Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another zucchini recipe

The following was the post I had about ready to publish on Monday, and then of course I lost Emma. Thank-you all for your condolences; it IS hard to lose a pet of any kind. I got Emma 17 1/2 years ago from a local breeder and hand-fed her; she's been my little buddy ever since. The only pet I've had longer was our cat Ozzie, who died last summer at age 18. I'd like to take a long break now from losing creatures I love....

Since you guys were so appreciative of a good zucchini recipe, I had to paw through my recipes looking for something more to please you. See how well I respond to positive feedback?

I can't share a photo of this recipe because I don't have ripe tomatoes in my garden yet (can you believe some of the grocery store prices for tomatoes???), but this salad always gets gobbled up at home and at potlucks. As a bonus, the leftover dressing (and you WILL have leftover dressing!) is great on tossed salad, too.

Zucchini Tomato Toss
4 cups thinly sliced zucchini (I use a mandolin)
2 medium tomatoes (I usually use more; sometimes they are halved cherry tomatoes)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (I don't like green onions, so I use yellow onions, or even minced dry onions)
1/2 cup white or cider vinegar (I often use clear balsamic vinigar for part or all; I get it at Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar (or less, if you use balsamic vinegar)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh basil (I usually use dried)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, optional

Prepare and place first three ingredients in a bowl. Combing remaining ingredients in a jar or Tupperware with a tight lid, and shake until all is dissolved and thoroughly mixed. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

A different kind of "yum"Blizz's fleece is practically making me drool. It's very soft, has beautiful variations of color, and is developing lovely crimp. He's still for sale, but can stay here and produce wonderful fiber for as long as it takes to find a good home for him!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

R.I.P. Emma

Little Emerald, 1/22/1991-7/28/2008

Late last night when I got home from the airport with my sister in tow, there was a cool wind blowing, so I went upstairs to lower the window for Emma. She was laying on the floor of her cage, gone. It was quite a shock, as yesterday she had been chirping at me and eating like always. This morning, my office is achingly quiet. Good-bye, little friend.

That's it for now from . . .

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Zucchini patties

This morning first thing, Brian went out to check his garden. Shortly he came running in, proclaiming that he had a BIG zucchini. I told him to go ahead and pick it. He actually found two, and asked if I would make him zucchini patties "right now," for breakfast. As you can see, I made my boy very happy.

Since this is one of the zucchini recipes a reader requested, I have included it below. In parentheses are this morning's variations; I don't get too hung up on following recipes exactly when it's not critical. :-)

Zucchini Patties
3 cups grated zucchini (I eyeballed it, using all of the larger zucchini)
1 cup Bisquick mix (I used instant buttermilk pancake mix)
2 eggs
1 cup grated cheese (I used medium cheddar)
1/2 cup grated onion (I used 1 tablespoon onion powder, and also 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon Accent
1 tablespoon G. Washington broth (I used more than 1 tablespoon McKay's Veggie Chicken Seasoning)
salt to taste (didn't add any because of the extra McKay's)

Combine all ingredients and mix well (I used the dough hook on my Bosch). Fry in a skillet until golden brown and serve.

That's it for now at . . .

Saturday, July 26, 2008


This was the gift we were given tonight as we neared home at the end of a busy day of worship, service and fellowship. The sky was breathtaking; my photo doesn't do God's handiwork justice (click to biggify; it helps).

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One hot date, or a matron of honor?

Yes, I mix it up here on the Boulderneigh blog; wouldn't want you to get bored with the same old subject matter!

My sister has asked me to stand up with her at her wedding. Guess that makes me the "matron" (not necessarily "of honor," since I'm the only attendant). We planned to do some shopping when she's here next week to find a suitable dress for me, but yesterday she called and wanted to know my size. She had spotted a dress that she liked (it's a halter-style, like her wedding gown), and although it was more dark candy-apple red than the burgundy she had been thinking of, she was willing to shift her ideas for the sake of budget. (Ay, we come from thrifty stock, we do.)

She went ahead and bought the dress (it's returnable) and will bring with her on Monday to see if it fits:Woo! I guess if it does fit, I will be the "lady in red" at her wedding! Might inspire my husband to take me out to some black tie affairs, too. Hmm, that sounds like a good motive to stick to my "diet" (no eating between meals and watching the fat because of my recently-discovered cholesterol issues).

Speaking of diets, the sheep are probably going to think I've put them on one. After filling the feeders for today and tonight, this flake is all that is left of our second-cutting hay. When faced with the coarser first-cutting that we feed our horses, they may very well go on a hunger strike! We have more second cutting ordered, but I don't know when we'll get it.

Jumping back to the subject of dates, Rick did recently get tickets for a fun one. He's taking me to see Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion live at the Oregon State Fair on Aug. 27; it's The Rhubarb Tour! (I don't think I'll wear the red dress even if it does kinda go with the rhubarb theme, at least in color. :-)

That's it for now at . . .

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Picking up threads (not a sewing post)

There are always interesting points of view to be found on various blogs and the Shetland groups on Yahoo. I have learned from, laughed with, cried over and cringed at what other Shetland breeders do and go through. There are no "shepherd police" (just as there are no spinning or knitting police, thankfully), so I am free to bumble along here at Boulderneigh in the way that seems best to me given my limitations of space, funds and DH cooperation.

Recent threads have me musing about genetics and breed improvement and prepotency. Some breeders say you need to keep your lambs, because they should be an improvement on their parents. I may do this in the future; in fact, I may HAVE to to lock in the poll gene in my flock. But I don't agree that each generation is necessarily better, or should be. What if someone chose the very best specimens alive for their foundation flock? How can you improve on the very best? Hopefully your lambs are just as good as their parents, but how can they always be better? Genetics is not that exact a science, IMHO.

And how long does it take to KNOW if the offspring are indeed better? One year, to verify horn growth (where applicable) and teeth? Two or three years, to see mature fleece development, mothering ability and ram personality? Ideally, I think that is what a good breeder should do: keep all their sheep several years to prove their good traits or reveal their less desirable traits before parting with them. But the vast majority of sheep shows discourage that by only holding classes for lambs and yearlings. And buyers want those cute little lambs....

A catch-phrase in the horse breeding world has always amused me: people advertise stallions as being "an own son of (name of famous stallion)". First of all, what other kind of son is there? An adopted son? Secondly, I've always thought that if I were to choose a stallion, it would be the proven performance horse (I don't believe in halter horses) - Smart Little Lena or Weltmeyer (or Man'O'War or Figure) not an "own son." After all, the son may not be as good as his sire, or inherit the prepotency of his sire to pass on his best qualities.

I tend to feel the same way about sheep. The sons and daughters may be good, but they may not be better than their parents. And I'd rather use rams and ewes who have proven their genetics through their own quality and that of their offspring than to take a gamble on an unproven youngster - if I have to make a choice. With my limited space, I DO have to make that choice. Other breeders with far more space and resources can keep both the older generations AND the younger generations until all is known, THEN make decisions about who to move on and who to keep in their breeding flock.

All these threads on other blogs and lists do help me look at my little flock more critically. As I do, I see good things and not-so-good things - and changing things! Wool on the poll that comes and goes; a lamb with a bad "bite" that has grown into a yearling with an excellent bite. Ready for some "show and tell"? This week I took "rear end" pictures of my current ewes. (Next month when Inky arrives, I will add a photo of her.) What do you see?I see nice, straight legs and four slightly different tails. None of the girls' tails are textbook perfect, but Braveheart's is, and he appears to have improved the tails on all his offspring. From the side, one of my girls is a bit down in the back pasterns and another has perhaps too much angle in her hind legs. Do I keep their daughters and sell the ewes? Or do I sell their better daughters to others, and keep breeding better lambs from the adults who I know can produce them?

That's all the rambling for now from . . .

Monday, July 21, 2008


Yesterday my eye caught a glimpse of wood in my front flower bed where I shouldn't have been able to see any. Upon closer examination, I saw that one of my little Japanese maples had been beheaded, leaving a small stump and a few shoots - no doubt by a certain careening canine. I was so mad that I had to put Jackson in the laundry room while I cooled down; there wasn't any point in punishing him when I didn't catch him in the act, but it would have been easy to vent my anger.

First thing this morning I let Jackson outside as usual. When I headed out to do chores a bit later he met me with one of Brian's balls in his mouth. (Brian knows the rule: if he leaves something outside, he can't blame Jackson for any damage incurred.) We romped together a bit, and I realized how much this dog has wedged himself into my heart, in spite of how aggravating he can still be (and as mad as I was about my irreplaceable maple!). He's soft and beautiful and smart and affectionate, and SOMEday he'll probably stop being quite so rambunctious - right? (RIGHT???)

P.S. The first zucchini is history, sliced on top of a pizza. Yum! Look for some of our favorite zucchini recipes soon.

That's it for now at . . .

How does YOUR garden grow?

It's dry here; it was reported on the news that we are at 42% of average rainfall for the month of July with no rain in sight. We haven't had a month with normal or above normal rainfall since March! But we keep the garden watered, and it is rewarding our efforts. The raspberries and blueberries are giving us a few tasty morsels every day now -
Our first zucchini will be ready to pick and prepare this week -
The onions, tomatoes and pumpkins are getting plump with promise -
The burgundy green beans are setting on -
And the eggplants and melons are making promises with their petals -

That's it for now at . . .

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Patting myself on the back

Yesterday we drove to Portland for some meetings, giving me plenty of time to finish BSJ #4. I even got the ends woven in and the buttons sewn on last night - woohoo! I really like how this Baby Surprise Jacket turned out, and can hardly wait for the shower a week from today to give it away.

Now to decide what to cast on for next. The scarf I have in mind for that lovely red and blue sparkly yarn I recently finished spinning would make sense, but I have a hankering to make a fitted vest or sweater for me or someone else. Haven't finished spinning the dark brown roving I have in mind for the Talia vest, though. I have lots of commercial yarn in the stash, but no black. Hmmm, I'm going to have to give this some thought. There's always the "scarf of miserable yarn" to keep my fingers busy in the interim.

That's it for now at . . .

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fruit and flowers

Last night Rick helped me pick cherries, then I got to work pitting. My new cherry stoner works just dandy! I filled five trays in the dehydrator with pretty jewels....Twelve hours later they look like this. They have at least six more hours to shrink - I mean dry - before I end up with a pathetically little bag of dried cherries to put in the freezer for future use. I hope to fill the dehydrator with another batch of cherries on Sunday.

I'm tickled with my daylilies this year. I have some small plants in a semi-circle around the pink flowering cherry tree in front of the house that are giving me a few blooms this year (I alternated four yellow with three red Pardon Me).
Next year they should really come into their own, like the two bigger Fencing Master plants in a sloping bed on the south side of the house:
Morgan says, "I'd like to sample some of those fruits and flowers!"

That's it for now at . . .

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Peck, pup, purr and pit

Or, alliteration on a summer's day.

Thanks to Melanie's suggestion, I put out the little round feeder we used when the girls were chicks. Of course, all the girls had to eat from IT, instead of utilizing both feeders, but they did it nicely (while I was there). I still need to add another board to the front of their nesting boxes and change out the straw for shavings.

When I let Jackson out in the morning, he has to run around the house to check for squirrels and deer. Then we head down to the barn to do chores. I couldn't figure out why he was so interested in our camping wheelbarrow - until I saw a little black and white paw reach out from under it and bat at him.
Oreo left her hiding spot when she was good and ready - and retreated to the top of a 50-gallon drum to gaze with practiced nonchalance about her domain.
Our Royal Ann cherries are ripe and ready - and weighing heavily on my mind. We got a handy-dandy dehydrator for Christmas and I just bought a cherry pitter off eBay; now I just need to make myself get to work! Dried cherries are SO good in The World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I got from Tina.Drool, fools! (Uh, sorry, I got carried away with the literary tools there.)

That's it for now at . . .