Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holiday Recovery

Finally, a time to relax. The Monkey has finally gone to bed after two days of hard partying. In case you're wondering, "hard partying" for a four year old (excuse me, four and a half year old) involves wearing a Tinkerbell constume, consuming vast quantities of sugar, jumping up and down frequently and non-stop verbalizing. The hardest part has been that the weather turned and our Christmas was rather wet. Nasty, cold wet. It has at least set in motion serious plans for revamping the critter area. Gravel - it's a novel concept. And it's much easier to walk on than soul-sucking mud

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas, or whatever it is you do at this time of year. We tried to have less present under the tree, but our families didn't quite cooperate. Monkey didn't mind. She got a Tinkerbell costume, a Hello Kitty boombox (for her collection of kindermusik and Suzuki violin cds) and lots of art supplies. Charlie received practical presents like new boots, two copies of the new edition of the Joy of Cooking, and a doormat made of recycled flip-flops (one of our favorites!).

My Christmas present didn't fit under the tree this year. It is still sitting in several large boxes on the screened porch (thanks to the rain). I got a greenhouse! I've begged Charlie for months to help me build a hoop house and had been rather dissapointed that he seemed to show no interest in the prospect of fresh vegetables year round. Little did I know he was plotting. It's the curse of living with a landscape designer... ...it all has to look good. So, as soon as the weather breaks, he'll be out assembling all those panels and soon I'll be planting radishes and lettuce!

While not a "present", so to speak, we do have new inhabitants here at Little Creek. Four Guinea Fowl - three lilac and one pearl, have joined the menagerie.

Two breeding pairs. I hoping for little guineas in the spring. From what I've read, they love to eat bugs and scratch less than the chickens - they may even get to go in the garden! I'm hoping to that they'll be rather self-sufficient. I know they are tasty! Although these four are just for breeding and increasing the screaming guinea horde. In case you aren't aware, Guineas can set up quite the racket when they want to set off an alarm. When they are just chatting, however, the sound quite pleasant with little chirps and such.

Tonight it's snowing and blowing and the temperatures have dropped. How do we keep warm around here? Let me share a favorite Christmas drink. I think Santa loves when I leave him one by the fireplace...

Aztec Sluggers from Gourmet, December 2005

Here's what you need...

1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee

1/4 cup bourbon

1/2 oz Kahlua

2 oz finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

6 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon sugar

Heat coffee, bourbon, Kahlua, chocolate, and 2 tablespoons cream in a heavy saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate is melted. (Do not let it boil.)

Whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream with sugar until it holds soft peaks.

Divide drink between two large mugs, then top with whipped cream. Enjoy with your favorite jolly, old elf. I'm taking some down to the guineas right now as a house-warming gift.


  1. Ooooooh, greenhouse! How big? We were admiring the s.o.'s dad's neighbor's new 8x12...which is the same size our hoophouse is, but with more overhead clearance and (gasp) automatic windows.

    So what's the first thing you're going to grow?

    Our big gift won't fit under the tree, either. My mom got us a two-person Pawley's Island hammock with its own steel stand so we can put it anywhere. Hmm!!

  2. It' 6'x12'. I can't wait. We've got to level out the ground a little - imagine that.
    First up will be lettuce, radishes and maybe some carrots. Ooh... basil! It will be cool for a while. The house did come with a heater though. I'm looking forward to getting a head start on starting all the tomatoes and peppers.

  3. Anonymous10:19 AM

    That is a really excellent gift! We keep considering a small hoophouse (Jamie-size) but can't figure out where to locate it. It would be a good idea in our climate, though.

    Those guineas are gorgeous... I'll be curious to see how you like them.
    (I've tried to post this too many times. Damn you Blogger!)

  4. Yes Liz, I often repeat the phrase, "damn you, blogger"...

  5. To quote jamie, "Ooooooh, greenhouse!"

    I'm hoping to build one before spring, but funds and time are tight, so we'll see. If this weather holds, I may not need one!

    Keep us posted on how those guineas work out. I find them intriguing (and comical), but I've heard they are very noisy.

  6. Do tell about your experiences with the guineas. We'll be picking up some keets this spring. The things I have heard about older ones, though, may interest you: if they haven't laid eggs before, and they're in a new (different home than they were raised in) home, they'll probably go elsewhere to lay and brood their eggs. But like you I am interested in some free-range birds that can maybe do less damage than my other girls do...

    And I am su-per jeal-ous of your greenhouse!!