Monthly Archives: December 2015

More Dead Birds – Bullfinch

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My best mate at work shouted for me to come see something. 

He’s the same lad that calls me to come see all of the big spiders, weird bugs, and my last dead bird: the stunning kingfisher.

It’s nice when someone knows your interests. Or it might be because he likes it when I pick them up and gross out all the other guys. I have to admit, I find that amusing, too. 

This time it was a bullfinch.  
Oddly enough, this one was in nearly the same spot (outside one of our big roll-up doors) as Mr Kingfisher. I don’t get it. Yet again there was no sign of a broken neck or any other injury or illness.

  
Poor wee thing. I knew it was a finch, from the beak, but had to bring him home for a positive identification.

  
Such stunning colours. This is a male, by the bright plumage, and adult by size. I can’t imagine why these birds are dying right outside of our warehouse. We don’t create any heat or chemical output, and even if we did have windows (we do not) their necks aren’t broken.

  
There is even evidence on his beak of a recent feeding. I’m baffled as to what is killing these birds, and why. He’s still a beauty – it could again be old age but twice in a few months? Seems odd. 

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Deth Nog 2015!

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Every time I type it that way, I feel like I’m talking about a bad movie – Death Race 2000, now that I think about it. But I’m not posting about racecars, and David Carradine isn’t involved. It’s all about the Nog, baby!

Every year I make at least one batch of seriously potent eggnog. It’s my dad’s recipe, so it has to be good – and strong! 

Half the fun of making it is drawing on the jug(s). This tradition started a long, long time ago when my mother accidentally put Nog into her morning coffee instead of milk. I sure hope she wasn’t planning to drive that morning!

It seems I didn’t post this last year, which is odd, because I did in 2013, 2012, and twice in 2011. I’m reposting the recipe below, but the links are fun if you want to see the “art” on each year’s jugs.

Since I forgot, this is last year’s design. I used some super-quick photoshop to remove our real names from the middle stripe of the baubles, so it’s a bit sloppy looking:

  
Okay, a lot sloppy-looking!

And this year, back to traditional skulls:

  
And on to how to pleasantly poison yourself! This is NOT low fat, NOT low calorie, and NOT virginal! This year I used Jameson Whisky, Hennessy, and… cheap supermarket rum. 

As always, I have both a US and Not-US version.

US version:

(need an empty 1 gallon milk jug)

1 cup (1/2 pint) each of:

Brandy

Blended whiskey

Rum (not light or dark* – do not use spiced rum, yuck!)

4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course

2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)

1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)
Beat eggs until smooth.

Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!

Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.

Stir until the sugar melts.

Add nutmeg and cinnamon.

Pour into empty 1 gallon jug, top up with milk until jug is full.

Shake well!
Not-US Version: Okay, same thing but converted into metric! Doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect, it’ll be tasty.

(need two empty 2-litre milk jugs)

237ml each of:

Brandy

Blended whiskey

Rum (not light or dark* – do not use spiced, yuck!)

4-6 whole eggs – depends on how big they are, of course

473ml heavy cream

4 to 8 tablespoons sugar (I think I hit about the middle between the two)

1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg (may need a bit more, I didn’t have the measure written down! Dad said start with 1/4 and add more if you think it needs it. I’ve used as much as whole teaspoon of each and it was fine.)
Beat eggs until smooth.

Add cream and a bit of the milk, doesn’t matter how much but not TOO much just yet!

Add all the alcohol. Add the sugar.

Stir until the sugar melts.

Add nutmeg and cinnamon.

Pour into empty jugs, try to put the same amount in each, oh how fun, top up with milk until jugs are full.

Shake well!
* I can’t find ‘not light and not dark’ rum here; I just use the white or clear rum. 

Please let me know if you try it! 

Climate Change

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Climate change is evident in my garden this year. 

Earlier in the week, I saw a report of blooming daffodils in Co. Clare, Ireland, and in Cheshire, UK. 

So, I went out to where mine are planted…

  
This can’t be good! 

What will happen to these tender shoots when a frost comes? If a frost comes. Am I going to have to learn to crochet and make them little jackets?

For comparison, this photo was taken February 1 this year:

  
Tonight it is 9C, or 48F. Yesterday, at 3 am (according to hubby, I was asleep), it was 14.6C or 58F! Crazy altogether, and worrying for the health of my garden next year. 

Anyone else having unseasonable weather for late December? 

December Blooms

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Take two

Well! I still have flowers. The pics below are just the ones from out back of the house. I meant to get pics from out front when the light hit there, but by then it was raining again.

The lilies are all gone, and the tigridia too of course. I’m still waiting on the tiggies to open their seed pods so I can collect this year’s bounty! The yellow iris already ‘popped,’ so if you want seed for those, let me know.

It’s been very wet – the whole country is flooded (we are okay) – but warm. We’ve had morning frost once, afternoon snow once; and last Saturday, I awoke to an unexpected snowfall:

  
It was funny to me that I opened the blinds and said, out loud, ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ 

An hour or so later I heard hubby get up, open the blinds upstairs, and say: ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ Ah, we do think alike on occasion!

So, back to the flowers. I still have a weather-worn white rose:

  

The new chocolate orange rudbeckia (from seed this year) is happy enough, if bedraggled and twisty.

  
The other, older rudbeckia are smaller this year. But still I like them. 

   
 
Yes, there are stray dog hairs attached to most of my flowers. The back garden is also her toilet, so … unavoidable!

This is one of my cyclamen, which are meant to bloom in the winter. I kept this one inside all last year, but it got cyclamen mites so out it went, and away from the rest which are out front. I did tone down the pink in this, it was blindingly vivid.

  
I always forget what this is. I have two now….  

I’ve saved the best for last – there are gazania still in bloom! 

  


As the gazania are new to me this year, I’ve been wondering the whole time if they can over winter in our super-wet, windy, but not terribly cold climate. So far so good!

Cat Butts Catbutts – Where? Here!

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I did a post back in November 2012 about things you could actually buy that feature cat-butts. A lot of the things I featured are still for sale. Original post is here: Catbutts, catbutts, everywhere! 

So why am I talking about Catbutts again? Not just because I see them hourly, but because if you remember that post, or have a look now, I was rather sad that my mom’s beloved sweatshirt wasn’t being made anymore. Not that I could find, anyway.

Well! I was wrong, and somehow my old post attracted the attention of the artist. I’ll apologise now, for not doing this sooner as she left two comments on that original post saying, “I’m still here, I made this!” but my brain is like a watermelon – squishy and pinkish, and full of seeds. 

Um. I’m not very good at analogies. 

I’m a bit forgetful, how is that? 

Let me finally rectify this. The shirt is still available, in many colours, at Meow.com – and it is as fabulous as ever. Or better – the full colour one is very impressive! 

  (Photo from meow.com website)

Anna, Head Cat Herder and artist/designer: I’m sorry again for not doing this sooner. At least you know someone out there still has one of your shirts from way back before the Internet even existed. 

My mom LOVED hers. Thank you for making her giggle so much.

Buy one for your loved one with a silly sense of humour – you won’t regret it!