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Chef JoAnna - Recipes, photos & other fun foodie stuff!

Updated: 2018-03-05T09:40:34.213-08:00


Got a cooking question?


Post your questions here and I'll do some research and get you an answer!

Another fun Cooking Class with Chef JoAnna!


tonight's dinner turned out pretty. baked radiatore with fresh mozzarella and home grown basil. via

Back , due to popular demand!


I've had a few people asking me lately about my blog lately...

"Why don't you update your blog anymore?

"Do you still post photos of your food online?"

"Have you written new recipes on your website?"

So, okay, I've been a slacker. Let's just say I've taken a break from blogging, but I aim to remedy the situation, so I'll be posting on this blog more in the future.  

What, dear reader, are you most interested in seeing?
  • recent recipes?
  • cooking tool reviews?
  • demonstration videos?
  • local restaurant reviews?
  • ... something else I haven't thought of?
Let me know - just leave me a comment and I'll include your feedback as I plan out my posts.  I look forward from hearing from you!

Book Review: Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen


I think it's safe to say that most Italian girls who grew up in Chicago aren't known for their fried chicken, cornbread or slow-cooked greens. Even in culinary school, we only spent a few weeks of our American Regional Cuisine class on "The South", but since moving to Tennessee I've immersed myself in local foods and learning how to prepare them correctly. My cornbread recipe used to come from the side of the cardboard canister the cornmeal came in, and was baked in a 8x8 pyrex baking dish. I've since found an all-corn recipe that asks for bacon grease, not butter, and tweaked it a little. I grind local popcorn into a fine cornmeal with my NutriMill. I add buttermilk instead of water, and I don't include sugar. It's baked in a pre-heated cast-iron pan, for exactly 17 minutes, and comes out perfectly every time. This is not the light & fluffy cake-like cornbread at Cracker Barrel, but one of the contractors who worked on our house grew up around here, and he said my cornbread was as good as his mom's. That's good enough for me!Sara Foster's Southern KitchenI recently received Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen cookbook. Her cornbread recipe includes both all-purpose flour and sugar. I've yet to make Foster's version, since I'm still recovering from Sunday's carb-loaded Chicken-and-Waffles extravaganza (I made cornbread to sop up the pot likker from the collard greens - YUM!) As someone who cooks professionally, I really treat cookbooks like textbooks. The first thing i do is skip through to the back. The introductions are often hackneyed and full of trite old saws like "everything but the squeal" (yeah, really). The recipes themselves will prove themselves out eventually, as you try them. What you find when you turn to the last few pages of a cookbook are the things your author deems necessary for reference as you work. This information tells you a lot about the attitude and spirit of a cookbook.Foster includes a section called "Must-Haves", which mentions covered casserole dishes, a cake stand and a deviled-egg plate. She writes "It may not seem like it today, but for Southern ladies of my mother's generation, for whom entertaining was paramount, serving dishes like this really do qualify as essential kitchen equipment. I agree that presentation is important, and I do confess to owning two deviled-egg serving dishes of my own (I cater, so I own at least two of everything, no matter what!) so I guess that if you are trying to emulate a proper Southern food experience, get yourself to a church rummage sale and get your hands on a deviled-egg dish."Pantry Essentials" lists two dozen ingredients that can southernize any meal, and nine of them derive from pork. I wonder, though -- don't most food-obsessed people keep a jar for bacon grease to use in other recipes? I wouldn't have thought of of that as a 'Southern thing'! Another surprise was she didn't include smoked hog jowl, which I include in beans, greens and whatever else needs a meaty unctuous layer of flavor. If you go nuts over Italian guanicale, consider smoked jowl its country cousin: a touch less refined but still very pleasant company to keep.Among the non-porcine essentials are Sorghum, Pecans, and the ubiquitous Pepper Vinegar which is, in fact, so ubiquitous that Foster also uses "ubiquitous" in its description. There are several recipes included in the book for most of the condiments she lists, so you can try your hand at making your own chow-chow and pimiento cheese. If you're not a cooking-type foodie, but the gourmand-type foodie that reads a cookbook as prose instead of an instruction manual you might be interested in the section called "Sources". As you're reading this online, you've certainly conquered the world-wide-web, so even if you're on dialup, you can easily find local vendors that can sell you boudin, sorghum and grits. If you are lazy or woefully inept at research, Foster provides a list of companies willing to package & ship their delicacies to your home, should you[...]

Collard Greens & Pork Soup



2 ounces salt pork or pork jowl, cut into 1/4" x 1/4" x 1" strips
     Place a 6 qt stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
     Fry the salt pork for a few minutes to release fat & liquid.
     The pork bits are called "lardons". Remove & reserve.
3 pork chops (bone in preferred!)
     sear chops on both sides. allow to cool. Remove bones & reserve bones & meat.
1 large onion, large dice (3/4 inch)
2 ribs celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
     add, saute until onion is translucent
2 cloves garlic
     add, stir in well, don't let it get too dark
2 large bunches of collard greens, well-washed, shredded* (or 2 bags chopped, pre-washed)
     stir in chopped greens, until wilted
3-4 quarts fresh water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
     add just enough water to cover the contents of the pot.
     Add half of the lardons.
     Also add the bones from the pork chops, if there were any.
     Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for at least 30 minutes. The amount of time will vary with how young & tender the greens were to start with.
     Test for doneness of greens - they should be very tender!
1 (15 ounce) can navy beans, drained, rinsed **
     Remove bones from the soup
     Dice the reserved pork chops, and add to the soup.
     Stir in beans, and heat through, approx 5 more minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle a few crispy lardons on top, and a drizzle of 3-2-1 sauce. Serve with crusty bread or fresh cornbread.

3-2-1 sauce
1 tablespoon of prepared red chili. I like the Lee Kum Kee stuff that comes in 4 oz jars.
2 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoon cider vinegar
mix together & serve with soup.

JoAnna Minneci,

* lay out leaves flat, use a knife to cut out ribs, then arrange into layers. Roll up into a huge cigar shape, and cut cigar lengthwise down the middle. Stack the two sides and slice into 1/2" strips.

** of course you can soak and simmer your own dried beans, but I'd be so proud of you if you made soup in the first place I can forgive you for opening a can of prepared beans. <3 Technorati Tags: Chef JoAnna is a and who's starting a in

where ya been?


I don't do stuff like foursquare or brightkite , but if i did, you'd have seen me checking in from some interesting places of the past three weeks!

Kelly's work took him to Salzburg, Austria... but we opted to make a vacation out of it, since his airfare would be paid for. We went to Frankfurt, Germany for two days, took a train through Munich to Salzburg, Austria spent a week there, and then took another train through Innsbruck, and went to Verona, Italy for another week. Finally, we took a quick train to Milan for a day, before flying out from Malpensa, IT.

Kelly and I drove to Atlanta to fly out of the airport there, so we could get a direct flight. Four hours in the car wins easily over several hours trapped in an airport trying to make a connecting flight! The bonus, of course, is that Atlanta is also the home of the closest IKEA I got to get some more stuff for my kitchen there.

My camera suffered from the curse of the Duomo in milan (the one snapshot of the famous church was the last my camera ever recorded!) and although it was a great camera, I imagine it will be more expensive to repair it than replace it. The photos are safe, tho, on removable media.

Now that we're home, though, I'm eager to settle in and start doing cooking lessons and working on the restaurant. As soon as i get a camera that works again, I'll upload the whole journal and the corresponding photo & video. We ate well, and looking at photos & reading my descriptions will be a good way to experience that again, without the calories!

Technorati Tags: Chef JoAnna is a and who's starting a in

Mockingbird Acres: New photos! Virtual open house!


Hi, everyone!

Despite the rain and tornado watches, the open house did actually take place on May 1st.

(by the way, we’re far enough south from Nashville that we’re not suffering any effects of flooding at all, not to mention we’re at quite an elevation up here.)

I’ve finally taken photos of the dining room, including the newest addition, “Cabinetzilla Jr.”   Consider this a virtual open house... Please take a peek and let me know what you think!


Photos of the ice storm, as seen from Prospect, TN


Hi, everyone!

We’ve survived the weather here, luckily not having to endure any power outages or lack of telephone service.

Today the sun is shining brightly, and the sparkling ice lining every single pine needle, twig and branch is catching the light and making a gorgeous display.  

Kelly just blogged about it, including some photos of the ice storm, as seen from our house.



[[ Mockingbird Acres ]] It's too early to get eggs!


Kelly’s written a new blog entry, so here’s a reminder to check out the blog.

By the way, I’m not sure if I’d posted an announcement to this in a while, so you might scroll back and read a few earlier entries.

Hope you’re all well!


[Mockingbird Acres] and then there were seven...


Happy Thanksgiving!  

Kelly’s added a story to our blog:   (As always, comments are welcomed & appreciated!)  

We had our neighbors and their daughter over for dinner the other night, so the dining room got closer to ‘done’ than it’s ever been.  I will post some photos to flickr, and update them on blog over the weekend, so keep a lookout for another post like this one.

We’re going to have our official grand opening in just a few months, so keep 4/24/10 open (it’s the last Saturday in April).

Here’s where you can find Mockingbird Acres online:

Friend us!  Follow us!  Web 2.0 your little heart out!

Hugs and good wishes to everyone!


[Mockingbird Acres] Floors and doors and cabinets, oh my!


The blog has been updated!

And very exciting – a VIDEO!

New post at Mockingbird Acres Blog


Floors! (YAY!)
        Ladybugs! (boo!)
                Gravel! (YAY!)
                        Siding! (YAY!)
                                Ice Cream! (YAY!)

4 out of 5 YAYs isn't too shabby...

FW: [Mockingbird Acres] Falling Into Autumn


Kelly blogs about our new floor plan, insulation installation and a rescued turtle, using more puns than you can shake a stick at.

(Added Friday, October 23, 2009 7:23 PM)

Mockingbird Acres: Red Rooster was our dinner last night.


Yesterday, Kelly and I butchered and ate one of our chickens.

Read the whole story at


just delete


New posts on Mockingbird Acres Blog


Hi, everyone!  Lots going on down at the homestead!

    Washer & Dryer!  Not only are we no longer showering in the backyard, we can do our laundry at home (though I’ll still hang stuff out to dry if it would stop raining for more than 5 hours at a time)

    Egg Collecting!  We’re getting at least 3 eggs a day, and a few times as many as five, so we’re pretty sure that all the hens are finally earning their keep. Even the white leghorns are laying! Their eggs are white, but the other chickens lay brown or pink eggs. The roosters are earning their keep too, even if all they do is make me laugh each time they crow.  The black & white one calls out clear as a bell, and sounds like any rooster you’d ever hear, but the red one sounds like he’s got a frog in his throat, struggling to crow properly. it’s just comical. They both seem to know when I’m on the phone!?

    Tonight we attended the locals’ Social Gala of the Year – the Stella Fish Fry.  Even hours later, as I write this, I’m so full up on catfish & hushpuppies it kind of hurts.  Kelly and I shared two different kinds of home-made pie!

    Also today was Opening Day of Bowhunting Season!   Kelly tells all about it in the blog. (

We also added a few other blog posts lately, uploaded a bunch of photos from JoAnna's cellphone to flickr, and ordered a replacement camera cable so I can get some older photos out of the “real” camera. The original one is either still packed away in a box somewhere or it’s vanished. Rather than let the fancy expensive camera languish unused, I forked up the $15 for a new cable.

Finally, we really enjoy getting your comments by e-mail, but we’d love to have you share in the conversation, and post comments directly on the blog.  There’s a link after each post, just click on it and you’re able to post a few words or a few paragraphs.  Also, I understand it helps in the rankings for Google.  Also, I’d love it if you’d send this e-mail along to friends if you think they would be interested.

We’re shipping the dogs off to a sitter this weekend so we can celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary with a trip to New Orleans. We didn’t know what to do with the chickens, but since they’re out roaming around unattended all day when we’re here, we figured they’ll be okay roaming around when we’re not here. We anticipate coming home to a big pile of eggs, which my dear friend Kris assures me will all be safe and edible. Omelets for everyone!!

Hugs from Prospect, TN!




Finally added a new post at the Mockingbird Acres blog:

Please read, forward to your friends, add a comment, and let me know you’re out there!



[Mockingbird Acres] Everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink!


The publishing of the following entry was delayed by a week in order for it to be cleared by our legal team... actually, I was distracted and forgot to dial-up and "git-'er-done".

Nothing major to report at this time. We have had full power now for 2 weeks, so the air conditioning has been keeping us cool. We still have 9 1/2 chickens, but the guinea keets have all disappeared. We'll never know if they went off to find more pleasant surroundings or if the hawks and owls were well fed this year. Next year we will be better prepared if we try for guinea fowl again.

My parents returned for another 4-day work blitz, and they helped us get a bunch of things done. They painted the utility room a nice green color, and they also primer-coated the master bathroom. JoAnna painted two of the walls of the great room a deep blue color. My dad and I installed the sink in the guest bathroom and we all worked together to hang the french doors which separate the kitchen from the great room.

The biggest job was the installation of the flooring in the kitchen, pantry and utility room. Using my trailer, I picked up the 12-foot-wide roll of Armstrong fiberglass flooring from The Home Depot. It probably weighed 200 lbs. so it was not easy to manage at first. There was also some confusion about how many feet were on the roll. I thought we had ordered 50 feet but the paperwork said 66.67 units. I should have thought to calculate what 50-feet of a 12-foot roll is in square yards (it's 66.67). We ended up a little short in the utility room, but it looks OK. The material was easy to work with and we like it so far.

I have been working on getting the kitchen sink installed, but it's taking longer than I had hoped. Everything seems to be that way, taking twice as long as it should. I guess that's the way it goes since I'm not an expert at these things. The plumbing jobs are especially tricky with all the various parts and fittings and such. I'd swear the plumbers of the world all got together and made their trade as confusing as possible, just to dissuade DIYers from doing plumbing. Why can't it all be flexible pipes and hose clamps?

I finished painting the ceiling of the great room and bedroom and master bath. The vaulted ceiling made it tricky, but the extension pole on the roller made it possible to reach to the peak without the use of a ladder or the scaffolding. Now, the only painting left to do is the tan/beige of the great room, which I am hoping to get to tomorrow. I want to get the scaffolding out of the way and back to the generous man (Roger Daly) who is letting us borrow it.

The garden has been on auto-pilot for a while now. We have been getting good soaking rains often enough that we don't need to water at all. The tomato plants are producing well (and delicious), but a few of the varieties are splitting their skins. I'll have to figure out why. The okra, cucumbers and squash are all doing very well. The bean and pea plants never really got going, and the corn isn't looking like there will be much in the way of ears. It looks nice, though.

I guess there was a lot to report after all. I'm sure I am forgetting something.

Posted By Kelly to Mockingbird Acres at 8/29/2009 11:32:00 AM

[Mockingbird Acres] On Track


The drywall (aka sheetrock, aka rock board, aka gypsum board) crew just left for the day. They expect to be finished with the job on Saturday. They have been so great, especially considering the fact that they have to move our stuff around whenever it gets in the way of where they need to work. They have been careful and really hard-working. I highly recommend this crew to anyone who needs drywall work done in south-middle Tennessee. They even brought us some vegetables from their garden this morning.I am sitting in the house amidst the drone from two air circulators. An unusual weather system pushed in last night bringing rain and cool, moist air which does not help the drywall mud to dry quickly. I also have the portable propane heater running on high to help the drying process. We are staying in a local budget motel for the next week to avoid the noise, dust and - soon - paint fumes. I'll be turning the heater off before I leave.BTW: If you ever think you can drywall your own home by yourself (and you are not a professional) you are crazy. JoAnna and I were crazy for 2 minutes a few weeks ago, until she perused a How-To book at the Home Depot. Believe me, it is best left to the pros.The house is really starting to feel like a home now that we can no longer walk thru walls. The walk-thru closet that connects the bedroom to the utility room is jam-packed with our meager belongings, so we can't walk thru it at this time. I hung the drywall in the closet ahead of the real drywall crew so we would have a dust-free place to store stuff while work was in progress We have our tub set in place and hot water run to it via a potable water hose made for RV use. A fancy hose nozzle with multiple spray patterns and a lock-on feature makes it easy. A nice feature on our tankless water heater is that it allows us to set the temperature of the hot water, so we get a perfectly heated stream of water without having to mix the hot and cold together. I like 104º F.JoAnna collected a nice bundle of veggies from our garden yesterday morning. It won't be long before we're overrun with squash. I have been encouraging the guinea keets to roam about the garden, hoping they will eat any pest bugs they find, but they rarely venture away from the fence line. The other night I found them all (3) outside the fence boundaries, down near the pond. I got behind them and herded them back toward the garden gate, and decided I wouldn't do that again. They're supposed to roam the property and eat the ticks, which is why we got them. But they are so timid, I doubt they will ever be of much use for that. I guess I'd be extra cautious too if I witnessed 18 of my crew disappear in a few short weeks.The other flock of birds is doing well, except for one of the leghorn chickens. This one chicken - which I call Halle Birdie, JoAnna calls her Halle Barely - decided to fly up and perch on my half-lowered car window to get a better look at the giant furry beast inside, aka Render. Well, Render acted in self-defense and got a bite on Halle. She let her go after the brief altercation, and Halle limped away and under the house. She perched there for a while, and then made her way back to the chicken tractor (coop). She was limping at the time, so I thought she might be okay after a day or two. This took place about two weeks ago, and Halle is not quite better yet. She hasn't left the tractor without my help, but she has a good appetite and is showing signs of using her legs again to move around. She manages to scoot around the coop using her wings and beak, so she can get to the water[...]

[Mockingbird Acres] Y'all doin' allright? How's 'at house comin' along?


Even tho it's july things 'round here are moving slow as molasses in january. Frankly it's hard to muster up the fortitude to type out the mundane details of things that come to pass on a daily basis, because to me, it feels like i'd be writing about the things that HAVEN'T happened. It's probably not too interesting for you to read, "well, still no walls" again and again ...and again. But enough little things do eventually accumulate and i submit them here for your reading pleasure.Kelly's fine, I'm fine, both Render and Noodles are fine, the three remaining keets are fine -- although getting uglier by the minute -- and 9 out of 10 chickens are fine. (well, we technically still have 10 but only 9 are fine... Kelly owes you a story, and it's his story, so I'm not going to tell it. Please call him and remind him if you are in the mood.)The house is inching along towards progress. Today, FINALLY, we had some professional drywallers actually show up and hang some drywall. Dwaine and Randy, twenty-something brothers who are just over a year apart in age, did half the bedroom ceiling and the guest bathroom. They're not twins, and don't even look alike, but they finish each others' sentences and will talk as long as you'll let them. they're fun, but I finally had to go outside, and put armour-all on my car just to be out of earshot. They're hard workers... when they're working, but get them on a topic, and next thing you know another half hour is gone -- but in that time they've offered to share their family's garden surplus, bring over some of last fall's venison, or let you have some of the bounty from a weekend of fishing. Dwayne loves to cook, so i told him if he brought anything, we could cook it together soon as my kitchen's useful!The past two weeks worth of delays feels like forever, and my patience is running really really thin. (have i said that before? yes? well, it's even thinner.) To avoid losing it completely, I've been driving into town and pulling my digital vagabond stunt for hours at a time: the free wifi at the library, in the parking lot of the Country Kitchen restaurant, in the funeral home parking lot, and -my new favorite - at the Subway Sandwich Shop . I used to go inside Country Kitchen and just order a sweet tea, but I always felt like i was taking up a booth as well as the servers' time. At Subway $1.60 gets you a fountain drink with unlimited refills, and no waitress expects a tip. Plus, they're very slow, so if anything, i'm helping the place not look deserted.You might surmise that we haven't gotten Internet access at the house yet (you clever fox!) but even more depressing than that, we still don't have landline telephone service. I finally called AT&T and asked what's up, and four operators later, I discovered that they had the wrong phone number to try to reach me. wow. Anyway, I finally got things straightened out and then, as we came home from an errand the very next day, we found a huge truck with a HUGE drill was on our driveway, Two shirtless (eww) guys were operating this beast of a machine to bring us phone service! Alas, they didn't actually do the deed, so I still have impotent blue wires dangling from my office wall. On a more positive note, I found a used 3-compartment professional sink, and got it pretty cheap. It's a gorgeous solid hunk of stainless steel that stretches over 8 feet long, with a built-in backsplash and gorgeous deep basins. It was pretty grimy when i bought it, but i cleaned it up really well and as soon as the plumbers return, the[...]

[Mockingbird Acres] The Saga Continues


Trixie the dog has been away for 5 or 6 days and we miss her. She has provided many laughs, as well as 3 rescued guinea keets. When the keets would manage to escape their fenced-in area, they would screech loudly as they tried to figure out how to get back in. If I would approach one to try to help, sometimes they would run off into the woods. If Trixie was nearby (which was almost always) she would pursue the bird and eventually either hold it down or gently bring it back to near where I would be standing.Speaking of guinea keets, only 4 remain in our control. We started raising 21 of them in a large Rubbermaid bin, but when they outgrew that we had to set them up in a fenced enclosure within the garden confines. Many of them either squeezed their way through the fencing or they flew over the top. I also know that the predatory birds were thinning the flock, as well. One morning I heard the keets squawking, and saw a large hawk flying low over the garden. I ran down to chase it off, and found one keet in distress. The hawk had made a grab for this keet, but didn't get it good enough. The keet had claw marks on his head, but seemed to be alright. He is one of the four that remain.Our "rough-in" electrical inspection was rejected because of a couple minor issues:1. There is an outdoor recepticle wire that was supposed to be on a circuit that is separate from any indoor circuits.2. Power run into the guest bath was supposed to be on its own circuit, but it was sharing a circuit with two dining room outlets.Unfortunately, the inspector only works in this county on Wednesdays and Fridays, so we will have to wait 5 days for re-inspection. Once we are approved we can move forward with these projects:insulation - walls Kenny McAfee is a local contractor who does both insulation and heating/air conditioning. He has offered to let me help with the insulation of the walls for a reduced price. He is a really energetic character and I look forward to working with The plumber who was recommended will be available to start on Monday, June 22. He is currently in Montana plumbing on a mission with his church. We have to acquire a tub and ADA-compliant sink before he starts.drywall We are waiting for an estimate from a guy who hired JoAnna to serve breakfast to a group of drywall delivery drivers as a way to thank them for their good work. I'd like to save some money by doing the walls myself, but there's no way I would attempt the ceiling work.electric - finish The electrician will return to install fixtures once the drywall is finished. I am hoping the siding is done at that time so the outside light fixtures can be finished then.insulation - attic Kenny McAfee will probably be back to blow cellulose fibers up into the attic space.HVAC The full installation of a heat pump system will have to wait until we have more money. Until then, we will use window units for AC and propane for heat if it gets cold before we can afford the big system. Regardless, a woodstove will be installed before we reach the coldest months.siding and soffit The price quote I got from the building contractor was higher than we can afford, so I'll be attempting this work on my own. I plan to hire the builder for a few hours to try to learn the best way to do the work.June is the first month in 15 years that no monthly rent payment was required. For 15 years we have been doing this, but no more. If I had bought a house when I was 12, the 30-year mortgage would be paid off now. But I didn't. I bu[...]

[Mockingbird Acres] Moby Dick reference makes me seem literate!


We got up early (again) and put more stuff in the ground (again) Other things have had a higher priority, and I find myself putting in 'seedlings' that already have lots of flower buds. Some even have blossoms! I'm trying to learn what the things are by looking at the leaves and the stems, getting to know the plants more intimately than just reading their nametags, but today, what i thought was cucumber, was actually okra. One of the spots where we were digging resulted in a loud CLANG when Kelly struck it with this huge digging spike. The spike weighs about 25 lbs and is about 6 ft of solid iron. Kelly named Ishmael because it looks like a big harpoon. He used Ishmael to find the edge of the thing, then employed it as a lever, wedging it under the rock. A few grunts and groans later, he unearthed - literally - a huge, flat rock that was probably 6" thick, 18'' wide and 2.5 feet long. we didn't know what to do with it so we placed it in one of the paths. As he was wresting it from the ground, I said, "I bet nobody from your old job would picture you doing this!" With all the climbing and carrying and hammering and shoveling, and all the other heavy lifting that comes with building a house, Kelly's kinda ripped! After a few hours, it started raining. First just a sprinkle, then a decent downpour with lightning and thunder. We went in for breakfast, and then Kelly took a nap while i picked over a few boxes to see if anything could be consolidated. Then i had to do some office-work for the two jobs i'm doing this week. It's weird to sit down at the computer and not be able to check e-mail! We still haven't made our 'big purchase' at lowe's, but we'll have to do it soon... we need to get the lights so they can be installed, and we need the bathtub so the plumber can put it in. We allotted space for an extra-long tub, and Kelly seems to be considering upgrading the bathtub to one with whirlpool jets. A guy at the local kitchen & bath fixtures store showed us the difference between a traditional jacuzzi-jet type tub, and one with whirlpool style jets, and the difference was night and day. We also have to figure out what to do with all our stuff that's scattered all over here while the drywall goes in. Kelly mentioned he might rent a uhaul truck for 3 days and park it up here, just for the waterproof storage ability. He's encouraging me to go on a "Drywall Vacation" since -- in his words -- there's no reason that both of us have to suffer. The major stipulation is have to take Noodles with me, so I can't fly anywhere, but I can drive up to 8 hours. Where should I go? If we were still in L.A. I'd choose Las Vegas - only 5 hrs away and plenty of cheap places that would not only accept pets but would also have kitchenette units. When the "Drywall Vacation" can start, tho, depends on a lot of factors. The first one being that the electrician we hired made a couple bonehead mistakes and we didn't pass the inspection. One of the mistakes was that there were too many wires being run to one switchbox, and the other is that it's against code to have an outdoor outlet and an indoor outlet run to the same breaker. For someone who made such a big deal of the almighty "CODE" and how many outlets had to be on a wall and whatnot, that one seems like a no-brainer, so i'm especially disappointed with that. So the electrician has to come in and make the adjustments, and then HE has to buy another permit for re-inspection, and then we have to wait another week before the inspector wi[...]



3 NEW BLOG POSTS on Mockingbird Acres   

Let us know what you think!

New blog entry


A new post has been added  and is ready for you to read:

To Kimberly K: I didn’t find anything about mugwort for poison ivy, but lots about jewelweed. Haven’t really had a chance to try to identify it yet.
To Del D: Yes, I have a flushing toilet now!
To Charlie & Cassandra: I had a good laugh at the “smell of prosperity”... It smelled VERY prosperous at the cattle auction!
To David T: Hurrah! Keep cooking! I’m really glad you’re enjoying it so much! (and congrats on the new BF!)
To John A: we also got tired of the L.A. Lifestyle, and all it entails. We’re building this is so that you (as in, “y’all”) can maintain your status quo , but you can escape once in a while.
To Julia & Morgan: Congrats on Desmond! **was** it a slip when you told me about pre-natal vitamins?  ;-)
To Shelley H: Keep me posted with what’s going on with your folks... And give me more notice for your next visit out here!



[Mockingbird Acres] Tha ROOF! Tha ROOF! Tha roof is in PROSPECT!


We've been working a lot again, and Kelly mentioned before, that means that by the time we have had supper (that's dinner to most of you folks, LOL) we're plum tuckered out.Here's what we've done lately:We finally found a guy to sell us guinea keets. "Keet" is the word for chick when referring to guinea fowl. We got 20 of them, and he threw in an extra. They're cute now, but give them time, and they'll become as ugly as this: adult guinea Everyone we tell that we got some guineas always make two comments "they're good for keeping the ticks down" and "boy they sure are loud, aren't they?" When they're eating and just hanging out, they peep like little sparrows. When they're being held, or when they're disturbed, or sometimes, just out of the blue....SQUAWK~ SQUAWK~ SQUAWK! It's ear piercing. The chickens are doing great in their home-made tractor. I'm typing this in a word processor so i don't remember if I said this already, but we have only two roosters out of the 10 I picked! Not bad for a first-time chick-picker! I also don't remember if i identified the breeds: One rooster and two hens are silver laced wyandotte one rooster and three hens are buff orpingtons and the last three hens are solid white, so it's likely they're Leghorn (colloquially pronounced LEG-urn)Noodles and Trixie got into a little scuffle, but i managed to settle it for them. Sometimes i want to wring her neck, but usually Noodles is pretty mellow. The past two days she was acting ill. She seemed to not have a good sense of balance, she wouldn't jump up on the car tailgate as eagerly as she had before, and wouldn't do that whip-around head-shaking thing things dogs do when they get wet. Also, she spontaneously makes this pained noise that sounds like she was being crushed. She has always been very vocal, but this was different. She'd also be shivering, even when she was warm. I manipulated her legs and poked her a bunch: no reaction. I thought i narrowed it down to her head, so I gave her a chew stick and she went at it like normal: no toothache. I looked in her ears thinking maybe she had an earache, but besides the usual dog ear-gunk, i didn't find ticks or anything unusual. Finally, deciding i couldn't figure out what's wrong with her, and being concerned it wasn't passing, I decided I'd take her to the vet this morning. Therefore, today, she seems back to normal. Go figure. $300 and a couple prescriptions later... I hope she feels better soon.Tha roof! Tha roof! Tha roof is in Prospect! Right now there are two men walking along the new roof of my house, wielding an impact hammer that drives nails in with compressed air. What an amazing machine. They're wearing t-shirts and shorts and gym shoes, no safety glasses and they're being lifted up and down on a forklift that has an articulating arm. I can scarcely watch. Kelly said it would be a nice gesture if I would make dinner (lunch) for them, and I was happy to cook. I made burgers yesterday, served with grilled corn-on-the-cob and coleslaw, and (sadly, instant) chocolate pudding with bananas for dessert. Today I'm doing apple & chipotle glazed pork chops, with potato salad, and sliced cucumbers & tomatoes, and chocolate chip cookies (store bought. I want to cook!).Today I learned: No matter how nicely you ask for a ride on a big green extension forklift, you won't be allowed to ride.Photos, as before, are up on flickr: Click here! -- Posted By [...]