to an exam room with a promise of popsicles for the kids if they were well-behaved. Speaking of the grandkids, they were very well-behaved, being alternately upset and shedding tears and extreme curiosity about the procedures being done to Grammy. We were there for about an hour with the I.V. taking about 30 minutes. By this time, I was really sick with flu-like symptoms. I was barely able to get the children home. We washed faces, brushed teeth and they were so worried about me they didn't protest when I told them I wasn't able to read bedtime stories or sing songs. As soon as they were settled, I fell into bed and waited till it was time for Daniel to be home at 11:30 so I could call. Then I still had to wait until Aimee got home from work at 1:30. She came and got the children and took them home and made sure I was okay.

I felt a lot better this morning, but the infection had spread beyond the marks that the ER doc had made and I was under orders to return if that happened. So back I went, this time sans grandchildren, and was put on another I.V. I'm also taking Augmentin by mouth. And now it's starting to hurt badly from all this typing, so I'll post a second installment when I'm feeling better.