Has this ever happened to you?

Yesterday I was thinking of baked potatoes to go with the broiled lamb steak and broccoli I wanted to serve for dinner.  Usually we don’t get baked potatoes for dinner because I fail to prep in time to serve them.

So my reasoning for quick baked potato prep went like this:

Wash potatoes; put into cold oven; set heat for 375 degrees; set timer for one hour; go watch program on TV while they bake.

Easy-peasy-baked potatoes!

The timer went off and I went to the kitchen to check to see if the potatoes were done.  I gave the one on the right a quick squeeze and it appeared to be done.  I checked the one on the left and it still felt a bit hard.

“Odd.”  I thought

What happened next was stunning!  I began to pull my hand out of the oven, thinking to let it finish baking, and

POOHhhh!

It exploded covering the entire oven and the oven door with potato dust!

Now I am certain that we have all heard the admonishment to prick your potatoes before baking, but has any one of you ever actually experienced this event?  I would venture to guess that you, like me (until last evening) has not.  ;)

I went looking to find some scientific explanation of how this works, and strangely no one learned speaks of such common science.  However, those of us with even limited exposure to scientific learning know that anything that builds up pressure without allowing it to vent will explode.  Ever had a balloon pop in your face when you tried to inflate it?

(Only in the 60s could they bring this to you with such verve… HA!)

In the case of my potato, it had built up steam and my little squeeze caused a weakening in the skin.  I am very grateful that the exploding potato waited for me to remove my hand and stand up before blowing up!

Potato-explosionOf all the potatoes I have ever baked this is the first to explode on me.  

Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later.   My brand new oven has now been christened.   :shock:

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There were two things I did differently this time:

  • I didn’t coat the skins with olive oil 
  • I put them in to cook while the oven came to temperature

This could have had something to do with it, or it could have been just a fluke.     One thing is certain;  from now on I will stab all my potatoes before baking!

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Now there are some out there who think this can only happen in a microwave, and others who think this is just an old wives tale.  I am here to tell you that they are wrong.

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Has anyone else out there been the victim of strange kitchen science?

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ACCOLADES:  My husband Bob cleaned up the mess for me while I went out put the animals away, and when I came back in the mess was gone.  Isn’t he sweet!

A moment in time

Saturday was an epic day.  I was able to slowly, and carefully, walk the whole trail at the Mountain Farmlet.  I won’t say my knee didn’t hurt, but I didn’t swell up either.  Then on the way home we saw this…

The-end-of-the-day-1w

It was a promise of rain on the way that was delivered overnight.  We are not  in the deep freeze, and life is getting more comfortable!

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How was your weekend?

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By the way,  I went to the specialist and I have arthritis in my knee.  No surprises there I guess.   I have it in my fingers and elsewhere, though thankfully not so painfully.  The Dr gave me several options;  I chose a shot and some exercises to do, with a return appointment scheduled for the end of February.  By the way, I am happy to tell you that a shot in your knee is way less painful than one in your thumb joint!  ;)

 

Photo Friday: find the Claus

Find the kitty!

Where-is-Claus

OK, I sorta tricked you.  Claus is not in this picture.  Although, there is a good-looking leaf pile replica that some of you found right off.  Good eyes, my friends!  :) 

This morning I was looking into the back forty when I noticed Claus was up on the chicken’s run.   You may or may not recall that he has a bum knee, so this was unusual.  Running (well, OK limping actually ;) )  to go get my camera and take a picture of this amazing kitty feat for Bob, I got back and he was gone… 

or was he?

There-he-isFunny Boy!  If you can’t find him in this picture then click to enlarge it.

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NOTE:  Sorry for the grainy shots, but they were taken through the dining room window. 

Have a Blessed weekend!

Relative indicators: cold, colder, coldest!

Saying this winter is cold is an understatement.  We may not be in the negative digits as those to the north of us are suffering, yet I believe it is all relative.  Let me explain that statement.

The serious bits…

We are all facing a propane shortage.  Because of this shortage, the Governor of our state has declared a state of emergency.  This will protect us from price gouging.  Cold below freezing will hurt you, and if you can’t keep your house heated, then sadly, it doesn’t matter how many degrees below freezing you are, below freezing is going to hurt you.  I had no idea about the propane shortage when I called to have our tank filled yesterday, and I am grateful that it is full now, because we don’t have a fireplace here.  Normally we get through the winter with only one fill up.  This was our second!

We in the eastern portion of the nation, and this does include the deep south, are facing unseasonably cold winter weather!  Homes built in the south are not accustomed to prolonged freezing temperatures.  We are near the Tennessee border and our walls are pretty thin.  The further down towards the gulf you go, the thinner and less insulated your home will be.  When it gets this cold you might as well be living in a cracker box!  This also means higher energy costs. Few living in the south have a home that was built to be protected from frozen pipe damage or insulated well enough for sustained freezing temperatures.

For all the water we have here in the form of rivers, lakes streams and reservoirs, it may seem quite odd that there were some localities that experienced a water shortage.  This was due to all the households running their taps at night to keep their pipes from freezing.  No one wants to waste water,  yet in weather like this, it has to be done.

Then there are the animals that are affected.  I’m not so worried about my own, because I have provided them with a heat source, unfrozen water, and warm, protected shelter.

On realizing that we were headed into the deep freeze, with possible windchill factors below zero, we put up a wind break for the poultry.  It works really well for the chickens, but for the most part, the geese seem to ignore it and wander about the yard looking for anything that is still edible (not freeze-dried  ;) ).  Well, I suppose they do have a layer of fat and all that down to keep them warm.

P1068404-2“What!  You gave the chickens a heater? Where’s our heater?”

Ever wonder where the wild things go to find food and water?  Well, apparently here in N. Alabama,  they are getting it from my chickens and geese!

On keeping a sense of humor…

Now it must be said that even in all this cold, there is still some fun to be had!  Remember the property across the way with the derelict house on it?  Well, now that it is cleared, and a proper berm tractored into place, we have a smallish catch basin.   (It is kind of a swamp really, but the frogs will think its grand in the summer.)  For now, it is frozen over and the neighbor kids have begun using it as an ad hoc skating rink!

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Did you ever wonder:  “How do the little squirrels stay warm?”

They move FAST!

This squirrel has a scratch feed addiction!  ;)

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No matter where we are in this cold season, and whatever the circumstances we face, we have to be aware, be safe, help others in need, try to stay warm, and if possible, to keep our sense of humor intact.

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Sending blessings out to all who are suffering in this weird weather!  

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Life goes on…

Where do I start?

If you live in the east or the deep south, then you know what COLD is.  Me?  I never experienced anything colder than 30 degrees till we moved here, and now we are getting lows in the single digits.  The lowest so far was 4 degrees, and with a little wind chill added it was well below zero.

Now I know it is far worse for many and I wouldn’t bring it up, but our part of the country is known for its heat, humidity, and sultry atmosphere… practically Jurassic in summer and maybe a frost or two in winter.

To make it worse, the weatherman either lies or doesn’t know what he’s up against, you know I jest here, but on the serious side, he predicted an overnight low of about 17 degrees and when we woke up I had over two inches of ice on the goose’s water buckets!  It had actually dropped to 6 deg. overnight.  Perhaps that beautiful crystal clear night sky had a lot to do with it?  Well, actually, I am certain of it.

Our plumbing in the south is not made for this weather.  We are keeping the pipes from bursting here by letting the water drizzle out overnight.  No pressure expansion from freezing water this way.  However, up at the Mountain Farmlet we did not have that option.  Can’t let it run 24/7 now can we?

We did cut the water to the house, left the spigot open, and this worked until our first 5 degree night.  Last weekend we found that the main had burst at ground level, and under the house of course!  The water will remain off for the duration of this weird cold, and the rent-a-potty will be back till further notice.  Sadly,  it is simply too cold to safely do much of any work up there at the moment, so we are going up to check doors and windows, fill the kitty feeder, make sure their water is still full and unfrozen in the heated water dish, and that the kitties are OK.  In case you’re wondering, we have made friends with another neighbor who has agreed to look in on them in our coldest of weather, and to make sure the raccoons haven’t raided their food again!  :shock:

So how does the lady of the Farmlet stay warm when out feeding and watering her charges?

Fleece long johns, two fleece robes, an old London Fog rain coat, fleece gloves, a thick velvet neck scarf, and the infamous Crazy Chicken Lady hood.  ;)

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How I’m surviving the cold, or, how old ladies do selfies.  ;)

NOTE:  If the cold *water  er, weather is forcing you to leave a sink running, and the sound of it drives you crazy, as it does me, then you might try this trick:

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Take an old pair of panty hose, cut off one leg and tie it to the spigot.  Voilà!  No nagging dripping sounds to keep you up all night.  ;)  Hint:  adjust the end to find the most quiet position at the drain. 

Hey, whatever works, right?

*(Thank you, Sweetie!  ;) )

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Oh, the knee?  Still racked up, and I don’t go back the Dr. till next Tuesday.  :|  However, I have purchased a cane to assist me in getting around.  It is much more comfortable than the staff, and affords me courtesies in public I never knew existed!  :D

Friday Fictioneers: anniversary for one

By now you know the rules, and if not, please do visit Rochelle at Addicted to Purple HERE.  Thank you Rochelle!  And a special thanks to Dawn Q. Landau  for the use of her photograph today!

A little pink house liteCopyright-Dawn Q. Landau

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Anniversary for One

Today would have been their 60th anniversary if Charles had lived.  To celebrate Jessica packed a special dinner and took the keys to her daughters car.  She knew Sharon had made plans, but she wanted to be alone with her memories.

She found the place easily enough, though she was shocked to see that the roof was long gone.  Here is where they’d made love for the first time, and then, Charles had proposed.

Climbing the stairs she laid out a blanket for her meal and adjusted her pillow.  Alone she ate, watching the sunset and waiting for high tide.

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For more great takes on this prompt please look HERE

WORDS:  100

Injured, and trying to mend.

Wondering where I’ve been?

Well, I am out of commission.  Somehow I have (re)injured my knee and I can’t stand for very long to do much of anything (cooking/cleaning) because it swells up so bad inside that I can feel it out the back of my knee and up my thigh.  I also can’t sit for too long to rest it because then it freezes up and I am positively crippled upon standing again!

I am currently living on 100mg Celebrex and hobbling about on Bob’s walking stick.  The tree is still up, the chores are piling up, and I am fed up!   :(   I am calling the Dr as soon as I press the publish button.

On a humorous note:  We went to see the newest Peter Jackson Hobbit extravaganza and I was worried they wouldn’t let me in with my rather large walking stick.  Bob laughed and quipped:

They will just think you are in character.  What you need is a wizards cap and cape!

He was right, no one really noticed me and my “weapon”.  ;)

On other topics, so far 2014 is coming in on frigid winds and ice-cold temperatures. It is 10:30 in the morning and our current temperature is 21 degrees.  Over the next few days we will continue to get below freezing temperatures and the temperatures will stay well below freezing even for the highs.

The worst of it will be Monday with a high of 20 degrees and a low of 5 deg, and Tuesday is not much better with 23 H and a 12 L.  You know this California expat is still not used to this kind of winter weather!

I have express ordered a heated water bowl for the Mountain Farmlet.  I would have just picked one up at the local pet store or the Co-op… but this is the Deep South and they don’t really stock them here.

How are you surviving the cold where you are?