Monday, June 17, 2013

Three Dead Rats and a Lovely Father's Day

   Mrs Buzz Saw seems to be pretty diligent about teaching her kittens the ropes of being a cat.  When I came home from church yesterday afternoon, the kittens were all sleeping on the living room floor next to their favorite toy, a two foot tall scratching post. I didn't notice anything strange and proceeded into the bedroom to change. When I came back out I saw something unusual. Not just one, but three dead baby rats, strategically placed on the living room carpet. It looked like Mrs. Buzz Saw brought in a play thing for each of her kittens.  While I am very happy that the cat is killing rats, I'm less thrilled about her leaving them on the living room carpet.  I'm not even sure they are our rats.  She spends considerable time hunting at the neighbors.

Three dead baby rats on the living room carpet

      The rest of Father's Day went pretty well.  I got to spend time on the phone with my children. I cooked some pork chops smothered in mushroom gravy. I also baked two rhubarb pies.  The pies turned out very well, but I did have some problems with my pie crust technique. It defeats the purpose of using ice water when you make the dough if you spend an hour on the phone with your daughters in the middle of the process. I guess I can live with merely great pie crust as opposed to incredibly great pie crust. I made two rhubarb pies because I had bought that much rhubarb. How sad would it have been if I had been short on rhubarb?  I used the Emeril Lagasse pie crust recipe which uses lard and butter rather than shortening. Rob Morrill, a friend from church, is a brother rhubarb lover. We spent some time earlier in the day discussing rhubarb pie and he persuaded me to try his crumble crust. What really sold me was his idea of including chopped hazel nuts in the crust.  As it turned out, it was a good thing I had bought twice the rhubarb I needed as the double crust  recipe was sufficient for two pies with enough left over for a baking sheet full of cinnamon sugar pie crust. James and Beth called right before I put the pies into the oven to ask about coming over for a visit.  I was able to send one pie home with them. That saved me from having to eat two rhubarb pies all by myself as Linda doesn't care for them.
Rhubarb pie with a hazelnut crumble crust
     Some of you may be wondering why I bought rhubarb. I have to confess that my previous rhubarb patch had fallen on hard times. The spot was no longer as sunny as it had once been and the rhubarb wasn't prospering. In fact, I thought it had died out and actually bought some replacement roots to start a new patch. That was a sad thing as I had gotten the original rhubarb starts from my dad when they lived in Sunnyside, Washington. I felt like I had been negligent with a family heirloom. My new rhubarb patch is doing okay but I didn't want to pick any stalks the first year. I wanted the plants to have a chance to get well established. Then when I was weeding near the old rhubarb patch a few weeks ago I discovered that one of the plants was still alive. I plan to transplant it to the new patch this fall so I can preserve my dad's rhubarb. I love the idea of handing out rhubarb starts to the grandkids that came from their great grandpa's garden.

    I also received some interesting little questionnaires James' and Beth's kids filled out about their grandpa. One of my favorite questions was "My Grandpa spends most of his day....."  John, who is almost three, thinks Grandpa spends most of his day in his van and drives to McDonalds.  Seven year old Britton said "My Grandpa spends most of his day with his grandchildren." Almost five year old Lucy said I spend most of my day".. with the bees. He feeds his goats".  Another interesting question was "My Grandpa loves me because..."  John's response was "because he does."  Lucy said because "I'm his grandkid."  Britton said my Grandpa loves me "because I'm one of his grandchildren."   I also liked the question "My Grandpa is really good at..."  Briton said I'm really good at making pickles while Lucy said I was good at making Grandpa juice. John said I was good at working in the yard. I guess I must get a little yard work done when I'm not driving my van to McDonalds.

    I also got a different questionnaire from my son James. He said I love food with character which I think is a very apt description. He said my job was a "Professional hobbyist". It will be as soon as I sell the bee store. My favorite was how he finished the sentence "My Dad loves when I... "with "show up". I think he nailed that one. I can't think of anything that makes me happier than to simply have kids and grandkids visiting.

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