Sunday, February 28, 2010

50 Degrees on Feb. 26th!

It's spring!  What a beautiful day.  Sunshine, no snow, 50 degrees.  Unbelievable weather for North Idaho.  It was time to transplant all those baby petunias.  They are still very tiny, but should be blooming by May 1st.  Next, it's time to get out the begonia bulbs and get them going.  It looks like we will have an early planting season this year.  At least we will be able to start cold weather crops early.  I'm looking forward to more warm, sunny days!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Boredom, Tyler, Boredom!

What I need is adventure!  Instead I am taking labels off wine bottles and washing them to get ready for the next bottling.  I am at 111 clean bottles and only about 50 to go! 

Then, I think I am ready to "get out of Dodge"!  You know  things are getting bad when you start watching movies from 1945 on TCM. 

I am thinking a change of scenery, maybe some good food, a little wine, entertainment........

Friday, February 19, 2010

One more Mardi Gras Photo from Neil Wimberley

The Krewe of Cougar Creek Band rocking  out in the loft!

Pansies and Petunias

The little jewels have sprouted and are on their way to cascading and waving!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

It's a party!  Jambalaya, Chicken Gumbo, Red Beans and Rice, Crawfish Étouffer (et tu fe), King Cake!  Flambeaus, outrageous sequined costumes, great music, good friends, and what a great time.  I almost forgot the beads, moonpies and all the other 'throws".  

 We add our own flavor here on Cougar Creek.  Usually, we have piles of snow and ice, but this year, we had rain and mud.  The Krewe of Cougar Creek adapts!  We were prepared for any kind of weather or conditions.

What a way to signal the end of winter and the move into spring!


Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010


Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mardi Gras Costumes This Year!

We will be decked out tomorrow!  My costume is red, gold and black!  Jon will be one of the flambeau carriers!  I hope he doesn't set his costume on fire!  Ann says there are enough costumes for the entire band!

Chicken Gumbo

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chicken Gumbo

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 qts. chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teas. Creole Seasoning, Tony's or make your own * see below
  • 1 teas. dried thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lg. chicken, cut into pieces or boned, if you prefer
  • 2 pounds Andouille or smoked sausage, cut into pieces
  • 1 bunch green onions, tops only, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • File' powder to taste
Rub chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning.  Brown quickly, then remove, and brown sausage.  Drain off fat and reserve meats.

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over low-med. heat, STIRRING CONSTANTLY, until the roux  is a dark, peanut butter color.  Be careful that you do not burn the roux.

Add the vegetables and stir quickly.  Cook and stir for a few minutes.

Add the stock, seasonings, chicken and sausage.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about one hour.  Skim off the fat as needed.

To serve:  Add the chopped green onions and parsley, and cook for 5 more minutes.  Serve over warm rice.

Creole Seasoning:
  • 2 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. dried sweet basil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme 
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. white pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. celery seed
  • 5 Tbsp. sweet paprika
Mix in food processor or blender.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lazy Days of February

It is so nice to be retired!  I love getting up on these winter mornings and drinking my coffee knowing that I don't have to drive to work, etc.  I have another cup of coffee, play a few tunes on my guitar, read my email, check the blogs, see what's happening out there in the world (they call it news) and have another cup of coffee.  It's awesome!

Jon and I usually walk up to get our newspapers and then go on a hike in the woods.  It won't be long and we will be hunting for wild mushrooms. 

The big Mardi Gras party is Sat. night and I am going to make Chicken Gumbo for the first time.  I bought all the ingredients today and I have already made chicken stock for the broth.  Andoullie Sausage is a bit pricey in the northwest.  I could not find the File Powder so I hope Ann has some.  I hope my Gumbo tastes as good as Ann's.

We will be assembling the parade float on Friday afternoon and the Krewe of Cougar Creek will be ready to rock and roll!

Greens Falls

From the falls looking towards the Green Monarchs. Using my zoom at max!

Pear-Grape Wine Progress

The pear wine is on it's way to a great white wine!

Petunia and Pansies and Dreams of Spring

It is time to start the flowers for spring.  I have started my first tray which has Petunias, Pansies and Angelonia.  This is the first year for trying Angelonia as I have always started Bacopa for my trailing plant.  I hope I like it.  

I like to get the seeds started under my lights and they should be ready to blossom by May 15th.  I use old VHS tapes to hold up my lights.  It raises the lights about 1 inch as the seedlings grow.  You must keep the plants within one inch of the lights!  Important!  They will get leggy if you do not do this!  As you can see, my light system is homemade.  A shelf with three lights mounted to the board.  The lights do not need to be "grow" lights.  Just regular fluorescent lights will do.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mardi Gras 2008-2009

A couple of photos from the past.  Linda Heisel works on the float.

Flambeau carriers, Travis, Neil and Jon.

Gramma Kay tossing moonpies and beads.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mardi Gras on the horizon

The band is practicing tomorrow night and we test fire the new cannon.  The big party will be here soon!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hike to Ross Creek Cedars

A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!  There's not a lot of snow so it was an easy hike but more than 6 miles in length so it took some energy to do it.  We met several cross-country skiers on the route.  One gal was pulling a sled on skis with her baby in it.  That was a workout!  We spent some time walking through the cedars, taking photos and a quick stop for lunch.