Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cooking and Other Questionable Holiday Practices

Autumn is definitely over for us and it's about time!
Looking at my poor garden all brown and dead was starting to get me down.
Now that Mother Nature has tidied things up, it's time to party. 

In anticipation of the upcoming holidays Burt has been cooking up a storm.

Yes, even fruitcake. He doesn't add any of those weird, hard rubber-like squares of citron or plasticized cherries. It's all dried fruits and nuts, kind of an appropriate recipe for him. 

Of course his favorite part comes at the end, dousing it in cognac. He's a little behind this year, it needs to sit in the fridge for a least a month for all the alcohol to evaporate. Guess it will just have to wait until Christmas. It's a cake Nick looks forward to enjoying during the holiday season and luckily for him it lasts a long, long, long time. It's really not too bad after a couple glasses of port though.

Hmmm, which does weigh more? The bowling ball seems surprised.

Meanwhile, onto the cranberry sauce, another one of those questionable holiday dishes. At least it looks pretty and I have to admit that it wouldn't seem like Thanksgiving without the aroma of it cooking in the kitchen and seeing that ruby glow. If it's not on the table at dinner everyone asks where it is but considering how much is always left over, I'm not sure if anyone actually eats it!

Can you guess the special ingredient?

Finally, something almost everyone will eat. Nick made the pumpkin pie while Burt supervised.

Mad Hatter to Mad Scientist? Subtle difference.

The next challenge, adding a leaf the dining room table and rounding up enough chairs.
There's always something that turns up unexpectedly, thankfully this time it was only a catnip mouse.

Catnip always gets the attention of the resident bad kitty.
Come on Burt, no teasing even if he does deserve it for jumping on the table!

All finished and ready for overindulgence. Good job Burt, Mr. Carson would approve.
Now we just have to keep the kitties off the table.

Of course it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without some football games! The important ones for Burt and friends aren't until this weekend. The rivalry between the Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota has been going on since 1890. For the first fifty years the trophy was a called "a slab of bacon", now it's an actual axe. Burt got out the music for the fight song and is boning up for the big game.

So what are your favorite holiday indulgences?
Do you have any great vegetarian recipes, seriously I could really use some!

. . . and so it begins!
 Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today from Burt and his crew!
Thanks for visiting. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where in the hill is Burt?

All the beautiful leaves are gone and the forest is down to it's bare bones.

The prairie at Mosquito Hill, in shades of wheat, rust, taupe . . . 

and bone. 
(Sorry, that was awful but I just couldn't help myself!)

Things are looking a little bit spooky, even in the daylight.

The perfect time for a walk. First stop is the frog pond. No mosquitos today!

It is looking pretty shallow, though.

Next it's onto the hill and the intrepid explorers set off up the north trail.

When Nick stops to take a photo we realize Burt is nowhere to be seen. Where could he be?

Shhh? What is he up to?

 Nick picked just the perfect spot to change the film in his camera.

The perfect spot for Burt, that is.

Ha! How could he not see that coming?

Eventually we reach the top. The view has changed quite a bit since October.
Wow Burt, that looks comfortable.

Then we heard something behind us, a half dozen or so deer!
  Of course when we turned back around Burt had disappeared again.

We decided to go back down the trail expecting we would eventually run into him.
Hope he's not hiding in the birch trees.

When we were almost to the bottom of the hill he sent us a selfie from the top!

Did I mention it was also starting to get dark? 

Actually he was just a few feet away, at the big maple tree, laughing at us!

Ah, November. grey skies, cold winds and freezing temperatures.
Needless to say we didn't let him out of our sight for the rest of the walk.

How is your November shaping up?  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Pre-Thanksgiving Panic!

Our families are spread out from coast to coast and all parts in-between so we've given up on getting together for the winter holidays in favor of a summer reunion. Except for last year. At the last minute we ended up making Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. To be honest, when I say "we" I really mean Nick, he cooked while I frantically cleaned the house and polished the silver. So to avoid having a last minute scramble to create a festive look, this year we are starting a whole week early. 

 It's about time we got to work hauling all the Halloween stuff upstairs! I'm embarrassed to admit that most years I get the Halloween decorations put up just in time for the big day and then they stay around until well into December. Even though that wasn't the case this year, thanks to Marfi at Incipient Wings and Haunted Humpdays, I still find it hard to put away my favorite holiday trappings. 

Apparently someone else does too.
No hiding, Burt! Time to get packing, it's almost Thanksgiving!

The people who built our house managed to transform every available nook and cranny into a storage space. This was one fantastic idea in my opinion and I've done my best to put them all to good use. Unfortunately, it appears there's not quite enough room for a skeleton in the Halloween cupboard!

Or down in the basement either. Well Burt, I guess you will just have to stay out all year round.
Everything else has to be put away though.

Alright, maybe not everything. Please no more sad puppy dog looks.

Yes, the cute painting done by Maria at CozyComfyCouch can stay, too. It was nice of her to have a great giveaway during the fantastic party hosted by Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist. Thanks to you both.

On the other hand, some decorations are just asking to be put away.

 It's going really well, though . . .

... especially because Burt takes it so seriously!
Ok, the velvet pumpkins can stay, they're in fall colors. Searching the craft stores for anything not
related to Christmas is really pointless past the middle of October. Last year I only had enough decorations for the kitchen and dining room. I did find some cartoonish fabric in autumn colors and made no-sew window valances for the kitchen. Along with a fall travel poster it sort of took on a Thanksgiving atmosphere. No one mentioned the lack of turkey decorations elsewhere in the house probably because we always end up hanging out in the kitchen the whole time anyway.

Well, it's time to swap out the posters, hope he's careful that frame is kind of a heavy.

Oops! What do you think Stewart, is he ok?

Well, he's smiling, glad there's no broken bones.

On to the Thanksgiving decorations. Birds and pilgrims. Pathetic.
To bad we don't have any larger ones.

Thanks Burt, they're definitely larger but not turkeys. Good try though.

Ok Burt, you rest while I get the bunnies and easter eggs out of the curio.

Sorry for being absent for so long. Our internet service seems to be possessed by evil spirits. 
With luck it will be sorted out sometime this week. See you soon, I hope.