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Guacamole & Bubbles

Been a very quiet week. Seems I hurt my back moving some of the rocks, etc.  in the yard trying to clean up, so been taking it pretty easy this week. ‘Taking it easy’ translates to looking at more stuff on the Internet.  Some of which was entertaining, some was useful . . . sort of.


Read an article on how to keep guacamole from discoloring. Guess we’ve all heard the ‘fix’ of leaving the seed in it. Not sure if that one really works.   This suggestion was to spray the top of the finished guacamole with the spray oil you have on hand and then covering with plastic wrap that has been smushed down on the top .  Seems creating a barrier so that the guaca doesn’t get any air on it keeps it from turning brown.  Makes sense.


My favorite guacamole recipe

  • 1 mashed ripe avocado
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
  • salt to taste

Mix, chill and enjoy.

Note: You can always add in cilantro or extra onion to suit your taste.



Next thing was to read up a bit on canola oil. (I do NOT like canola oil for anything.)  I’d read sometime in the past about a variety of symptoms that can  be had from eating canola.

After searching around this time, found an article that is pretty good.  You can read more at this link.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s not all it’s touted to be.



So when I saw that my peanut butter had canola (rapeseed) as the first ‘oil’ ingredient, knew it was time to change brands. On checking the labels of the top peanut butter brands at the grocery, was surprise to see that all the peanut butters have canola/rapeseed oil !!  So we’ve now switched to a natural peanut ‘butter’.  Not peanutbutter_2016quite the same, but I’ll do without peanut butter  before I’ll eat canola.



Saw lots of really cute animal videos . . . many of which brought a smile to my face. Never knew animals could be so funny.  Have to say this one of a pup blowing bubbles in his water bowl was my favorite.





Timber !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Well, about two weeks behind with  this post.  But then things never seem to go as planned.  Sigh.  We woke up last weekend to find our big, beautiful oak tree in the front yard  had fallen over and was laying on the house and deck !!    It was one of those times when it takes the brain a few minutes to process exactly what you are  seeing . . . and then  finally realizes it is for real.  Kind of like the time I found a snake curled up in front of the clothes dryer.  Total disbelief.







According to the tree man, this particular species of tree (Post Oak) becomes weak and can have what he calls a ‘heart attack’.  So thankful we weren’t under it when it fell.  I’d been out there the whole previous day working in the yard and around the pond.


tree_2Have to think it must have fallen during the night, but strange thing,  we didn’t hear it.  Not one sound.   Bear didn’t even bark.  Tree man said sometimes trees like this just lay down rather than fall – so that might account for it.  Heaven knows there hadn’t been any heavy rain or high winds that might cause it to fall.


Again, so lucky we weren’t hurt because when it fell, it was pretty much on the deck with some of the limbs on the corner of the house where the bedroom is.  Could have been a disaster if the corner of the house had been crushed.  Some of the upper limbs must have been 3 feet in diameter.  These larger limbs tree_1acted like pillars when it fell holding the tree up at about a 45 degree angle.



Once the tree people got here, it only took them about 2 days to get it cut down and moved to the field where they burned it. They were so careful.  Didn’t do any further damage and even managed to save my poor little pink dogwood tree.  If trees have feelings, know it must be in shock.


Now that the tree has been removed, we’ve been spending time trying to clean up some around the pond and the crushed portions of the fence before the construction people come to make repairs.


tree_5Fortunately the pond wasn’t punctured, nor was the filter damaged. But, my fish did not make it. 🙁  So taking this opportunity  to clean out the pond (full of dead leaves), the filter and make some changes.   Our cement figure – ‘Huck’ – survived with minor dings, so will try to fix him up, give him a new coat of paint and put him back to fishing when everything is complete.


Have to say Bear is missing his ‘water fountain’ – but we turned the pump off since the tree man said the water was full of some sort of oak ‘toxin’ and that was what caused the fish to die.




Lots of work to do, but thankfully the weather is clear, cool and dry. Hope to get it finished in a couple of weeks.  Just keeping the aspirins, muscle rub and heating pad handy.







Ranger Cookies & Pests

snakeskinThis last week seems to have been the invasion of the ‘pests’ – some more undesirable than others.


First surprise was when I found a discarded snake skin in one of the bushes in the front yard. It was intertwined in the branches . . . would guess to help in the shedding process?  Definitely not what I like to see in the yard.


Next had a lizard sleeping on the gate to the back porch. Little guy was all snuggled up on the top wire rail.  Tried taking a picture,  but unfortunately,  it didn’t turn out, so, have Bear in front of gate.


backwiregateHave to think that like a bird, whose feet tighten on a branch when they are sleeping, lizards are similar in that he had a death-grip on the wire . . . front and back legs totally wrapped around the wire.   Had his eyes shut and didn’t move even when I got really close.  He was gone in the morning and haven’t seen him sleeping there again.


Last critter to make themselves at home was the little tree frog that frequents the back porch. When I let Bear out  last night,  spied the little tree frog.  He had attached himself to lower portion of the back door – inside the house !!  Got the mop and shooed him out before Bear caught sight of him.  They are very good at jumping so it took a few tries to get him out.  Seemed he was more interested in coming in than going out.  I am soooo glad he did not jump and land on me.


Finally, we are still having trouble with cutter ants. You may remember reading how they stripped my garden a couple of years back, carrying off the black-eyed peas? The ants  don’t seem to be inside the yard this year,  but outside.  One of the crape myrtle trees has basically been stripped . . . they love the blooms and when cutterant_anithe blooms are gone, leaves are next.


So guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to see a long trail next to the drive – about an inch wide. But I was surprised to see that not only had they cleared out all  the grass along the path they take, but also had managed to clear their way through  a substantial pile of hay that was in their way.  Almost looked like a little tunnel.  They’re so destructive, but got to give ’em credit for effort.


Always looking for helpful hints, so when I read how to keep cookies moist thought it might be useful . . . especially if you want to ship or keep cookies longer than normal.  Who does that???


Seems the way to accomplish this is to use a flour tortilla between the layers of cookies that are kept in an air-tight container.  Makes sense,  tortillas are moist like bread but being flat take up very little room.  To see the whole article, visit this link.



While there are some cookies you want crunchy, my two favorite ‘soft’ cookies recipes are for ‘Almond’ Sugar Cookies (get recipe here)  and Ranger Cookies or as some people call them – Cowboy Cookies.






Ranger Cookies

(Makes 4 dozen)


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (or margarine)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups quick rolled oats
  • 1 six-ounce package of chocolate chips (or butterscotch)


  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, soda and salt together. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter with the sugars
  3. Add eggs to creamed butter / sugar beating until smooth
  4. Add the flour mixture gradually to the creamed ingredients
  5. Add vanilla, rolled oats and chocolate chips
  6. Drop by spoonful’s on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes
  7. Remove, cool and store in air-tight container.




Awesome x 2

As mentioned, we’ve been super busy with lots of appointments these past days.    Both . . . David & Bear.    But good news,  all reports were ‘awesome’ . . . and David doesn’mailboxt have to go back to the doctor until November.  If you only knew where we’d been a couple of years back, you’d know how far we’ve come, and  how much these good  reports mean to us.  We are so blessed.


Full of energy, we tackled a major project this week. Repairing the mail box.  Don’t know if I mentioned but several months back a not-so-nice person, went along the road smashing all the mail boxes.  Ours included. We ended up having to buy a new box and had precariously attached it to the old post left standing.  This left the whole thing  a wee bit wobbly.  So this week, we took it on ourselves to replace the post with a  stand.


Turned out to be a three-day project. Poured the concrete the first day;  built the cedar stand second day; and assembled it all on third day.  Whew !!!!


Ended up having to cart concrete, water, saws, bricks, screws, wood, and a what seemed like a ton of other stuff down to the gate.   Since we’d pre-built most of it at the garage,  we only had to piece it together with screws and nails after unloading it when it came time to assemble.  David likes screws, I like nails.  To me so much easier.  Couple of whacks and you’re done !  🙂


Think it turned out pretty nice. We’re going to add some reflectors, numbers and corner trim next – then think we can say it is finished.


dirtspikeWaiting for that first fall cool snap, but looks like we’re going to have to wait a little longer according to the weather report last night.   We continue to walk early while it is cool . . . albeit wet.  And,  while the walk is the same each day,  it seems we continue to see new and unusual things along the way.


Such was the case with the dirt spike we saw the other day. Don’t know what else to call it.   Have no idea what it was, but it was so unusual and we’d not seen anything like it before.   Must have been about three inches tall, very thin only about 1/2 inch at the base but perfectly shaped.  Only saw a couple of them that one day but we keep looking for more.  I’m kinda thinking it could have been a ‘root sprout’ of some tree or more likely weed.




Haven’t been doing a lot of what I call ‘cooking from scratch’  since we’ve been so busy with appointments – and mail box project.   And, we still have more next week.  Appointments that is.     So, this is when I love having lots of stuff in the freezer to fall back on. Like the Penne Casserole,  BBQ’d beef, pork and sausages for sandwiches and stuffed potatoes, and David’s all time favorite . . . meat loaf!   I think I could serve him meat loaf every day and he’d love it.


Note:  The meat loaf I make is super simple, about 2 lbs. ground beef, 1 cup rolled oats (uncooked), 1/2 TBSP dried chopped onion, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 egg, 4 crackers (crushed) & water as needed to hold everything together.  Mix everything together really well  (adding water as needed);   form into loaf;  bake at 350 degrees until done.  About 5 minutes before removing from the oven, I mix 1/2 cup ketchup and 1/2 cup taco sauce (your favorite)  together and pour over the top.  Return to oven to finish baking.  Gives it a nice flavor – you can leave off if you don’t like tomatoes.  You already know this freezes well.  After it cools, just slice in serving size portions,  wrap and freeze.



Just had to include this picture of my garlic chives.   I like using them in various dishes and  I’ve had them for over 20 years !!!   Literally.   Every year they bloom but this year the blossom stems seem unusually long with some of them being over 3 feet long.



Do have to give kudos to Tractor Supply. Went there the other day to get dog food and treats since we’d received a coupon via email for 10% off total  purchase.  BUT, when we went to check out seems the coupon – which I’d just received the day before – was expired!!


tractorsupply_2016Don’t mind saying, was a little put out in spite of the fact that we needed the items.   Came home and sent them an email voicing my displeasure. ( I’ve reached the age where I don’t mind complaining to people anymore ) and was very surprised to receive a phone call from a company rep.  Seems their IT people had sent out the emails with the wrong dates, so they very nicely sent us a gift card to use the next time we shop.   Guess  Bear will be eating well – unless David sees a gadget he needs.







Best New ‘Guy’ Gadget




If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was already October.


The front yard is  covered in leaves.   Went out Sunday afternoon and did a ‘little’ raking.   It was incredible how many leaves had fallen.  At this rate, the tree should be bare in a couple of weeks.


And you can see, that our Bear-doggie still enjoys drinking from his personal fountain.  The goldfish don’t seem to mind.






Raked the somewhat wet leaves (makes raking easier)  into a long pile since I couldn’t push them any higher. Now all I have to do is move  them to the burn pile outside the fence.  Should take a few days to get that done.   Only good thing about this is that is maybe I’ll get finished with raking a little earlier this year.




In addition to the leaves, there seems to be an over abundance of mushrooms. They are everywhere thanks to all the rain we’ve been getting.  Some of them I’ve not seen before and found a patch of them growing on a clump of pine needles.  On second thought, maybe they were just poking through??




dentastixPretty uneventful week for us. Did take Bear to visit the Tractor Supply, his favorite store as you know.    Time to stock up on chow and grab a bag of treats.  He likes the Dentastix.  Didn’t know until comparing prices that they can be purchased on Amazon at a significantly lower price.  But then we find almost everything we want is less expensive on Amazon  . . . don’t like the word ‘cheaper’ although it fits, to my brain  seems to imply poor quality.


Signed up to have the Dentastix delivered monthly and now instead of paying over $14.00 for a box of 32 at the store we get them for under $8.00 for a box of 32 on Amazon by signing up for the monthly subscription.   Saving $6.00 a month makes me smile  🙂  and the monthly delivery will save me having to make a trip just so he doesn’t run out.


May be doing some of my Christmas shopping early this year. Saw the most ingenious gadget this weekend.  For those that have men in their life that like to work with wood,  build, repair or just putter –  this little Lumber Lockgadget makes cutting a piece of wood simple.  And, if you get two of them you can have a bench – albeit a little short.




In addition to the Lumber Lock for wood, there is also a companion gadget (Tri Vise) for cutting pipe or round bits of wood, metal, PVC, etc. Another great idea !






We’ve got lots of doctor appointments next few weeks – Sigh, so think I’ll be looking for some new, easy recipes to have on hand.  If I find anything extra-special, I’ll be sure to share !