28 September 2011


My dear faithful readers, yes, both of you- my apologies for the lack of recent postings and tidings but Mr. Fuzzy gave a three day national master-level workshop on soft focus lenses last weekend... it took a week or more of intense focus to prepare and when it was behind me, me was exhausted... just late this morning has the mind rejoined the body.

This shall not repeat itself until next year!

So stay close and wait for a post soon.

I thank you for your enduring loyalty and attach a photograph from today of Jack Tar doing his imitation of his grandfather, a black panther.

Mr. Fuzzy (his-self)

22 September 2011

Finally, A Good Deer!

Available from Amazon, no matter where you live.
Last night I went down to the freezer to root around for something interesting to cook for company and came out with a one pound venison leg roast. Mumbling and grumbling about the strange cuts the local game butchers produced from our small doe, I decided that THIS time I would not ruin this prized meat.

I set the meat on the granite worktop we picked up cheap at a thrift store to thaw. Having this little piece of stone really sucks the cold or heat out of an object, speeding up the process considerably. (Thank you S.A. for telling me of the everyday virtues of granite.) I then rooted through my cookbooks for some reliable help and came up with Game For All, a cookbook put out by the local venison farm near our old home in Scotland. 

Diligently reading the preliminary notes, I learned that we would have done well to hang that does for a few days. Oh well. I also discovered Mrs. Fletcher's directions for "fast cooking" venison: Sear in oil, season (not too much salt), roast uncovered in a very hot oven (450F) until underdone (110F internal temp), and let it rest a while to finish cooking. The only thing I added to her recipe was wrapping the meat in foil while it rested.

The result? My first successful piece of roast venison. The seasonings were sesame oil, juniper berries, pepper, and Hungarian chiles with just a sprinkle of salt.

13 September 2011

apple thieves

Dearest of all Readers, Mr. Fuzzy has puzzled about the chunks taken out of the mutsu apples whilst said apple is still on the tree. The cats perform their duties quite well and normally keep even the peskiest ravens away from our fruit. So what could be eating the forbidden fruit?

The answer revealed itself this afternoon as I watched at least four of Mrs. Fuzzy's new chickens way up high in the tree. Chickens in trees? Really? Yes. And here is the proof. You may have to click to enlarge the image but there are very clearly two chickens in view. The next image was made during the booking process and is Perpetrator #1.

Live and learn.

10 September 2011

As darkness falls

Not to confuse you, my precious few viewers - these are taken on consecutive nights...

Just some eye candy.

08 September 2011

Autumn Means Happy Taste Buds

Autumn is officially here! The local potatoes & carrots are now available and boy are they tasty! We've been eating these starchy red and purple varieties for a couple weeks now. I must find out what the red ones are as they're not as waxy as grocery store reds. Both have excellent flavor and hold some color when cooked.

As for the local carrots, they're small but delicious. There's no pressing reason (like blandness)  to tart them up so we don't.

05 September 2011

Divine humor

Ah, dear reader, you are no doubt wearied by my complaints since June of inadequate, nay, non-existent rain. In eleven weeks, the farm received less than 2.5 inches - and in growing season at that.

The Creator has a refined sense of humor as evidenced by the last sixteen hours. Rain began as a gentle drizzle this morning and showered on and off all the day. As of 8:15 p.m., the ground has received 1.63 inches of rain since 4:00 a.m. and it is still raining hard - and expected to continue so all the eve, the wee hours and into the morn. Flash flood watch is in effect until tomorrow.

Now if that doesn't show the Divine exercises humor, then maybe the tornado warning and tornado watch may be sufficient to convince you. The NWS thought the radar indicated a tornado on the ground in southwestern Floyd county and headed this was at 7:15 p.m. That has since been lifted and Mr. Fuzzy is relieved to say he saw no tornado whilst sitting on the veranda with Grover the 20 pound feline in his lap... nonetheless, the tornado watch remains in effect until 4:00 a.m. Good sleep may be elusive this night.

Looking on the good side, Mr. Fuzzy planted radishes and a couple of other autumn crops yesterday. If they were not swept away by the torrents, the seeds should be well moistened and germination not far behind.

The photograph was taken under dense cloud cover right after sunset with Mr. Fuzzy's new camera at an effective ISO of 25,000. That is not a typographical error. Nor is the apparent curve of the land induced by lens defects... it rolls off rather quickly and yet it was raining so hard that water was standing on a slope... the creek will be roaring with a revived life force by now.

We Have Hens!

Mary and Martha, the first chicks to spend time living in a crate inside our home, are officially 'hens.' One started laying pretty little dark brown eggs about 10 days ago and her sister started late this week. Martha (?) is laying nearly an egg a day already. (I can tell the eggs apart by size right now.)

Cute little pullet eggs.

Unlike the Cochins and Dominiques, these Partridge Plymouth Rocks seem to be laying bigger eggs each day. It took the older girls months to get their eggs up to size! Perhaps they will be laying full  sized eggs before winter sets in? The white eggs are from our Dominique girls.

Two or more of the Cochins are now laying eggs with extremely thin shells. Guess it's time to buy another 50# bag of crushed oyster shell.

04 September 2011

autumn colors

The stress of the summer heat and drought has caused the trees to begin to change into their coats of many colors prematurely. It remains to be seen if the half inch of rain this past week and perhaps a decent rainfall in the coming days will be an adequate tonic to the trees... at least the plants of the forest floor which were wilting at mid-week now look to have gained a second wind.

03 September 2011

how about that?

The denizens of Stratheden Farm found it was hard to believe their eyes on Thursday afternoon - one little isolated thunderstorm cell parked itself over the farm and delivered a quarter-inch of much needed precipitation. Two hours later I walked in my socks through the parched remains of the lawn and the grass was already so dry that my socks picked up no moisture whatsoever.

Will miracles never cease? The same event repeated itself to within 0.01" on Friday afternoon. The NWS ranked our probability of rain at 20% for Thursday and 30% for Friday.

The pattern this summer has been fronts sweeping out of Ohio through West Virginia thence into the the valley which I-81 runs. Then the line of storms develops a break as it sweeps into Floyd county, leaving the central portion of the county untouched but after the storms jump the Blue Ridge, the line links back together before the storm moves into North Carolina.

These little rains were not part of one of these sweeping long fronts but rather irregular small scattered thunderstorm cells that have dotted western Virginia like pimples on a fourteen year old's face. Observing them on radar, they are intense and nearly always depicted in red. Especially Friday's downpour was accompanied by deep rolling consoling peals of thunder and the occasional burst of brilliant bolts of lightning. Ah, how satisfying to hear and see the display.

With tropical storm Lee coming from the south and possible hurricane Katia approaching from the southeast, we fantasize about more water from the heavens. Mr. Fuzzy planted an autumn crop of mustard greens and the last of the potted tobacco plants today; it was disconcerting to find that the soil was dry down at least five inches - so soon after these sprinkles. The ground could probably absorb five or six inches of rain before any runoff could occur.

The rains came too late for the beans, corn and muskmelons. The moon & stars watermelons are all still on the vine and would benefit as would the Hopi rattle gourds, tobacco and newly planted seeds. Please, oh, please, more rain.

01 September 2011

Critter Control

We've been using these traps for a few weeks now to deal with the critters in the shop & feed shed (same building.) This just might be the nicest little mouse trap ever made. There's a wee trap door in the back that holds about 4 servings of peanut butter. It fits into tight spaces, is incapable of smashing your fingers, doesn't need re-baiting every day, and the dogs can't get at the dead mouse. The dead mouse shakes out pretty easily or you can throw the whole thing away if seeing flat rodents give you the willies.