May 29, 2011, 3:09 pm
Filed under: bees | Tags: , , , , ,

Big day at the acres. Dude went out to the back garden this morning, and then he called me over with some excitement. As I approached the fence, the noise was amazing. Bees make a lot of noise when they’re on the move. And they were on the move alright. There was a huge mass of bees swirling around the front of the hive. Bees were streaming out the sides, and coming out the front. Apparently the lazy beekeepers waited a bit too long to do the hive management this spring, and the bees decided to move out. Good luck girls!

like orange snowflakes

they filled the sky

good luck girls!!

45 feet up in a beech tree

amazing sight!

I felt bad that we didn’t provide adequate housing for them, but I was really really excited to see them go. It was an amazing sight, and it really only took about 10 or 15 minutes so we were lucky to see it. When we got back to the house a few hours later they were gone. I was happy that we’d managed to overwinter them and they were happy and healthy enough to think they should split. Very cool experience! It was really a ton of bees!


remodeling the coop
May 23, 2011, 10:26 am
Filed under: chickens, edwina | Tags: , ,

Lots going on around the acres–we’re in the busy spring planting season. One of the non garden things on the list was to redo the coop. It just wasn’t quite right. The roost was a bit too high for the girls, and I had to give them a “step” to help them get up there. They’d still jump down in the morning-they’d stand there calculating how to do it, and where to aim and then-whooomp–it looked hard on them. And then there was the crazy nest box. Also too high. And too big for one, and too small for two. Lots of fighting.

Anyhow, a big reno was required. I washed their windows–vacuumed out the cobwebs, the whole bit. Then I lowered the roost and made a nest box on the ground. The girls were not happy with all the noise, and they didn’t really want to go and check it out.

Edwina gave me the whatfor–in her loudest disdainful voice–WHAT? you moved WHAT?! I do NOT approve. GIRLS! come and check this OUT! The water has been MOVED!

When the other girls came in they immediately easily popped up on the roost. They seemed to like that part.

hey what did you do to my house?

ooh, this is cozy! now can i have some privacy please?

our night in burgatory
May 22, 2011, 10:11 am
Filed under: pittsburgh, restaurants

Our ongoing quest for the great restaurant veggie burger took us to Burgatory, conveniently located in a mini mall not so far from home. We’d been there once before and it was pretty good, so I was ready for another go. Alas, be careful what you name your restaurant–we ended up literally in Burgatory!!! We had company in town–best pal and her beau, and we’d tried to visit the Church Brew Works on Saturday night. It’s a great tourist spot, though i don’t totally love the food and the beer is not that great either! But they brew it in house and it’s a cool church with the tanks at the altar. Cool!! But not cool–big weekend in May and it was packed. We weren’t in the mood to wait for an hour so we left.

Next night we found ourselves ready to try a restaurant outing again. We went to Burgatory on a Sunday night at 530. Thought that wouldn’t be totally primetime. But no. They said it would be 45 minutes. Ok. We’d wait, besides we could check out some shops while we waited. But the restaurant isn’t really set up for groups larger than 4. We had 6 and it looks like they have 3 tables that can take that many. At one hour we returned to see where our table was. Not ready!! Argh, I thought this would be a quick stop in get a meal and go home–we were tired out from our long day of sightseeing at Fallingwater.

I didn’t feel like cooking but could have made great veggie burgers at home by now.

But then we were already in, and already wasted an hour. So we couldn’t leave now right? The staff were quite apologetic and by the time we were seated another 20 minutes later, they’d offered us free apps! Right on! That was nice. We ordered dinner, it took a while to get it (and they got my order wrong–argh). Another comp. Which was nice. But really it was kind of a hellish experience!!! We didn’t leave until 845!! That’s a long time for a burger and fries don’t you think?

I sure hope staff will get the thing figured out, or that they’ll move to a bigger place. Like our other veggie burger place, Double Wide, Burgatory is plagued by insanely long wait times. So we’re still looking for our go-to burger place.

This post is really about those times where you are in wait line purgatory–but you probably want a reference about the food huh? I had a salad the first time at Burgatory and really liked it–I’m a sucker for sunflower seeds on a salad. The veggie burger is a lentilly kind of base, and it’s pretty good. The topping options are pretty nice too. The chips are ok–dude doesn’t love the sweet potato ones so much, but I do, and the fries, also good. Double wide’s burger is good but seems a bit more health food like than this one–you know, more visible carrots, oats, that kind of thing, and the toppings options aren’t too exotic.

Birds have feelings..
May 5, 2011, 9:01 am
Filed under: bubbles, chickens, edwina, knuckles, liz | Tags: , , , ,

Thanks, some dude at Bristol, for doing a study about chicken’s feelings. Anyone who owns chickens can attest to the fact that not only do they feel empathy, but they feel annoyance, anticipation, etc etc.

Yesterday, for instance, I heard annoyance–poor knuckles got kicked out the nest box so that bubbles (the not so empathetic chicken) could have a go. Poor knuckles stood at the coop door broadcasting her displeasure to all in the turdacres domain. I’ve heard Liz make these distinctive (and screamingly loud) repetitive bu-gahs, and lately have seen a pushed out Edwina do them, and now Knuckles. Is it, oh my god hurry up! i need the nest box!! hurry up! There is definitely a chicken language. I wonder who’s studying that?

asparagus eggs benedict take two

Woo-ee we have been enjoying the asparagus crop. We’ve had maybe 6 meals? I made a Jamie Oliver inspired tart for easter. And then…eggs benedict! The first time I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve never made hollandaise sauce before, and I was trying to make one third of the recipe. Recipe for disaster that was!! I curdled the egg yolk and we had more of a hollandaise paste. It was still pretty yum though.

Tonight, alone, I made it again. Take two was mucho better.
Hollandaise sauce version 2.
one egg yolk. I used a knuckles egg (one of the smaller ones we get)
juice from one lemon (maybe this was a tad too much for the egg)

Whisk together in a double boiler. I didn’t have the pan too hot this time.
Meanwhile melt two tbsp butter. Then whisking constantly mete the butter into the eggs a teensy bit at a time.
Season with a bit of salt.

I started the asparagus first in simmering water in a large fry pan. Start the english muffins just before you add the eggs. Then add two eggs into the mix after I had the hollandaise under way.

Remove asparagus and cut into bite sized pieces and lay on top of english muffins when they’re done. Scoop eggs on top and add hollandaise and some salt and pepper. Enjoy while the cat looks on enviously! BTW, she did approve of the taste I gave her. She likes herself a good bit of egg.

The Jamie tart was ok. Well better than ok, especially for breakfast the next day!!!
Recipe is here. I used puff pastry instead of phyllo which would have been better probably. I thought it was pretty tasty, but maybe overkill for some great homegrown asparagus!!

vegetarian options in restaurants changing
May 2, 2011, 6:53 am
Filed under: food, food issues, meat | Tags: , , , , ,

Ah, I knew that we were not alone. Here’s an article that appeared in Huffington Post.
changing tide of food preferences article

Alas, poor Kathy advocates vegan options. I can’t imagine the frustration level involved in that choice. It’s hard enough to do the lacto-ovo version. She tries to put a positive spin on the changes, but the comments indicate the tensions out there–just eat meat, you loser kind of thing. She calls up some stats on growing interest in eating less animal protein, and links to recent surveys out there. Keep up the good fight Kathy! We’re with you on that!

Here’s a link to the poll and post about our recent data collecting on the ‘veg option’. Yes people do like to eat veg–even if they’re meat eaters.