Friday, August 22, 2008

Pictures Worth a Million Words

Okay people, it appears that Anne is willing to finally release some preggie pics in an effort to prevent speculation. As amusing as it was being asked at fair whether or not she was giving birth to a regulation-sized, there are NOT twins in there and NO, Eric is not simply feeding her too much. However, Husband has declared three stages of pregnancy: 1) Really Pregnant 2) Extremely Pregnant and, drumroll please, 3) "Ginagerous" So far, the status is hovering at step 2. This could be as much to do with the spouse not wanting his underwear "accidentally" thrown in with a bright red towel and/or fearful of Wife sitting on him as does her true mark along the spectrum. It is hoped that stage 3 is reached for only a brief period of time and quickly leaves us with a small hoodlum in tow. Our next dr appointment is Thursday, August 28th. In any case, enjoy the hard-won pictures and be sure to note Husband laughing himself silly on the couch after reviewing several, shall we say, humorously unflattering picture attempts.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Fruitful Morning

This morning was one of those cool, crisp, summer dawns that seem to only appear to those that have the tenacity to wake up before the sunrise. We started the day together at 4:30 am, both of us piling into the pickup with our fresh coffee and heading to a friend's house to pick up a truck. Today, Eric is out busily felling trees with fellow compadres as part of the fire department's fuel reduction work (this is code for removing trees and shrubs too close to remote cabins, thinning timber, and clear-cutting lanes for the bomber pilots to use as a good area to lay down fire retardant strips).All of the wood felled during the day is chipped and hauled to whomever in the county wanting it as garden dressing or animal bedding. Since I have gone from chainsaw work to light-duty stuff on a 4H-wheeler to not joining the group at all (to repeat a theme...*Sob*), I felt the need to tag along on the morning drive back and forth from the house to gather equipment. It was a beautiful start to the day - although we could have done without the local wildlife displaying itself right on the highway!

Remember our post about the garden? After painstakingly fertilizing, watering and praying to the garden gods, it looks like we are about to be up to our ears in a late crop of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers and pumpkins. "The Beloved Pumpkin" has changed dramatically from his modest start in the Folgers Coffee can. I will also not hesitate to ask anyone for squash recipes (although baked with butter and brown sugar is a fav) since the plant is possibly one of the most productive little guys I have ever seen. We went from saying, " What the heck is the matter with this thing...were is the fruit?" to "Oh MY! Whatever are we going to do if ALL of those ripen?" Not a bad problem to have though! The literally hundreds of volunteer sunflowers on the yard perimeter are also performing well - you can see the two largest ones in the picture below. The others are quite midget-like, which makes for easy and guiltless picking.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Baby Meyer Is Here (Finally)

I am happy to announce that Mandy and Tim gave birth to a healthy baby girl last night!! Her name is Anna Olivia Meyer, born at 9:57 Pacific Time on 8/12/08. She weighed 8lbs 10oz and was 21 inches long. Here is a link to pictures on the hospital's web. Type in Aug 12 and scroll down to Amanda M. Needless to say, there wasn't a whole lot of sleeping going on at the Miller house last night while waiting for the news...then not a lot afterward due to the excitement! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hurry Up Baby Meyer!!!

Well folks, those of you checking the blogs will note that as I type, there is a certain amount of excitement coming from one of the blogs next door. That's right folks - within hours (but hopefully in minutes or less for Mandy's sake), I will officially be the honorary auntie of Baby Girl Meyer; as in my best-friend-since-kindergarten is presenting the world with another kindergartener!

We Survived the Fair!

Many of you are aware of the fact that we are guaranteed to drop off the map for several days each year for an Event known as "The Fair." This Event tends to mean that Eric & company migrate to the satellite office at the grounds for multiple days. Questions run hot and heavy - ranging from "Who snagged the donuts for the buyer's table?" to "If a sheep gets lose from the pens at the far shed and a hog gets lose from the other barn at the same time - does the same person have time to turn both of them away from the busy arena?" the last one was a stretch but staplers, Sharpie markers and pen tags all tend to circulate fast and furious. This year, Anne found an entirely new advantage to being one of the clerks for the indoor show. As kids checked in their 4H cooking was noticed that many had baked an extra cookie, a full pan of brownies or multiple biscuits when only 3 items of each were required by the fair book. Enter pregnant fact, if it wasn't for two extra biscuits offered by one of our ever-sympathetic kids, she might have blown away in the wind (would have to be a gale-force though). Below are pictures of Wyatt, showing off his pig and the reward for his patience. Part of a family of 7 kids (the eldest sister was the biscuit lifesaver), this young man is proudly following others in the family with excellent showmanship abilities in the ring. The last picture is a little hard to you can tell from the young one that stopped playing football completely to watch. We suspect the Sheep Penning contest will return next year. Teams of 3-4 selected from the pens placed in the arena and then attempted to gather 4 sheep running lose in the area into their pen. If that wasn't hard enough, the sheep had tag numbers that could not go over 99 for the total (in other words, Sheep A wearing tag 20, B wearing 40, C wearing 5, D wearing 10). The team closest to 99 won. We went two rounds before both people and sheep got too tired and the audience hurt too much from laughing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Marvelous Meal (Despite the Veggie Content)

This last week, we experimented with a new recipe from Cuisine at Home's recipe book, "Weeknight Menus." It was SO good that it warranted a little passing on to readers. Our initial attraction to the recipe was due to the fact that we could use up a little more of the spinach left in the garden. Short of leaving baskets full of the greens on the neighbors' doorsteps in the middle of the night, this seemed like a good alternative. Without further adieu:

Spinach Pesto Pasta

Makes 6 Cups Total time: 25 Minutes

Puree for the Pesto:
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, packed
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (I used dried and it worked just fine)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt (sea salt was used)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 lb papperdelle or other wide pasta (tortellini style worked fine for this too)

Combine for Garnish:
1 cup Roma tomatoes, seeded & diced (the Miller house was out, so canned ones were used)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (grind fresh)

Layer, Toss Together:
1 cup whole milk ricotta (used skim version but whole would add more flavor)
drained pasta
Spinach Pesto
salt and pepper to taste (grind fresh)

Serve with:
Tomato Garnish

Puree all pesto ingredients in food processor until paste-like, set aside. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water until tender but not mushy, about 7 min; drain. (If using another pasta, follow package directions for times.) Combine tomatoes, vinegar, salt, oil and pepper for the garnish while the pasta cooks. Layer components by first placing ricotta in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, then top with pasta. Pour pesto over pasta and toss. Serve with tomato garnish over the top. *Make sure to place hot pasta directly over ricotta to melt and mix properly. Also cheese may need to be adjusted slightly, depending on start with less, then add as needed. *

Let us know how it goes!