Saturday, August 27, 2011

Last of August

We are nearly at the the end of August. Where did the month go? I mean really, one minute we were looking at the end of July and now the end of August. I have been thinking a lot about ‘this time last year’ and how to mark the differences or note the changes.  No solutions yet…. still thinking.

DH is gone again, and has been for 2 weeks. Maybe home next week or the week after… no firm date as yet.

I have caught up with the Sparkly Chicken Swap blocks “Receivers Choice”… they are going in the mail on Monday as are 2 more gifts…. Of course no photos… because I want the recipients to see them first…. I can however post my swap block for Fiestathe ‘Fiesta’ Chick. Originally I wanted to do bright pieced block in primary colors, but that did not work out. My piecing skills are way off and I just was not meeting the vision. My true inner vision of  “Fiesta” is warmth and sun or beer and lime , a la Baja Mexico and Southern California. That was the end of creativity for me….

and how you say was that the end of creativity? At work the other day I broke one of the cardinal rules of cutting; ‘Always cut away from yourself’. I was using a utility knife, and was cutting toward myself. BIG mistake. Sunk the blade into the thumb muscle of my left hand. Very little blood, but plenty of pain… and 2 very ugly stitches later. Do you think some day that we might get a choice of color for the stitches? You know maybe compliment the skin tones, or at least a really nice shade of say blue or purple or maybe lime green. Nothing looks worse than puckered skin and black stitches with long tails. So not much in the way of of other stitching activity here.

I do have some new toys to help pass the time. Sometime in late June, my iPhone was giving me connectivity and reception problems. Like stating no carrier… and to resume I would have to turn the phone off and then let it power back up…. a very long and time consuming process. So I bought a new phone. An Android Desire. I think I like it better than the iPhone. Not as many Apps yet, but most of the important ones are there and there are some that are better and built in. The other new toy, to match the new phone is a Tablet, (a gift from DH), The XooM by Motorola which as I recall uses the Android platform. Anyway…. it is similar to the iPad, but doesn’t have the Flashplayer restrictions of the Apple platform. I love it especially for the web based applications. Displays much better than the iPad, has some cool function fly outs and has USB input as well. I can read books (Kindle), listen to music (still have to transfer my iTunes library over), send and receive email and of course surf the Web.

And since not much in the way of other pictures… more birds.

barbet

Black Collared Barbet - are generally very shy…. not good photo subjects.

woodpecker

I think this is a female Cardinal Woodpecker. It was beating at the bark like a woodpecker…

 

More Later-Beth

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More about the meat….

You know all that meat that I posted about???

It’s history. The freezer was bad and was cycling…. So on Saturday we had to toss 200 pounds of meat into the garbage. In addition, we had to clean the freezer…  The meat on the line, was dry so we also brought that in…. That was a lot of meat!!!! The biltong that we hung, was also brought in. We learned a lot of lessons…. this past week. They doewors, was over spiced and too much fat in it. The biltong on the other hand was under spiced and not enough salt, so it didn’t dry as well and had no flavor.

Of course the good news is (despite the waste) that we have room in the freezer. We actually bought a new one and discovered the defrosted meat at the bottom of the borrowed one when we were transferring to the new one. So now that we have room, DH can plan another hunting trip.

Add to that the chain that raises and lowers the garage door snapped. Again. This is the second time, the last time was about 6 weeks ago. So now we have to park outside. Normally not an issue…. but yesterday we had rain, thunder + lightening and really mushy snow flakes. The rain was really coming down and we have a tile roof…. which means no gutters… and I got soaked just trying to get in the front door!!!!

The weekend before I went out, with a local group, all from the mission. We went to a curio store, a Mexican tortilla and chip maker (REALLY the highlight) and a restaurant, called Carnivore. There are only 2 of these restaurants on the continent, one is just down the roadMenu about 30 minutes and the other is in Kenya. They serve all kinds of meat, including game. On our visit, (this is the menu, sorry about the picture… from a cell phone), we had the usual, chicken, beef, lamb and pork… but there was some Kudu (venison) sausages and meatballs, along with a roast; crocodile, zebra and impala. The meal is all inclusive, so for $30 we got a lot of food. The meat is cooked/roasted in a huge open barbeque on long skewers/rods and brought around and either pushed off / or carved right on to your plate. They keep adding meat until you MAKE them stop. I have tried crocodile before, and my opinion hasn’t changed -fatty, rubbery meat …. and I have had kudu roast- but not meatballs or sausage and they were very good. I’d have the meatballs again for sure. Zebra, was DIFFERENT, not something I want to eat regularly, but the impala was delicious. Not at all gamey or stringy or tough! So I told DH he could bring home all the impala he wanted.

and a picture from the hunting trip….

Groundscraper-Thrush

A Groundscraper-Thrush. I can’t believe how many birds here are polka dotted!!!

Well that’s all for now… as usual there will be more later!

Beth

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Meats

Last Friday we picked up the Wildebeest from the butcher. Don’t let anyone tell you they are small creatures!!! We have 308 pounds of Blouwildebeest packaged to eat. Between the Wildebeest and the Nyala, we had to get a freezer. Fortunately, we are able to borrow. So I took it home on Friday… and plugged it in, thinking we would have more meat than the freezer (side by side) could possibly hold.

We didn’t get home until after 7 so we spent an hour writing on the vacuum packaged freezer bags of meat what they were and put them in the freezer, we had 187 pounds of meat -fillets, steaks and roasts. We put the meat for Biltong and Droewors in the refrigerator to finish on Saturday.

Saturday morning we cleaned the clothes lines (that we’ve never used for clothes) and prepared to hang the droewors (dry sausage). This is a very thin sausage that you dry to preserve and eat. We had 77 pounds, and did it drag down the lines!!! For more info go here. 

wbeest-drying-wors

We also hung a few pieces of the Biltong. It was pre-seasoned by the butcher, not something we wanted, it seems that most of our instructions were not relayed to the butcher -but what do you do about it?

wbeest-biltong-7-2011

I had purchased some tulle for the previous experiments in Biltong but we discovered that we didn’t have any flies so we didn’t need to cover it. I didn’t feel really good about leaving all the meat in the open… so we covered it. Haven’t really seen any flies except for may the first hour… It has to hang and dry until it is snap dry. I tested it last night and we still need to leave it for a few more days. It does have some really good flavor.

wbeest-wors-7-2011

One of the other items we received is Boerwors (Farmer Sausage). It is ground meat and spices and is more of a dinner sausage, than a breakfast sausage, but it could be breakfast too. It has a good flavor and we have lots of it!!! It is packed in long unbroken tubes and coiled. It is cooked in the coil as well, especially on the barbeque

We tasted the Biltong tonight and the seasoning is a little lack luster, might even could call it tasteless. Fortunately we froze much of it, so now we have a bit of time to find our own spices and make our own seasoning. The stuff we used on the Nyala was too salty…

So that was my weekend… what did you do?

More later-Beth

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beasts Part II

Ok, so I have been a bit lax on the blogging side of things, but judging from the lack of comments….. I’m thinking everyone is as busy or otherwise occupied as I have been. Having the DH home has really affected my allotment of free time!!!

Once again the sewing room has been bereft and left to idle and I am so far behind …. that the light at the end of the tunnel appears to have been extinguished! I’ll do better in the coming week.

So what have I been doing that has kept me away…. We went hunting again. I surprised DH with a trip to a local Bow Hunting only place. Since I got him the Bow for Christmas…. Anyway it was a very nice and relaxing long weekend. -the-entrance-GranietkopThis is the entrance. The name comes from the region, (where there are huge granite rock formations, which are mined/quarried). There is a lodge, with a common room, and 2 sleeping quarters on each end, 2 freestanding buildings with bed, bath and kitchenette,

rec-hut

a recreation building that has a bar, pool table and eating areas, (as you can see a granite rock pile), and 2 Safari Tents.

the-tent 

We stayed in a Safari Tent, which are luxurious as tents go!!!! The tents are really soft sided buildings, and have electricity and running water. They come complete furnished with beds, tables, chairs, linens, etc. just like any hotel room.

inside-tent

One of the more interesting features is the shower. It is outside. In the summer it would be wonderful, but in the winter …. even with hot water…. not for me. The room did have a tub in the bathroom, with a handheld shower…. so you could bathe in relative warmth.

outside-shower

the-kitchen

All the facilities are ‘self catering’ meaning you cook your own food, they supply the kitchen and a simple assortment of utensils.

It is winter here, and like home, hunting season is in the winter… So the temps were chilly, but compared to winter in Chicago… balmy! The nights were cool and days were nice. I was able to take walks and see some of the local creatures… and there was even a horse I could ride. I did get a few pictures, but not too many. I did see a bird or two (I’ll post those later), a few deerlike creatures with horns; but the winner was the sunsets. Because of the smoke in the air, sunsets in winter are spectacular!!!

sunset-Granietkop-1

sunset-Granietkop-2

sunset-Granietkop-3

And of course the question… everyone is asking… Did DH bag a beast? Yes, a Wildebeest. So we are going to find out how they taste too.

Wildebeest

Well thanks for reading and I post again soon… I promise.

More Later- Beth