Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Holy Oliebollen!"

After you have made chicken, sausage, shrimp gumbo and your last Greek yoghurt for 2014, what else can you do on the last day of the year?

Why make homemade Dutch Oliebollen! And not just one recipe, but two! 

I mixed up the batters, and I had Flip and the two J's to help me man the Fry Daddy. We had tried this a couple of years ago and knew this deep fat frying of these yeast balls/ beignets is best done out on the screened in back porch ( due to the frying smells). But when we began flipping "fat balls," the back porch temperature was already hanging around 7 degrees Celsius. Wrapped in old sweaters and outside gardening jackets, the three of us plus a jacketless pooch attacked first the traditional recipe in my MIL's copy of Het Haagse Kookboek and then one I found on the Internet (Recipe).

Results: 40+ yummy oliebollen!

And, yes, we sampled a few! 
Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

No "Best of 2014"

Most "end of the year" reviews are quite boring! 

There. I wrote it.

Even before blogging, I hated the year (rear) end reviews on television. What has been done is DONE! Not much we can do about it. 

Been there. Done that.

So if you are considering a year 2014 in review of your blog, you can be sure I won't read it. If I am following your blog, I've seen it. 

I enjoyed it the first time around, but no repeats, please. 

I despise "reruns."

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Road Trip (In the Big City)

We are in the Big City. You know, the one with a neighborhood, swimming pool, kiddie park next to the dog poop place, and squirrels and possums and raccoons that have over populated the area. Actually, it sounds more exciting than out at Wetcreek.

Well, yesterday we took a city road trip. 

To avoid "cabin fever" we drove to a HUGE flea market. The weather was drizzling rain and progressively dipping to a chilling temp, but we took a walk along the open stalls of mostly similar goods. JUNK no one needs! Or even wants! I can imagine this could be a busy place in nice weather. But I've seen the acres of little stalls ( even if most weren't open), and we probably won't be coming back to check out the action.

After the Flea Market, we visited Aldi. No plastic bags, some food brands we had never heard of, and paying a quarter to "rent" a shopping cart. I am not really sure how popular this store is (only six customers in the store--we made up half of that!), but I would surely frequent it if there was one near Wetcreek. A gallon of milk for $1.99! And some German food items that we love, such as jarred red cabbage/apples and sauerkraut. So our shopping visit was a success.

Before returning to our son's home to watch the next episode of "House of Cards," we drove through an old suburban neighborhood with some lovely large homes (each on at least an acre of land). Then I saw it! A lovely derelict home in this neighborhood. Mercedes in the driveway! Christmas decorations on the fence gate. And I began to laugh. It was ludicrous that for at least 30 years no one had done anything to or with this home. I didn't look too much at the vehicle, but the wreath and Christmas lights had been up for years. And the white painted walls were green with mold! Soooo Saaaad! We could see into the backyard, and there were numerous dilapidated vehicles. I can only imagine what you would find inside the house. And how this neglect even came about.

Our "chauffeur" made another loop down another street in the area, and we drove by "The Adams Family" house. I kept waiting for someone really spooky to step out the front door.

These decrepid homes sprinkled among the lovely houses made me ready to jump right in and "flip" them. 

Not really, but this was incredible!

Sorry, no photos!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

We try to walk for at least 30 minutes every evening. That routine began three years ago, and temperature doesn't keep us inside in the recliners (nor does Flippy).

This is what our winter wonderland walk might look like today in southwest Louisiana.

Photo Source: Me

And this is what a winter wonderland walk looked like down our road in Zoeterwoude, The Netherlands.

Photo Source: ?

Whatever your weather is, 
Have a Merry Christmas 2014!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Has Facebook Become Grandma's Brag Book?

Warning: Last night I bragged about my great blog numbers, and tomorrow I may be crying about losing followers. Oh, well! Here goes--

How did Facebook become Grandma's Brag Book? 

Remember that little photograph album ( pocketbook size) that your grandma carried around in her cavernous purse? 
The one with photos of her children and their "sprouts" and sometimes even "sprouts of sprouts." 
The one that had your pictures from birth until whenever. 
The same one that contained the most embarrassing snapshots of you and your siblings and cousins and other near or distant relatives. 
You know the one that somehow always appeared when you were trying to impress a new boyfriend/girlfriend?

Well, now Grandma/Grandpa have Facebook instead of a brag book. And they have even convinced your parents and other relatives to cooperate in making photo submissions and commenting.

Next time you browse your family/friends on Facebook, just notice who is posting photos and making comments. 

And who is checking out "Grandma's FaceBook" anyway?

Winter Solstice--Shelfie #12

We have had Oma's cabinet in our home for at least 25 years. It is a beauty on its own, but I keep it "decorated." Here it is ready for Winter.

It won't be long before my daffodils in the yard are blooming. But here they are always on display. This service has original cardboard boxes and was a gift from the DAF factory many moons ago.

We even still have three DAF drinking glasses!

I think I've shown this Antiques Roadshow worthy Clarice Cliff saucer before.

And winter without Schloss Mespelbrunn [ built about 1430] saucer (Royal Bavaria 1977) would not be complete.

Above the cabinet is a thrifted oil painting of a Scheveningen fisherman's wife keeping busy until her husband returns from the sea.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Not Your Mega Blog

This evening around 6:20 p.m. my blog was visited by my 44,444th viewer Kate [Stitches, Scraps and Sparkles in the Sun blog--] Drop by and give Kate's blog a visit. She is a busy stitching/homeschooling mom of two lovely daughters. And I believe that she has a stitching challenge for 2015.

Now for some bloggers, 44,444 views is peanuts. But as I have 48 registered followers, that is an astounding number of pageviews.

And recently I passed my 800th blogpost! Not bad in almost three years of blogging. Guess that makes up for that book that I never got around to writing.

And it all began with this:

Is this your typical family Christmas dinner?

Watch this video ( click: Video )all the way through.

Bet you can identify a few family members ;>}

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fowl Play

I know. I said NO TURKEY for Christmas! 

But what about turkeys before Christmas?

There they are ( those black speckles)!

Chowing down on whatever they can find.

Now up in the side yard.

Views from the bathroom windows. Photographs thanks to my patient hub ;>}.

We counted over 25 turkeys.

Not such pretty birds!

No heads chopped, just preening in the soft December rain.

Wouldn't it be fun to see a big grass carp jumping in this shot?

My own photo opportunity through the back porch screen. They are retreating.

Merry Christmas! 

You Turkeys, you won 't be on a big platter anytime soon ! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Let's Get to the Meat of It!

The bloody truth is that we love meat. Not just any meat, tho'. In fact, we rarely buy chicken. My hub only likes it fried, and everyone knows how unhealthy that "southern fried batter" can be. So we limit our indulgence to Popeye's or Market Basket's (better than Popeye's!!) fried chicken to only a couple of times a year. 

And, no, I do not like dried out chicken breasts. The only way to make those taste like anything edible is to smother them in a delicious gravy or sauce. So chicken is OUT! And we won't even discuss turkey.

My hub is from a meat eating and meat processing background. His paternal grandfather owned pork meat processing plants that distributed to England and Germany before World War I and also World War II. So meat on the table was never an issue. After Opa retired from the meat industry, the meat kept coming to the family. Once a week the family would receive a huge box of meat products from another meat supplier, and my FIL and his older sister would share the contents. Tante Z. lived far away, but her share was always sent to her by mail. Their other sister lived really far away in Indonesia, so mailing her share to her was out of the question. As Opa lived with my hub's family, I always wondered how they divided up the packages.

Let's get to the "meat" of this post. We are NOT eating ham or turkey this Christmas dinner. And, no, not goose or venison like in Scrooge's time. 

Today I ordered a standing rib roast from a real butcher. 

On Christmas Day, no one can ask, "Where's the Meat?"

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My First Fishing License

No, I don't want a pole or reel or lures for Christmas! My fishing license is to have permission to add certain fish to our pond. And  now I have one.

Last summer we noticed an excess amount of vegetation in our pond. And as we have never added fish to our "water feature," we can imagine that what minnows that we do have won't be able to manage the vegetation. Not yet, anyway!

So my hub began some research and with the help of some "experts" determined that we needed grass carp to help keep our pond manageable. Well, first one of us needed a permit to order and own these special veggie eaters. As I am the American citizen, it was my place to apply. And I did. When we arrived home from our trip to The Netherlands, there were my "papers" in the mail.

Hub had already shopped around for grass carp suppliers, and he found one that would deliver our fish about 1 1/2 hours from Wetcreek. So he ordered a dozen 8 inch beauties, and we took possession of them yesterday at lunchtime.

If you have ever managed an aquarium ( or even a goldfish bowl), you know that fish are sold in tied plastic bags with some water and lots of oxygen. For these carp that was not the exception. The two bags were very large, and the fish looked like some we have been served while on vacations in Austria. I suppose at the cost of about $10 each they could possibly be restaurant worthy!

But our plan is to watch them grow and keep our pond tidy. Not eat them! 

So back to the fish "launching" ( not lunching). As recommended by the fish supplier, when we arrived to pick up the fisher's dozen we had two large plastic boxes in the bed of our truck. The largest one was necessary to contain both bags of carp, and they must have sloshed and bounced around all the way back to our place. Guess they had gotten somewhat used to that jostling having made the long trip from near Little Rock down here to us. But Hub drove as calmly as he could and tried to make the trip as quickly as possible. Sometimes that is not easy to do on our Louisiana backroads.

When we arrived at our pond, then the water "tempering" began. I left my hub holding the bags (literally!!) in the shallow water on the edge of the pond for 10 minutes while I scurried home to get twine, a plastic measuring cup, a garden stool, and our garden parasol (since the fish needed shade).
By that time our neighbor had noticed the commotion of two vehicles at the edge of the pond, and he came to see what we were up to.

With the twine, my husband tied the two bags on a sort of leash so they would not drift away and that he could finally stand up straight or even sit on the stool. (He had tried out the big plastic box with no success! Reminds me of my own dad sitting on our styrofoam ice chest at a roadstop up in the New Mexico forest 50 years ago. So much for the styrofoam lid! ;)

After 30 minutes of carp crowding the corners of the bag trying to escape the tight quarters, the water temperature getting nearer the temp at the edge of the pond, and tiny schools of minnows coming in close to check out the new inhabitants, Hub opened each bag carefully. Following the fish supplier's instructions, he began exchanging measuring cups full of fish water and our pond water. We were not looking forward to "fish shock." So far, so good!

The fish seemed to quieten down and when he released them most swam away taking a risk in their new home. Only one fish lingered behind, but I think he had mud in his eyes from the muddy water my hub stirred up along the bank. Then all of the "dirty dozen" had swum away.

This nature stuff is all new to the both of us. We do our best to research and then follow directions so we will do right by Mother Nature. 

And the funniest thing I heard during this experience is when my hub said, "Guess this is as close as I'll get to giving birth." What a Guy!

Oh, by the way, we checked in on our "catch" yesterday afternoon and are sure we saw a few break the water with their noses. And no "bellies up!" Not yet, anyway!

Please don't even utter the word OTTER!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Clean Your House After Your Guests Have Gone

I am a rotten housekeeper, but a super house cleaner! 


Cleaning our house is a job! Since my cleaning girl quit coming, I am left to do the work. Before we went off to The Netherlands back in mid-October, I did a great job cleaning. When we returned five weeks later, I swished out the toilets and overlooked the dust collection and got ready for the family Thanksgiving Dinner.

And I took my dear mom's advice: Clean Your House After Your Guests Have Gone.

Well, for the last week I have been cleaning and sprucing up this place for Christmas. It is time to attack the brick floors again, but we'll wait until January.

Time to throw Flip a few tennis balls. That is much more fun than cleaning house!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Late Autumn in Our Backyard

Warning: Photo Overload!

Forget the cleaning and Christmas decorations! We went for a walk through Mother Nature's backyard, and check out her decorations. Guaranteed 100% Organic!

Please do not expect me to identify forest flora. I am a Master Gardener, not a botanist :>)

Happy family!

Emerging from the muddy soil.

Fairy tables.

That orange!

A beauty!

Cake anyone?

What about this one?

A view from the trees.

Not small potatoes! But mushrooms in the making.

White basin.

Semi-fairy ring.

This reminds me of the illustrations in the children's books I read to DrivingDutchman when he was a child.

Three of a kind.

This is called "the scrape" in deer talk. If deer mating interests you, check out "what hunters are doing wrong" at

Only palm (palmetto?) we saw on our walk.

The road taken. So glad my hub keeps these lanes passable.

Another "scrape." Flip added his pee. That should confuse things!!!

Crooked Creek (aka Wetcreek)

Deep Wetcreek


Look closely.

A man and his dog.

Deep ravine.

Louisiana wild magnolia.

And wild fern.

My brother and his SIL's deer stand. 

If you look carefully, you can see our prairie field.

Here is another view of the prairie.

I am sure that this photographer was photographed. Now those guys will view a "real dear."

Difficult to see, but a deer slide. They must have a blast out here in our backyard playground!

Another slide.

There is that lovely speckled orange again.


Finally Christmas decorations! But not holly.

Grrrrrr! Red ant habitat!!!

More Christmas!

Having fun with my photo app. Nice shot of man and dog, heh?

Berry Merry Christmas from Mother Nature!

Gray berries, not blue ones.

What animals eat these?

Too many of these for one blog post!

Kind of like what could happen with overeating at this time of year.

Definitely not organic! But located in an idyllic spot.

We are almost home, Flip!

Are you sure that isn't an Easter egg?

Oops! Stay on our own property!

Don't eat wild mushrooms!

We can look back on a fine walk in our deep woods.

We'll save this path for another afternoon.