Catching up

Not a whole lot going on here.  I’m out of a job again, having finally quit my job at *major retailer who’s not long for this world if they keep doing what they’re doing*, which I should have done a long time ago, but I kept hoping to find something else first.  But I finally decided that I needed to quit before I lost my temper at the store manager again.  Its easier to find a new job when you’ve QUIT your last job vs having been fired from it.

The garden is mostly doing very well.  I’m not sure that the sunflowers and corn are going to make it, not sure what I did wrong there, but I have some guesses, we’ll see I guess.  Everything else is thriving, though I added some bloodmeal to the dirt under the cucumbers and the sugar snap peas yesterday as they were looking a bit yellowish.  We came within a few degrees of a frost just a couple days ago, but everything seems to have survived the experience.

We almost ended up with another Tibetan Mastiff this month.  There’s a breeder in Oregon who has a special needs litter, and as such is struggling to place them into appropriate homes.  The number of folks who can handle TMs is limited.  The number of folks who can handle TMs AND the potential medical costs and needs and heartbreak is even smaller.  Unfortunately we were unable to arrange suitable transport from OR to upstate NY.  Apparently NO ONE flies direct flights from OR to any of the upstate NY airports.  I found 1 flight direct into JFK, but thats a 5-6hr drive each way depending on traffic.  My parents who’re in MA offered to pick up the pup at the Boston airport and drive her to us, but even there, direct flights were almost non-exsistant, and none met the needed requirements.  At that point I started looking at what it would cost for me to fly out there and pick her up and fly back (that way we could do a layover), but it would have been $950 just for the plane tickets, another $200 to check the puppy as baggage (she’s to big to go as a carryon), plus crating and medical cert costs.  And since I can realistically expect to have to drop at LEAST that much money on vet appointments within the pup’s first month here I just didn’t have that to spare TOO.

On that same note, if you’re up to a Tibetan Mastiff (think bigger fluffier Akita with extra guardian), and up to the potential medical and heartbreak please let me know, I’ll put you in touch with the breeder.

On a happier note, last week while taking the dogs on their property rounds we discovered that the warblers had invaded the pines on the back lines.  There were a TON of little brightly colored birds hopping around in the pines.  They’re such little jumpy little things, I struggled to photograph and ID them, but I managed to catch solid looks at a Yellow Warbler:



A Chestnut Sided Warbler:



And a Magnolia Warbler:



The late migrating Snowy Owl who was hanging around a nearby farm finally moved on, but not before I managed to snatch one last picture:



This year I decided to experiment with putting out orange slices on a platform feeder to see if I could entice in the Orioles, and boy did I ever!

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The above are all Baltimore Orioles, and I’ve been enjoying watching them.  Though I could have done without the one male who kept trying to attack his reflection in the window…..

What really made it all worth while though was this bird:


That, ladies and gentlemen, is a female Orchard Oriole!  Not technically rare here, but often hard to spot, and I’d never seen one before.  She’s been back a few times since, but so far no sign of a male, cross your fingers for me!

White Goldfinch



Ok, he’s not truly white.  He’s got just the faintest tint of yellow to his feathers.


He’s not albino, if he was he wouldn’t have the black feathers, and he’d have red eyes.  Due to the faint gold tint he isn’t technically leucistic.  So I’m wandering between a weird mutation and a diet problem causing him to grow in feathers in the lighter shade this year (we didn’t have an abnormally pale Goldfinch hanging around for the winter).  But he’s still cool to look at!

Copycat Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Goldfish

The other day I happened to catch the show ReWrapped on the Food Network.  I was bored, and they were playing around with the Cheddar Goldfish.  I love Goldfish crackers, so I had to watch.

The guy who won the first half (challenge: recreate the Goldfish crackers) was getting statements like “if I closed my eyes I’d never know the difference”.  So I had to try the recipe.

Ok, cause its me, I didn’t exactly follow his recipe.  Partially because I didn’t have 20oz of cheese on hand (seriously, a pound and a half of cheese??), I only had 16oz, so thats what I used.  Partially because I HAVE read the ingredients listing for the Goldfish crackers and I knew that they contained paprika and onion.

They turned out really good.  But they’re not “close my eyes and not know the difference” good.

I added a 1/4tsp of onion powder, and a bit less than 1/4tsp of paprika.

I only used 16oz of cheese instead of the 20 he calls for.

I didn’t make a goldfish cookie cutter, squares are just fine by me, plus it uses more of the dough.

Although he doesn’t say it I highly recommend chilling your dough before cooking.  I chilled it for half an hour, rolled it out, cut it into squares (1/2″ or so), and chilled the squares for another 15minutes or so while the oven finished pre-heating.  Pulled out enough for the first batch, and put the rest back in the fridge.  One, the chilled dough is easier to work with, and two since we’re not using yeast the only leavening is the butter, and that works best when its chilled going into the oven.  I might even try putting the cut crackers into the freezer next time.

When you’re cooking them make sure you space them out so that they aren’t touching each other.  With that much cheese in them they’ll melt together if they touch (yah, I did that with the first batch, the dogs loved them).

I cooked mine at 350 for the full 15 minutes.

I don’t know how well they’ll store, with that much fat in them.  None of mine lasted long enough for that to be an issue, but if you’re looking for something to make for snacks for the week I’m not sure this’ll work for you.

Over all I liked them alot, and will likely make the recipe again.  But I’m still looking for that ideal copycat Goldfish recipe!

I guess if I want to see birds

I need to get out earlier in the morning more often!


This Osprey was eating his breakfast on a telephone pole on my way to the doc’s yesterday morning




Then while passing by a local farm I spotted this sight:


I’m not sure if that’s a late migrater, (since Snowy Owls were reported as far south as Florida this past winter), or if he’s hanging around.  A Snowy’s been reported there for the previous several days, so he may be hanging around.


And then I spotted this Red-Tail looking for his breakfast: