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Hot Pink Mr Bunny Garden Makeover and “Fairies Are Super Cool” vid

The garden/landscaping project continues!

We had a forlorn little terracotta garden rabbit that was hidden in the brush, unpainted, and I wanted to paint it and give the poor old thing a makeover.

he was originally something like the above- I didn’t take a before picture, though.

Maisie INSISTED on choosing the spray paint colors this go ’round, so he had to be hot pink. I didn’t do the greatest job with the spray painting, I honestly just wanted to get it over with. However, it looked really creepy without ‘real’ looking eyes, so the child insisted Mr. Bun get them.

 

I didn’t have any craft paint, so we used sharpies, which turned out to her satisfaction, as far as hot pink bunnies go.

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The made-over Mr Bun

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he also got a nose and mouth

He still looks a little sad and lonely, but at least he now has pizzazz and eyes.

Maisie was very pleased with this project, so all’s well that end’s well!

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Maisie’s 1st Chestnut Gathering Time At Papa’s Farm!

freshly gathered chestnuts!

I haven’t been posting much lately because Maisie’s going through major teething PLUS my iPhone app for WordPress had been on the fritz. I couldn’t post photos without having it crash- but I deleted the app and re-downloaded it and now I’m back in business!

my ‘chestnut can’, which is basically a tin can attached to a long stick, so that you don’t have to bend to pick them up. Next to it is the hedgehog porcupine chestnut burr filled with chestnuts

baskets filled with chestnuts

My dad has a farm about 14 miles away from our house. Every fall, the chestnut trees drop their prickly balls filled with nuts. Picking them from the ground has to happen DAILY for about 2 weeks, or the deer/dogs/other critters will eat them all up. It’s hell on the back, so we use these cans attached to long sticks to retrieve them.

My father is selling them this year for $4.00/lb. If anyone wants any, let me know. I can send them via USPS flat rate priority boxes.

Maisie exploring at my dad’s farm

Maisie had a fantastic time running after my dad’s Aussie, Trooper, and playing in the grass. I worried about her pricking her hands on the sharp chestnut burrs. By the end of the day, we were ALL exhausted from picking and chasing after this child.

my father’s dog, Trooper, running to greet Maisie.

Maisie following Trooper out to where the men are gathering chestnuts

she spots them and starts running toward the trees

  
  

  
  
  

  
  
  

  


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omg!!! Woman targeted in creepy garden statue prank (AND IT’S NOT ME!!! SOMEONE ELSE WENT TO THE COPS ABOUT SAME THING!)

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/29254842/u-s-woman-targeted-in-creepy-garden-statue-prank/?cmp=yfb

I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING TO OTHER PEOPLE!!!

my gnome issues HERE

Someone is creeping out a US neighbourhood with their random garden statue prank.

Since the end of July, 54 garden statues have mysteriously appeared in the front yard of a California woman’s home.

NBC Los Angeles reported, Robyn Yearout claimed she had no idea why someone would want to place garden statues in her yard.

Ceramic gnomes, lions, bunnies and other statues have appeared in recent weeks, some of them were even broken.

One of the statues. Photo NBC News

She felt it was creepy because many of the statues had been positioned to face her front door.

Ms Yearout confirmed only two of the statues actually belonged to her.

“We walked out in the morning and we had a group of them looking at us when we came out the door,” she told NBC.

Photo: NBC News

“As if they were plotting against us.

“I assumed that instead of being TP’d (toilet papered), I got yard-creatured”.

Ms Yearout said she’d been in contact with her local police and hoped to return the statues to their rightful owner.

Ms Yearout felt the prank was really unusual. Photo NBC News
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Gnome Issues: THE SICK BASTARDS

gnoe

Gnome madness continues.

Mr. Tickles the Gnome (that’s what he was named, so he wouldn’t scare the baby) is one scary m*thaf*cka.

This is NOT something I want to see when I am half-awake and going out to the porch to get my paper.

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Serious Weirdness Continues: ANOTHER THREE GNOMES Showed Up Today- WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?!?!?!

my kid with 2 of the 3 new 'mystery gnomes' that showed up today. Apparently, they are now MAILING THEMSELVES TO MY HOUSE.

my kid with 2 of the 3 new ‘mystery gnomes’ that showed up today.
Apparently, they are now MAILING THEMSELVES TO MY HOUSE.

WOW.

If you read my previous post you’ll know that I’ve been having a seriously strange thing happen over the last year: GNOMES have simply been APPEARING in my garden and on my porch, out of nowhere. I have no idea who is doing this.

So I wake up today and the mailman left packages on my porch from Amazon. I thought nothing of it, as we order stuff in for Maisie all the time. I had a Fisher Price Little People house coming in, so I thought it was just arriving early.

I open up the packages and there are THREE FREAKING NEW GNOMES INSIDE! The packing slip said it was a gift, with no name, no sender info, NOTHING. I questioned everyone in this house, my parents- no one sent it from my end. To top everything off, they were HILARIOUS.

imagine my SHOCK when I opened the package and these stared up at me...

imagine my SHOCK when I opened the package and these stared up at me…

One was a flasher with an obvious hard-on (omg, they MAKE THESE THINGS?!), the other was a female gnome STRIPPER, and the THIRD gnome was a larger ZOMBIE GNOME!!!!

yeah... this was the first one Maisie spied and took a shine to

yeah… this was the first one Maisie spied and took a shine to

For some reason (of course), Maisie spotted the flasher gnome, gave a squeal and crawled right to him. The zombie scared her a little, as it has these huge creepy hands, so I named him “Mr Tickles” and pretended he was going to tickle her. It seemed to do the trick, as she started chewing on him and playing with the hideous thing.

Maisie and "Mr Tickles" the Zombie gnome

Maisie and “Mr Tickles” the Zombie gnome

My father suggested I post that ‘someone needs to stop leaving these $20 dollar bills on my porch’ and maybe THOSE would show up instead.

my father thinks I should have complained about 'mysterious $20 dollar bills show up on the porch' instead

my father thinks I should have complained about ‘mysterious $20 dollar bills show up on the porch’ instead

I wish someone would tell me if they’re doing this. It’s an expensive prank! I am still completely freaked out about this.

Maisie was rather TOO enchanted with the flasher

Maisie was rather TOO enchanted with the flasher

Now I am going to have a colony of filthy rude pervert gnomes living in my flower beds. I am almost scared to look through the weeds to see if any more are out there that I missed.

Mr Tickles the Zombie gnome is huge.

Mr Tickles the Zombie gnome is huge and scary looking

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Dinner Tonight: Summer Pasta with Zucchini, Fresh Ricotta, and Wild Arugula- plus a Zuppa Toscana with Turkey Sausage and Turkey Bacon

the finished products

the finished products

Starting these recipes was a NIGHTMARE. Maisie is going through a horrible separation anxiety stage– I waited until she went down for her usual afternoon nap before starting to cook.  She is usually asleep for 1-3 hours after lunch, so I figured I had ample time to get dinner started.  SO wrong.  Not 10 minutes after I’d snuck away, I hear a piercing shriek from her pack n’ play… ah, the joys of motherhood!

ANYWAY, the same friend who sent the fresh ricotta idea, also sent this delicious looking recipe for a summer pasta.

Right now the basil growing in my garden is kinda skimpy.  I have a couple of varieties, which I started late in the season: sweet basil, cinnamon basil, and (I think) a Thai basil.

As fortune would have it, I DO have an abundance of wild arugula growing out of control in every nook and cranny of my yard- and I LOVE it for pestos and salads. This is the same arugula that I mentioned in an earlier post.  My mom smuggled it from Italy in her underwear (the seeds, not the plants). I am sure she probably violated a ton of laws, but now she has dementia, so they probably won’t throw her in the slammer.

I really love this variation of this plant more than the standard ones you find at the market. It has a sharper, cleaner ‘zing’ than the (legal) garden varieties you find commonly in the US. It also NEVER dies and never needs replanting. It’s as prolific as a dandelion, except easier to remove from the lawn and sidewalk.

More about this renegade version of arugula (also called ‘wall rocket’) here.

From this article on Wall Rocket:

“Unlike cultivated rocket, wall rocket is a perennial. The flavour is different, too: it has the spicy notes that salad rocket hints at, but they punch through with a powerful heat. By August, the leaves are so peppery they are best cooked for 30 seconds in boiling water, or a few chopped and added to a salad. I like the leaves torn on to a pizza just out of the oven as an alternative to chillies. The young leaves I like in warm salads with strong flavours – chorizo, parmesan or goat’s cheese; it also goes well with oily fish.”

this wild arugula was smuggled to America (by seed) about 14 yrs ago in my mother's underwear. It came from somewhere near Florence, Italy- where my cousin lives.

the renegade wild arugula was smuggled to America (by seed) about 14 yrs ago in my Filipino mother’s underwear. It came from somewhere near Florence, Italy- where my cousin lives.

At the local farmer’s market, while raiding my favorite Swiss baker’s stall for fresh quiches and Cannelés Bordelais, I was lucky enough to score some fresh zucchini (2 for a buck) from the next stand over. I had no idea then what I was going to do with zucchini, but it seemed like a good idea at the time to buy it. I am now so glad that I did.

gratuitous food porn shot of Cannelés Bordelais from Marianne at the Chalet Suisse Bakery here in SW Michigan.  They are one of maybe FIVE PLACES in the entire Midwest to even bake these morsels of sweet perfection- Eat your hearts out!

gratuitous food porn shot of Cannelés Bordelais from Marianne at the Chalet Suisse Bakery here in SW Michigan. They are one of maybe FIVE PLACES in the entire Midwest to even bake these morsels of sweet perfection-
Eat your hearts out!

When my son tasted the following recipe, he said: “Wow, this is like pesto and alfredo mixed together!”- it was!  I was very pleased with how this turned out.  The freshly made ricotta (I made a new batch this afternoon) really makes this dish. So creamy and garlicky and rich.

when I say I 'squish' the garlic, I mean I use the mortar and pestle- Filipino style

when I say I ‘squish’ the garlic, I mean I use the mortar and pestle- Filipino style

Summer Pasta with Zucchini, Fresh Ricotta, and Wild Arugula

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices (a mandoline works great for this)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, squished and chopped
  • 2 cups of wild arugula
  • 1 box of Ziti pasta
  • 8 ounces ricotta, about 1 cup (see earlier post for recipe)
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan, pecorino or a mixture, about 1 cup, plus more for serving
  1. Put a pot of water on to boil. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat as necessary to keep onions from browning. Add zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.

    sautéing the onions and zucchini

    sautéing the onions and zucchini

  2. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to pound garlic, arugula and a little salt into a rough paste (or use a mini food processor). Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Salt the pasta water well and put in the pasta, stirring. Boil per package instructions but make sure to keep pasta quite al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
  4. Add cooked pasta to zucchini in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add 1/2 cup cooking water, then the ricotta, crushed red pepper and lemon zest, stirring to distribute. Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for 1 minute more. Mixture should look creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Add the arugula paste and half the grated cheese and quickly stir to incorporate. Spoon pasta into warm soup plates and sprinkle with additional cheese. Serve immediately.

    aa

    YUM

I’ve been wanting to make a Zuppa Toscana for the longest time.  I am almost embarrassed to admit that the first one I ever tried was from the chain Olive Garden, but I loved it.  It’s probably the only thing on their menu I actually liked. We have a ton of Tuscan kale growing in the garden right now, which is a major ingredient in this soup. I am a kale freak- I like it juiced, fried, in soups, in salads (especially the raw vegan massaged kale salads- yum), you name it.

Kale fresh from my garden

Kale fresh from my garden

I don’t eat pork, so I had to substitute turkey Italian sausage and turkey bacon for the regular versions.

Jess’ Zuppa Toscana

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely diced
  • 2 Sweet Italian turkey sausages, chopped
  • 4 slices of turkey bacon, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, squished and chopped
  • 2 cups of tuscan/black/dinosaur kale, sliced/chopped
  • 3 Idaho potatoes, roughly chopped.
  • 2 boxes chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • Pinch of saffron (I used Persian saffron)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Add a little olive oil to a soup pot and use to fry the sausage and bacon, crumbling even further as you fry. Cook until well browned then drain any excess oil. Add garlic and onions and fry til soft.

2. Add the water, stock, pinch of saffron, and potatoes to the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the potatoes are tender (about 25 minutes). Add the kale. Cook for 10 minutes then stir-in the cream and season to taste.

3. Remove half of the soup to another large bowl. Puree half of the soup with an inversion blender. Return reserved soup to pot to combine.  Simmer for 5 minutes longer and then ladle into warmed soup bowls and serve.

Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

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Serious Weirdness: GNOMES keep showing up out of NOWHERE in my yard!!!

The newest batch of mystery gnomes- even Maisie doesn't know what to make of them!

The latest batch of mystery gnomes- even Maisie doesn’t know what to make of them!

This has been an on-going problem for about a year now.

I bought a funny gnome last year and placed it in my yard. I KNOW where that one came from…

this was my first gnome.  I bought him and I know where he comes from.

this was my first gnome. I bought him and I know where he comes from. The writing beneath his feet says “Say Hello to my Little Friend”

Suddenly, another appeared.  I didn’t think too much of it- and I asked everyone in the house, no one here purchased any additional gnomes.

this was the first

this was the first “mystery” gnome to show up. He is unassuming and I didn’t find him for quite some time…

Not long after THAT, I found ANOTHER one that looked like it was smoking weed in my garden- I KNEW that couldn’t be a fluke.  I don’t even know where to buy a marijuana smoking gnome, for god sakes!

Again, I question the people in my house, folks on Facebook, family members- no one ‘fesses up.

the weed smoking gnome that really started to get me rather freaked out- he showed up this year, earlier in the spring

this is the weed smoking gnome that really started to get me rather freaked out- he showed up this year, earlier in the spring

Months went by and I forgot about the previous gnome incidents until this evening, when I discovered not ONE, but THREE little gnomes sitting in a messy garden bed near my steps.  They are “Hear No Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil” gnomes. I was told by the manny that they’d been there for about a week- I didn’t even NOTICE THEM (as usual) til today.  I’ve not been very vigilant about weeding my garden beds this year, so I have no idea whether there may be more of them in the underbrush or what…

the three little gnomes that appeared today

the three little gnomes that appeared today

People have suggested that I ‘take them on adventures’- but I don’t have just ONE gnome, I have an ENTIRE FREAKING COLONY FORMING!!  If I took them anywhere, it would look like the gnome version of Jim Jones’ colony in Guyana.

I might as well make gnome-sized grape kool-aid and resign myself to this every-growing invasion of gnome-titude.

Whoever my gnome benefactor(s) is/are, thank you.  You’re twisted people who obviously delight in driving me crazy.

I am officially perplexed.  This is one of the funniest, weirdest, longest running mysteries to ever happen to me.