Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finally, a brush with greatness!

Daisy and I didn't win a major award at the Howl-O-Ween costume contest, but we did get to meet Bill and Star and we got their autographs. And unlike some dogs, Daisy didn't try to attack the celebrity while she was performing!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My first pumpkin pie

I found pie pumpkins at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and, consumed by a fit of D-I-Y cooking inspiration, I bought one. I finally got around to roasting it last week and made a pie over the weekend.

About midway through the actual pie construction, I realized I didn't have the evaporated milk the recipe called for, so I substituted heavy cream. In my world, all recipes are made better with heavy cream.

For those, like myself, who haven't had a pumpkin (and FYI, that's pronounced PONkin) pie made from fresh pumpkin, it is a fluffier pie than the canned version. The flavor is a little brighter, too. Everyone was convinced that I had added some sort of booze to the recipe, with guesses ranging from whiskey to Bénédictine, but I had not. Sheesh, you sneak in one Jack Daniels pecan pie to Thanksgiving and you get a reputation!

From Food

Here is the recipe I used, from my stained and battered copy of The Southern Living Cookbook:

2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 unbaked 10-inch pastry shell

Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, egg yolks, spices, and salt in a large mixing bowl; beat until light and fluffy (NOTE: I used a food processor for this). Add evaporated milk; mix just until combined.

Beat egg whites until foamy; gradually add sugar, beating until stiff. Fold into potato mixture. Pour filling into pastry shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 45 to 50 minutes or until set.

Cool. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mexican mint marigold is a hit, but what IS this thing?

Earlier this year I planted Mexican mint marigold, which can be grown here in Texas as a replacement for tarragon. It actually does taste fairly close to tarragon, though whenever I plant something experimental there is always a part of me that is absolutely sure that the plant is mislabeled and what I'm growing is actually poisonous, hallucinogenic or something else undesirable. That's the problem with growing your own food, at least for someone who reads too much Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

My MMM is now blooming, so I went out to take some pictures of it's purtiness. It was in full sun at the time and the nectar was obviously flowing, because it was a nectar-feeding-species bonanza. A blooming Golden Corral for insects. There were bees, bee-like things and butterflies, all swarming around. The nectar must have been good stuff because they were willing to let me take pictures. It was Friday afternoon. Maybe they were having happy hour.


Metallic green bee?

Variegated fritillary, I think

And now, what the heck is this? Is it a bee? A bee fly? Something that managed to sneak in from an alternate universe? What???

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pretty cars

My first car was a 1966 Mustang. A 289 V8 bored out to 302 with a 4 barrel Holley carb and a finicky 4 speed manual transmission. It was Wimbledon White with Dark Ivy Green Shelby stripes and a parchment and white Pony interior. It was a great car, especially for a 16 year old girl. Driving a shiny, growly muscle car gets you a lot of attention from the boys!

My second car was a 1984 ex-Texas DPS highway patrol Mustang. That car was fast! It could also corner like nobody's business. When I first got it, it was painted a drab taupe color (they called it bronze, but that name is definitely too ambitious) and it still had the cop spotlights on the front. It was funny watching people slam on the brakes when they passed me on the highway. My dad had it painted an obnoxious orangey-red (Porsche Guard Red, I believe) and had the spotlights removed. It was a pretty sweet ride. The only weird thing about it was that the rear tires wore out every 5 to 6 months. Never could quite figure that one out... (*scratches head in bemusement*)

Anyway, all of this is to say that I *love* cars. Especially older sports cars. So whenever I hear of a car show nearby, I try to go, which led Spork and I to Lindale over the weekend. It was a beautiful day for a drive in the Triumph and there were quite a few cars there to ogle, around 200 or so. It was billed as a classic car, motorcycle and tractor show, but there were only 2 motorcycles and 2 tractors (Spork felt ripped off! He also felt the British cars were underrepresented.). There were also quite a few modern cars and while I'm sure the owners have put in a lot of work in them, I'm there to see the old cars.

Sadly, my camera batteries died immediately upon arrival, so I had to resort to my cell phone for pictures.

Here is a very nice 1966 Mustang. Want.
From Lindale Classic Car Show

A 1930s something-or-other. I think these cars are pretty, but I'm useless at identifying them.
From Lindale Classic Car Show

The coolest car at the show was a 1926 Rolls-Royce that is still regularly driven today. It was parked by a Ferrari, but no one was paying the Ferrari any attention. Poor Ferrari guy.
From Lindale Classic Car Show

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I've felt about as eloquent as an angst-ridden teenager lately. My only response to the question, "What's going on, Ellie May?" has been an unimpressive, "Nothin'" I'm pretty sure I'm sporting the bad posture to go along with the 'tude, but at least I'm not rolling my eyes. Only because I can't actually roll my eyes. I can cross them, but I can't roll them. Someone please explain that to me.

In an effort to combat angst-ridden-teenager syndrome (ARTS), here I am back at the old blog. Let's hope I can think of something to share.

This morning, we went to the weekly brekkie at my parents' house and my niece, Traci, was there with a new friend, Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth is only four weeks old, but the mother dog stopped taking care QE and her siblings. Traci's boyfriend, Jeremy, is apparently a soft touch. He took pity on poor little QE and brought her home to care for. They already have one white schnauzer, His Most Supreme Royal Highness Roose, so they'll be a matched set when QE is a little bigger.

Tired Roose

This afternoon, Spork and I took Arlo and Daisy for a power walk through the woods. I was in the lead and since I have a tendency to watch about 9 feet ahead of me while I walk (if you grow up with farm animals - you watch where you step!), I saw something up ahead of me, but it took about 3 more steps before my brain registered "snake, copperhead"! It was a big one, too, between 3 and 4 feet long. Spork and I scared it off the trail and took the dogs home, but when we went back to detach its head from its tail (a headectomy?), we couldn't find the snake. Spork was prepared with a pitchfork and a hoe, but I was armed with the camera in the hopes of getting a picture.

On the way back from the failed snake assassination/photo shoot, I stopped to admire the leaf cutter ants and their new domain.

Taking leaf parts back to the mound

All the sandy spots are part of the ant hill

The ants are big, maybe 1/2-inch long and their colonies are huge. This one is about 12 feet in diameter and they've only been building it since this summer. They used to live on the land behind us, but since we are just so awesome, they moved in with us. That's right, ants dig us.

Finally, even though something has eaten all the foliage off my roses (I suspect deer), Double Delight managed to give us a bloom this week.

See, that was just one day's worth of adventure. Not sure why, "Nothin'" is all that comes to mind lately.