Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Planning a Pokeberry Style Christmas..

I've been experimenting with southern style cooking so I can present a nice dish when we go down to Florida for Christmas. They can get great fresh seafood there on the gulf so I'm hoping to perfect two seafood dishes to cook while we are guests of my in-laws. One is going to be a shrimp creole. Yesterday I made a trial run and it was great. I used most of a recipe I found on Gumbo Pages, it had homemade shrimp stock. The only thing we all thought was it needed just a little more something--we decided either we'd add more shrimp or some chicken or sausage--something smoky. I tossed in some leftover grilled chicken that I had earmarked for a chicken soup --it was perfect. The recipe made lots of sauce--I ended up freezing half of it. There'll be more eaters at Christmas though so I will make a whole batch.

I think I'd also like to find some really good recipes for side dishes to go with fresh fried fish. We always catch fish when we are down there and its so delicious just pan fried.

Those are my two thoughts for food-- I'm going cajun blackened fish and creole shrimp with maybe andouille sausage. YUM!!

For gifts I am working on my little felted wool Jug bands. I want to make each household represented at the gathering a small 3 piece 'Christmas Critter Jug Band' and give them each a CD of Jug Band Christmas Music. I'm still trying to decide which Jug band music to buy. Need to order soon.

Well right now out my window I am watching some gorgeous blue birds on the poke-berry bush and also a chickadee. The Blue birds look odd now because the sky is so overcast again with more and more rain. The brilliant blue of their backs seems almost out of place in our grayish sky.

I think we could count the dry days the past couple months on our fingers. It just seems to always be raining--as Darlene commented below to one of my posts--advising I give up on finishing our walls and just build an ark. She is so right! I think though, if this keeps up I won't need an ark the house will become one! I wonder sometimes if we could slide down the hill. We've built barriers of concrete block and used landscaping fabric with them to construct erosion controls in our yard because this rain is trying to take our yard down the hillside. This morning I was outside and noticed that our barriers are collecting a great deal of sand and red clay and water--but apparently they are holding very well--no soil is leaking out, only water. The backyard is almost shifting there has been so much water run over it--but actually its a bit of an improvement.

The garden loves all this rain. That's been nice. When we had our drought it was much more work to garden here. The past summer was hot as usual, but not as hot I think as it could have been.

Hubby has noticed that I'm starting already to impact our kids and get more done in the house since I gave my notice at the job. This morning he remarked that it looks like I have an opportunity here to really make a difference. I take that as meaning he sees that my being here may well be a good thing for now.

Money isn't everything. I didn't make much but it was enough to buy food for everyone. Now I'm thinking--better to just spend time getting them more ready to buy their own! They seemed to have given up somehow lately. I guess it was so hard for them, moving and moving and getting jobs and losing them.. etc.. The economy and the interruptions with school and all that. I realize now that most likely only one of them is really interested in much school. The others are more hand's on folks and will be happiest in a trade--perhaps with a lesser amount of school or an apprenticeship. I am trying to help them find more opportunities in this area to aim at.

My not working frees up my car too--so that will help, only one of our kids here has his own car--and its currently broken. Sigh... well that's just how it is. We need to help them, but they need to make more effort too, they've kind of slacked lately.

Picking paint again..

Originally I had thought I'd do all the inside walls here in off white. Now though--with the gorgeous fall colors here I am thinking we will use shades of green and maybe some other colors from nature. We have huge windows all over the living room and dining room that make the hillside here part of our home. I want to frame the woods as if it were big beautiful paintings! So I am choosing a green that will complement it all for the living room and go with our furniture--the old couch is greens and reds--it needs to be replaced but we'll have to wait on it--so we have been 'fixing' it as needed. I'd like a green for my bedroom too. Hallways I think will be a gold and maybe a red or orange for baths & laundry room--we'll see. First things first--the main living areas.

I have set a goal to have the living room and dining room primed and ready for paint by the end of next week. That should be plenty of time. I'm hoping Hubby will find time also to install the bead board in my kitchen as well--I want that to be a green as well--to complement--or possibly another fall color. The kitchen is semi-open to the dining room so they need to go well together. I'm getting the boys up and at it soon now so they can begin to put a 3rd coat of mud on the seems. There are also some spots that will need some 'fussing' as they aren't perfect. Such is life. I want this project worked on early in the day so I can clean up the mess by dinner time. Tomorrow I work at noon and I guess I'll give them other things to do so I can supervise when they work on walls. I think that's my plan.

Well now here comes George! Daughter keeps him in her room at night and most mornings she goes to work before dawn, but today she is off, so she must have decided he'd be better company for Mojo and I than for her. ;)

Time for me to shower up, walk Mojo and get the boys a going. I think the rain may have let up enough for my walk--so I best hurry!

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