Thursday, June 30, 2005

Well, I never...

Living where we do, we do a lot (and I mean a lot) of online shopping. From eBay purchases to retail stores, we buy a good portion of our goods thru the net. But this last purchase, well, it really threw me.

Hubby needed new blades for his weedeater, so we found this company on line (ZACM Company out of Wisconsin), they had great prices and reasonable shipping, so we ordered four dozen blades.

A week later we receive four (single) blades. So I fire off an email, they respond that they screwed up and would send the balance of the order.

Wait another week. It finally arrives. Four packages, two of which are open. We count the blades, forty two. Still two blades short, so hubby gives them a call. He gets a machine, leaves a nice message asking where the other two blades are.

They call back. Mark Somebody (wouldn't give his last name). He called my better half a liar and told him he was full of s**t. (His exact words).

I've heard of bad customer service, but sheesh...well, I never heard of anything like this. I mean, why would we try to cheat these people out of two weedeater blades?

Get real.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

By golly, I finally found them...

The eggs, I mean.

Our last remaining hen flew the coop about three weeks ago (and who could blame her being in there with 4 roosters). Anyway, she's been wandering around the yard and generally living it up. The only problem for us, is we couldn't find her eggs.

Well today, I found them. Little hen had made a nest right in the middle of a poison ivy patch. She's not setting them, as she's constantly running around the front part of the property. So after changing clothes and donning leather gloves, I took a basket to recover the eggs. I left two in the hopes she will continue laying.

At first, I thought I would float test them to determine which ones were still good and throw out the rest. I figured I'd end up with maybe half of the 21 eggs. But I was wrong, all of them but two passed the test, so we have a good number of eggs to eat over the coming days.

Maybe nows the time to start thinking about getting more chicks, or maybe I'll check with the neighbor about getting some eggs to incubate.

And maybe it's time to retire those four roosters to the slow cooker.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Essential Software

Well, it's been an interesting day today. Extremely hot outside, so I sat down at the computer to try to do some writing. I have lots of writing I NEED to be doing, but instead I ended up writing a software review for this wonderful natural healing software I picked up earlier this week.

It's very rare for me to praise software, even though I use enough of it. But this program is worthy of praise. It's simple to use and gives me the answers I look for when I'm looking for any type of alternative medicine. With the summer cold I've been carrying around for the last week, it has been a godsend.

Want to read the review, go here:

Tomorrow, I'll get back to writing what needs to be written - today, I'm just going to play.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Of Modems, Freelancing, and other things

Lost the modem on the desktop yesterday. Big helicopter flys over, modem makes a strange noise and boom, lost connection and dead modem. Made me very glad that I have two modems that will work in the laptop. At least, I can still do my thing online.

Of course, the laptop modems are a bit slower, but then again, all I'm doing is uploading text for the most part. That's what I do as a freelance writer. Write my articles, then upload them to the appropriate site. I will have to buy another modem for the desktop soon though, or my website will suffer. The software I use is on the desktop and I suppose I could transfer it all to the laptop, but why? It's just a matter of running to Wal-mart and picking up another one.

The one think I'm sure of, next time I hear the low flying whooop, whooop, whooop of helicopter blades, I will be unplugging - at least until they have passed.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Sun is Shining

Finally. The main problem with dial-up is thunderstorms. Unstable air guarantees that I will not be online. In fact, the first hint of thunder has me running around shutting down computers, unplugging phone lines (not just from the modem, but also the cordless phone) and waiting for the storm to pass.

The past five days have been like that. Maybe an hour online a day, the rest of the time, waiting for the storms to pass. Not that we didn't need the rain, we did. Our gardens are loving the extra moisture. But come on, mother nature, do we really need the theatrics? Can't you just send gentle rains? I can really live without the power surges and the other problems thunder and lightening bring.

I am grateful the sun is out today. The tiger lilies outside the living room window look like they've grown a foot in the last couple of days and are about ready to bloom. With the blue sky, my mood is better and I'm ready to take on the world. One keyword at a time. After all, that's how I earn my money here in the backwoods, one word at a time.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Disaster for me - Heaven for the cats

Yesterday afternoon, after bring what was to be the mozzarella cheese up to room temperature (it had been soaking in whey in the fridge for two days); I was ready to begin the next step in the cheese making experiment.

Watching carefully, I brought my whey up to 180 degrees - just like the book said. I unwrapped my cheese ball from the cheesecloth and placed it in the warmed whey.

Again, like the book said, I took two wooden spoons and started working the curds. According to the book, the curds were supposed to become elastic and would then be easily rolled into balls.

Well, something went wrong somewhere. My cheese didn't become elastic. Nope, my cheese melted back into the whey. The more I worked the curds the smaller they became until all I was left with was what I can only call liquid cheese.

I had to laugh. This was the worst cooking disaster I had ever had and I've had some good ones. So what to do with the mess in the pot? I didn't want to pour it down the sink.

Then I looked outside the patio doors and there was Stubbers (our stub tailed Persian cat) with her two kittens. I wondered if they would like it. After dumping the whole mess into a bowl, I took it outside.

The cats, Stubbers and her kittens along with Inky and her kittens, went crazy for the stuff. Within an hour, all signs of my disaster were gone.

Will I try again? You bet, next week. But for now, I think I'll have my better half pick some Mozzarella up at the store.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Experiments in Hard Cheese

Lately, I've been trying my hand at again making hard cheeses, such as Farmhouse Cheddar. The real trick, even here in the backwoods, is finding fresh milk. Currently, I have one batch curing using fresh milk and a second batch using store bought milk.

It's all an experiment for me. Back when I had my old homestead, fresh goat's milk was always available since I raised and milked 13 does daily. Here, I don't have that many goats.

I'm also trying my hand at a few Italian cheeses, such as Mozzarella. Ricotta is always easy, (the recipe is on my website) but I'm guessing that lasagna from scratch would be even better with fresh, homemade mozzarella cheese on top.

As it stands now, it will be at least a month or two before I will know if I'd had success with the hard cheeses. If so, I'll be sure to put the recipes on my Backwoods Living pages. The mozzarella cheese, well, I should know that by the end of the week. Like the hard cheeses, if I'm successful, I'll list that recipe on my pages also.

Stay tuned here for word.