Mischief Kitten

Sunday, February 28, 2021


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In August, we adopted this naughty nugget, and he's been wreaking havoc with the dog ever since. Best buds within 4 hours of meeting. For a cat, he's pretty darn fearless.

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They love to wrastle and rough house. The cat has finally figured out how to hide from the dog when he doesn't want to play.

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They don't snuggle too often, but when they do it's the cutest thing.

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From the beginning he's been adventure cat. Greeting the plumber at the door. Trying to get outside. Chasing the older cat up and down the stairs. We've installed selective cat doors that keep Mr. Mischief here on the first floor.

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So chill with adventure, we can even take him outside in his little cat backpack.

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Yeah, super chill for a cat. Now how much longer do we need to keep the house cat proofed? Motion sensor alarms on every table/counter surface. Cookie sheets pans balanced and ready to tip over. Carpets rolled up. He's asleep 80% of the day. But in that 20% he's into all sorts of mayhem.

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That bell around his neck is so we know where to find him. The first several weeks at home, he managed to jump over every barrier attempting to keep him in the office (so the older cat could adjust). No fence can keep him in. Especially not now that he's many months older.

Success: Squash & Chicken Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs and Chicken

This here is a delicious and very filling spin on Martha Stewart's Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs. I dropped the cilantro, pre-cooked the butternut squash halves (so I already have a half cooked leftover!), cooked 1lb ground chicken just after the onion and garlic, and then sprinkled a bit of crumbled bacon on top at the end. The sweetness of the butternut squash is well-balanced by the carrots and kale. Highly recommend.

One more way to use up those garden squashes! Very colorful, too. Makes about 4 meals. Might be worth doubling.

Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs and Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • A couple teaspoons of a spice mix (I like za'atar)
  • 1 small onion, minced (1c)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash or 1 whole acorn squash (1.25lb), halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3.5c)
  • 10oz carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1.5c)
  • 2 cups packed coarsely chopped kale (from 1 small bunch)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1lb ground chicken
  • Optional: a couple pieces cooked bacon, crumbled

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Whisk 0.25c, lemon juice, salt, pepper, spices (if any).
  3. Heat a couple Tbsp olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high. Cook onion & garlic for ~3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add chicken, stir occasionally until cooked.
  5. Add squash and carrots. Transfer to oven and cook until golden and tender, 20-25 minutes (less if squash is already cooked and carrots are diced)
  6. Stir kale into squash mixture, along with 0.25cup oil/lemon/spice mixture. Return to oven for 7 minutes more.
  7. Make 4 wells in cooked vegetables and crack an egg into each. Return to oven until whites are set but yolks are still runny (4-6 minutes).
  8. Remove, drizzle with oil/lemon/spice dressing (and bacon, if using).

Garden Befores and Afters: Year 2

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Garlic to the left, catmint + meadow sage + chives to the right
June 20, 2020

I'm a big fan of how the perennial garden looks in mid-June (above), but I'm an even bigger fan of garden before/after's, particularly during the frosty February months. The greenery of the garden is particulalry nice to see now, especially since all my efforts are currently under a foot of snow. There was so much work on the garden over a two year period, it's finally in its mostly finished state (barring plant selection/moving, etc.) So here's another set of befores/afters, from year 2 of the garden clean-up!

The Deer-Protected Vegetable Garden (from the East)


Vegetable Garden Beginning of Last Year
April 19, 2019
Before: The Vegetable Garden Last Year
July 9, 2019
Vegetable Garden -  from the West
August 16, 2020
Vegetable Garden from the East
October 30, 2020


The Deer-Protected Vegetable Garden (from the Northeast)


The vegetable garden in its "trash garden" phase (i.e., it's gotta get worse before it gets better)
May 10, 2020
The Vegetable Garden
July 27, 2020
Vegetable Garden - from the Northwest
August 16, 2020
Vegetable garden from the northeast
February 2, 2021



The Open Perennial Garden (from the West)


The garden when house-shopping
May 10, 2018
Making Terraced, Mounded Rows in the Garden
April 20, 2019
Asparagus in the open garden, overgrown daffodil bed
June 30,2019
Chamomile, Amethyst Dream Bachelor Button, Purple Sensation Allium...
May 30, 2020


The Open Perennial Garden (from the Southeast)


Row Garden - Perennial Flowers Planted
June 9, 2019
Flower Garden prepped for onion/garlic planting in the autumn
July 28, 2020
Prepping the Open Garden for Winter
October 28, 2020


The Entire Backyard Garden


Garden Time Lapse - 6/12
June 12, 2019
Backyard Garden - Forsythia Corner View
May 5, 2020
Backyard Garden - Forsythia Corner View
June 12, 2020
Backyard Garden - Forsythia Corner View
July 18, 2020
Backyard Garden - Forsythia Corner View
August 25, 2020
Entire backyard garden
September 25, 2020


It's come so far! And now there's not many major improvements left. Just moving some perennials around a bit, growing vegetables and annuals from seed, the regular preparing for winter, etc. No more major remodels in the backyard garden! Whew!

Backyard Garden - middle view
September 14, 2020
Perennial Garden in June
June 14, 2020

Success: Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Curried Chicken Salad

Something about being stuck indoors for nearly a year now had me missing the nonsense of afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea

Ridiculous tea sandwiches, scones, tiny cakes, overpriced loose leaf tea, frilly decor, fancy china, and a friend willing to indulge in this goofiness. Well. Here we are imitating one of said tea sandwiches, the classic Curried Chicken Salad (from allrecipes). So good I've made it twice. Don't skimp on the chicken!

Curried Chicken Salad

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed (~1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast)
  • 1 unpeeled apple, chopped
  • 0.75c dried cranberries, chopped
  • a few stalks thinly sliced celery (0.5c)
  • 0.25c chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions or chives
  • 0.75c mayonnaise
  • 2tsp lime (or lemon) juice
  • 0.75tsp curry powder
  • sandwich bread, optional

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