Hee-eeer's JOLIE`!!

We are proud to introduce to you, our family and friends, our new Border Collie puppy, Jolie`.  She came to us Oct. 27, 2016, two days before her 2 month birthday.
 This is the picture of Ms. Madison giving us Jolie` to bring home. Such a sweet little puppy and very nice lady.
   Peg drove on the way home while I petted and comforted the puppy. I'm sure, for her, it was a traumatic experience. The video that follows, is the very first time she set paw in our yard and met BeauxBear, da bratty Bichon Frise, her new brother.  

After this first meeting they quickly bonded and played a lot together. Beaux was delighted to have someone his own size to play with. Since she was still a baby, BeauxBear was kind of hard to keep up with so she had to take frequent breaks, and her nap times were also frequent. We did discover that she has a penchant for snooping around in the grass or wherever for things that smelled interesting to her. Beaux...not so much. He'd take a whiff of  whatever she was "snoofing" at, then run off to what interested him, which was running and running and running.
The new friends also enjoyed playing tug-of-war in the house. Here they can be seen torturing the "Possible Possum". It has been a true joy watching Jolie` grow and change and become part of our family. This is the most current video of her and some of her wacky "escapades". As you can see, she towers over her now Lilliputian-sized brother, who no doubt wonders, "How did this happen!???" Besides picking on him all the live-long day, who she thinks is her loveliest 'squeaky toy'...her "sheep!!", she also picks on all of us and LOVES getting into all KINDS of mischief!
Well, we can't wait to see how many other "creative" adventures await us with Jolie`, our crazy-nutzy girl. So much awful/funny stuff  that will "border" on insanity, we're thinkin'. Ah, but look at those eyes; aint she worth it??
 Yes she is...oh yes she izzzzz.


Our Much-Requested Banana Nut Bread Recipe

   We've been growing bananas and pecans for several years and have come up with many ways to enjoy them. One of our most favorite ways is our banana nut bread, which we love to share with family and friends. It's wheat and gluten free, but TASTY despite that bad rap. Since so many people have asked us for the recipe, we thought we'd better (finally) get to it. Photos of the adventure follow, showing how easy it is. Hope you give it a try! 
  This is a pan full of our big plantain-like bananas, which are more "meaty" than regular bananas, but suit this bread just fine, too. We let them get dark, so they are sweeter.
Cappy peeled them. See how heavy they look.
  Next we mixed the butter with the (I use) honey, but you can use sugar, if you like.
Cappy whirred the bananas up in the food processor, but you can just mash them, if that's what you prefer to do.I added the eggs and beat them in with the flour and rest of the dry ingredients. (Notice I am wearing two different colored Crocs. I wonder if this is the shoe style for new puppy owners. I couldn't find the mate to either until Jolie unearthed the other ones from who knows where a couple of days later. As it was, the green Croc I could find was gnawed on prittee good, but still wearable...I'm learning to hide my shoes on her during the night.) The bananas got added to the batter, along with a good handful of chopped pecans, and "viola!" (:-p ...I always say that on "porpoise".) It was ready to go into the  pans that Cappy greased, doing a fine job at well-greasing them,too. We ended up with a nice batch of small banana nut breads, which we shared as Christmas gifts with our neighbors this year.
We'd encourage you to go on and give this recipe a try and let us know what you think. We are always curious.



We Just Found Out We're Fragrant Again!!

   Our first attempt at growing garlic last year in our 4'x4' garden box yielded 100 heads of garlic which we considered a success. We made a few mistakes, but still managed to learn a lot from them and decided it was worth the effort to give it another try.
Once we got everything ready to go, we decided that since the old garden box was falling apart and wasn't holding up as well as the newer "neighbor" boxes that were all freshly planted with our usual choice of veggies, we needed to retire this one and build a new bed for the garlic. 
You can see for yourself that the 15 year old box was rotting and pulling apart. We talked and thought and prayed and decided to build the new one 4'x6' to give ourselves more garlic, seeing how we are fast using up those 100 bulbs (yep, we do love our garlic). It's the same size as Peg's herb garden right next to it. 
It was pretty easy pulling away the old crumbling wood, and once we got the old box from around the bed it became obvious the soil had was in bad need of fresh soil, wouldn't ya say?
 Peg and I cut up the old boards with my recip  and stacked them to be honored later in the firepit as we enjoy the cooler Fall weather we've been waiting so long for.
Next, we set up the sawhorses and set to work building the new garlic bed. For this project we bought 2, 2"x12"x 12 foot long heavy oak boards.  
We cut one board in half to yield 2, 6' boards, then from another 12' board, we cut 2, 4'3" boards,  off for the 4'x6' box.
While we were at it, we also cut the wood for a 4'x4' box...but that's another project.
We put the box together, making sure it was going to be very sturdy; each corner has 3, 3" screws, and the tops of the corners all have a galvanized brace with 12, 1/14" screws and a bottom angle brace with 6 1/14"screws.  That all might be TMI for some of the readers, but people ask, if we don't tell 'em what we did. The heavy box can be rolled, or dragged, (your choice...I kinda did both) and moved, and will still firmly hold it's shape as can be seen in this picture and video.  video
Not the easiest of chores for a chubby ol' Cajun, but I rolled/dragged the box in place and laid it down then adjusted it a little. Peggy hadda shovel dirt from under the frame as I held it up one side at a time, but we finally got it in place. 
    Then we filled it with dirt from our compost pile, added some Miracle Grow Garden Soil that we found on sale and some peat moss.
   I drove nails all around the box in 1 foot increments and strung the box with nylon string to 'grid' the square foot sections. 24 square feet. This helps us place our plants and seeds more accurately. 
 Peggy and I planted 9 garlic toes per sq. foot in the whole bed. Yep, 216 garlic "piggies", she called 'em.  
Once the whole bed was planted, I said a prayer over it; a garden task complete. Now it was out of our hands.
It's been 2 weeks already and now look! many of the garlic plants reaching for the Fall sunshine. How about that.
I am very excited to say:  Here we grow again!


Cappy Lowers the Doom

   I'll tell you, it wasn't easy when Cappy was out on the boat and I had to learn to be the "man" of the house until he got back home to resume that role. I had to deal with mechanics who didn't care one whit that I had gone online and thoroughly researched the problem I was having with our SUV, and what part I thought they should repair.  
   "Uh yeah, (little lady) we'll take a look at it for ya," with exchanged looks and eye rolls at one another, they hoisted their britches and clipboard in hand, headed back into the dark recesses of the mechanic's garage where a sign boldly forbade any customers from entering. A couple of times, I happened to be right, much to their chagrin. They had one of the "gals" who worked in the office come and tell me so, and that they were going to replace that particular part...and when they did "voila!" it worked great. Still, it was always a daunting process, dealing with those guys.
  Plumbers coming to the house, same thing. I might investigate the problem, but it didn't always work; they always seemed to talk over my head, "Well, yeah, I'll have to get a double-whirrled purple slath-branger ratchet to finish the job...might cost you a li'l extra, but if yer wantin' the thing to work, an' all...we can fix it."

  Yeah, well, so "I" managed to get the job done, dealing with them.
  I don't even want to talk about electricians or A/C installers or yard workers, etc., etc., etcetera...sigh...it was rough. It got to the point that I'd rather let things hang,'til Cappy got off the boat, which was not always a pleasant "surprise" for him to come home to, when all he wanted to do was relax. So I'd muster up my courage to muddle through the doom and gloom and try it again, sometimes with success and sometimes, not.
  Well, now he's home for good and I'll tell ya, he has really lowered my stress level when it comes to home repairs, etc. Presently, we (he) is handling the bathroom plumbing situation, talking with people who know he means business...and we are planning a trip to Lowe's.
  AHA! Going to Lowe's now is a fun experience...not the dreaded groveling forages into the cavernous aisles I had to endure. With Cappy it's always a fun adventure.
   That reminds me of a couple of stories we had posted here on our blog about just this very thing. Enjoy!

                 But I Don't Wannnna Be a Cowboy
                                                    (originally posted 8/26/2006)
   Well, now that I've been feeling better, I've tried to get back on track with everything again. Since finishing the den, I've been camping out in the computer-"slash"-guest room, having torn the bedroom apart in preparation for 'de-constructing' and remodeling in a style totally different from Cappy's den, which I love, but want something more light in color and open in feeling, if not in fact. (We live in what Cappy refers to as a 'shoebox'.)
   One of the first things I had to do was purchase storage racks and baskets for the clothes in the closet, because the closet is the first thing on the list to be torn apart.
   Cappy and I usually go together when we shop at the big home improvement stores, but him being out on the boat, I put on my big girl overalls with a tape measure hung on my pocket, list in hand, and swaggered across the parking lot like John Wayne. Too bad there weren't swinging doors; I coulda barged into the place like I owned it, doors flapping behind me. I was gonna look those guys dead in the eye and let 'em know I mean business, not let them double-talk me about pneumatic explosive nail drivers or double hung stud finders....none of that stuff. I pretty much knew what I was looking for, all I hadda do was find it.
   I mosied to the back of the store and found what I needed, but dang if I didn't come up short and needed to ask for help.
   A tough-lookin' gal in a red 'get-up' said she could help, but then called a guy to come answer my questions.
   I steeled myself. I pushed back my shoulders, stuck out my chin and waited. Waited some more. Waited some more. Relaxing a little, I looked around wondering where everybody went...did all the mens dive behind the bar when I strode through those front door with a chip on my shoulder?
   Just when I was about to give up, some 'dandy' pranced down the aisle toward me, all smiles. (I think they hone their timing 'til they see the customer begin to wilt and are more vulnerable...then they pounce.) I've gotta say he was pretty witty and entertaining, but he couldn't answer my questions, so he called another dude on the phone to come help me. As he was flitting away, he turned back and said in a mock provocotive tone, "...Ya know...I could hang around here with you and wait til the other guy shows up?"
   I musta taken off my tough guy exterior when I wasn't looking. I clinked my spurs together, stiffened my spine again and said, "No, but thanks for offering."
   Just then a deep voice behind me said, "Well, I can hang    around with you and wait 'til the other guy gets here, too."

   I turned and saw an older man sitting on one of those motorized scooters, leaning back on one arm, his other arm extended over the steering wheel as though it were a hot red convertible, complete with a 'hubba-hubba' backseat.
   I smiled and was about to joke that his shirt had lost a few buttons, but then decided it might embarrass him. I told him the same thing I had told the 'dandy', "No, but thanks for offering."
   He drove on.
   While I was muttering to myself that I'd probably be waiting forever on this next store helper, a man looking to be in his 50's strode around the corner and jokingly asked me what it was I was looking for anyhow. (anyhow??) And this man had his pale green shirt unbuttoned almost halfway down his front, exposing his hairy grey chest like the guy on the scooter.....oh WAIT...it was the 'scooter guy'... walking around.
   He said, "I reallly will wait around with you 'til the guy shows up."
   Suddenly I got the feeling that this was his 'supermarket'...his 'bar'...and he was a 'lounge lizard', cruising the back aisles of the hardware section looking for gullible females.
   Well, by that time I was totally disarmed and disoriented. I humored him a few minutes with chit-chat about remodeling, etc., then high-tailed it outa there with the shelves and baskets I had already found, unanswered questions flying in the breeze behind me, quickly paid for my purchases and slinked back across the parking lot without what I'd really come for.
   Next time I'll up the ante; I'll go back as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

         And another post of how things are when Cappy lowers the doom (my stress level) at Lowes: click the link here and enjoy the fun...   http://cappyandpegody.blogspot.com/search?q=hummingbird+gumbo


The German Cajun Connection

(Brats and Kraut?)
   It's around  this time of year that almost every small town in our area is having some kind of German festival.  For whatever reason, it's not been widely known that German migrants also settled mostly along the Mississippi River and still has a strong influence on our culture. 
   As with other branches of our region's Cajun "family tree", besides the  French, Spanish, African,  Italian and Native American cuisines, German food has also impacted our life, as well. Their wonderful sausages and beer to name just two. 
   Some historians credit the Germans with the evolution of Boudin, one of our most treasured Cajun sausage-like, (but not sausage) "gotta haves".
       I have my own theory about this:  
   While the Germans most likely had a boudin-like sausage, it is unlikely they would have used rice as a cereal filler.  I have noticed over the years that the closer to the Mississippi River you travel, the less rice is used in the making of boudin. Here in our little river town the people who make boudin insist on using no rice in their boudin. To me, this suggests a German influence and lends credence to my theory. That and the fact that the local phone book has a ton of German names listed. Anyway, I digress and never intended this to be a history lesson...just my take on Cajun-German "fusion" food stuff.  

On to my main topic. At first glance, you might wonder what's Cappy doing with brats and kraut in his beloved ol' black iron pot? Well, this is my "Cajunized" version of brats and kraut.  It's just fresh spicy Cajun sausage with smothered cabbage.  
I let the sausages sizzle covered in the pot with a splash of oil for a few minutes.
I turned them over and pricked the skin with a fork to allow the juices to escape into the pot.
I put the lid on and while the sausage was simmering away in its own juices, I turned three onions
into long pieces,
I took the browned sausages out and put the onions in the pot, then added some of our own Cajun seasoning and let them cook, (covered )
while I whacked up half a head of cabbage that had been lurking around in the fridge for some time.
In went the cabbage with the onions, 
got all stirred up and covered again for a while, 'til it "simmered down".  I occasionally stirred it all around while it was on low heat, and after an hour or so, I put the sausages back in on top, stirred a bit more, then called it "done". 
   It was a wonderful hearty meal in honor of Fall approaching; my favorite time of year.
So thanks to the German influences that contributed richly to our culture! Instead of the traditional October Fest greeting, we wish you in true Cajun fashion, Happy Fall Yall!!!
  (Peg said she has some German in her heritage, too, and proved it by drizzling vinegar over this meal in her bowl, and was also her way of letting me know me the cabbage was not kraut and the sausage was not the boudin that I'd been talking about as far as cultural food influences. Hmm...I forgot about the Yankee influence here in my own house.)


Dipping Our Toes in the Garlic Harvesting Process

   Thanks to help from some of our friends here in town and my favorite gardening forums, our first ever garlic crop went stinkin' good!
   Here's a link that will catch you up on our project, from the fun and "veryyy interesting" planting process, next to the harvesting of the danged stuff, then how I experimented with the knotting and braiding of the garlic strands with my big ol' "Cappy fingers" and then tried drying it as best we could in our steamy environment of wet and sunny South Louisiana. Read here:
   So, now that the braids have been hanging in the cabinet for a couple of months, being admired from time to time by us, one day when Peg cut off a bulb to use in one of our dishes, we were alarmed to find that several of the heads were turning brown and almost mushy!!  Oh NO! Not after all that work! 
   We hurriedly clipped the heads from the remaining braids, and I sat and "processed" them all by separating them into individual garlic toes, wondering the whole time what in the world we were going to do right away to save them. I tole Peg I was doing the hard part, separating them and that I was leaving her the easiest part, peeling all of them. She just gave me a dim look and sniffed. What??  
   Well, I found out "what", cuz it took both of us about all day to do it, working tag-team. Oh sure, it's easy peelin' 'em when ya mash 'em first on the cutting board just before you use 'em in a skillet for whatever you are about to cook, but leaving them whole and trying to peel the thin paper skin off...? The skins fight tooth and nail, sticking to each and every little toe of garlic, then, too, ya end up with sticky, goopy, garlicky fingers that makes the job so much harder with such a mess, that ya gotta get up and go wash yer hands every now and then, fuming the whole time yer doin' it. We thought it would never end!  (We'll have to google and look for easier ways to do it in the future.) 
  While it was Peg's turn to fight with 'em, I got online and called around, researching what in the world we might could do with them so they wouldn't spoil. Armed with lots of information, we decided to forget most of it and take the advice of our good friend Sam, who's gardened most of his life and knows a lot. He's given us great advice in the past, so when he said we should stick our toes in olive oil, that's just exactly what we did. We put the now nekkid garlic toes in canning jars and topped them off with olive oil, then parked them in the fridge.

You will notice that the big jar on the right there, isn't full of garlic. Since we didn't have enough toes to fill it, Peggy wandered outside and came back in with a handful of Rosemary (who seems to be holding her own this year). Peg said this way we could try what all the food channels talked about when they mentioned "infused" olive oil. We could have stuck in a number of other things, as well, but this was what she wanted to start with...see how it comes out, etc.

Sam recommended that we wait a couple of weeks to let it infuse...flavor up the oil before we tried it. You know me...I could hardly wait to try it, so after about a week, I did. The oil is taking on a wonderful garlic taste and hopefully will get more flavorful as time goes on.

  Meanwhile, while Peg was busy in the computer room, I sneaked out a little spoonful of the garlic infused olive oil, took it in to Peg, who was totally preoccupied and tole her to taste what I had in the spoon. (I did this to her one time with a heaping big tablespoon of cod liver oil and 'innocently' told her to taste it, not telling her what is was. She absolutely refused, so I put the whole spoonful in my own mouth and pretended it was yummy, but she still wouldn't do it. Gah! I 'scolded' her,"Do you know what I went through trying not to show I was gagging?" It was horrible. Curses! "hoist with my own petard", like  Peg's ol' Shakespeare liked to say.) 

 So now back to the other day, she musta not trusted me now, an' that was years ago. She sipped a tiny bit of the garlic olive oil and said, "Gah! It almost tastes like fish oil...what is it?"

Well, that kinda hurt my feelings, but when I told her it was our garlic infused olive oil, she smacked her lips a couple of times, furrowed one brow and said, "Oh yeah...heh heh...our olive oil...yeah, mebbe it does kinda taste a little like garlic olive oil," (totally redeeming herself) then followed directly on my heels as I headed back to the kitchen. 
    I minced up three of the garlic toes and cooked them in a ground meat, macaroni, tomato dish that my Mama used to call "dog food", but Peggy's family calls it goulash...but instead of tomatoes, I used her homemade BBQ sauce...it was SO delicious we coulda slapped both our Mamas, it was that good!  
 Now, even tho' we're supposed to wait 'til the olive oil gets more infused, I secretly can't wait to wait to nibble on Rosemary's toes...and I don't think Peg will mind, either. :-D 


Labor Day at Sam and Louise's House...Our Friends.

   I was rather embarrassed when my good friend Sam called at 8:30 Labor Day morning, catching me just sliding my overalls on.  I had slept late. I hurriedly poured me a huge "go" cup of strong Cajun coffee, jumped in Tinker Bail, my Jeep and headed across town to his smokehouse. 
   I backed up to his smokehouse shed, dropped the tailgate and set a well-stocked ice chest on it.
It was raining, but we didn't care; we sat visiting in his shed man cave while our lunch smoked and smelled up the neighborhood.
 This is what a corner of a Cajun man cave looks like. Notice all the spices he's got lined up on that top shelf. His "apothecary" that he uses for his own blend of Cajun seasoning that makes all his cookin' come alive!
     After an hour of visiting, Sam went outside and investigated his smokehouse that he had been tending for about four hours.
In there ya got two nice slabs of ribs, two chickens, some of the sausage he made, and assorted peppers. Done to a fare-thee-well! We took everything out, brought back it into the shed and I helped by slicing up some sausage for sampling purposes.
I slathered it with Peggy's amazing homemade BBQ sauce that I had brought along and we munched on them as I separated the ribs and quartered the chicken. At least that way I felt like I was helping with part of the cooking.
Once we got the meat all carved up, slathered some more of  Peggy's BBQ sauce on it, then parked it in a slow oven for a while so the meat could "get to know" the sauce. 
Next we took it out of the oven, stacked it in a pan and carried it across the street to their home for the main meal.
Peg had showed up sometime after I had, so the girls had been in the house chatting while Sam and I had been "working" in his shed.
 My beautiful best friend (No, not Sam) had also prepared, besides her BBQ sauce, a Waldorf Salad, a pasta salad and her delicious coconut pudding for dessert.  
          Sam and Louise cooked the meat and some tasty smoked chicken salad dip. Like usual we had a great time together laughing and enjoying each other's company. 
This was my plate.
Was it good you ask? We 'crushed' it!
It was so good we brought some home and had it again for supper the next day. It was a great Labor Day BBQ with our friends, who we don't need a holiday for an excuse to pass a good time with, especially since there was hardly no labor at all.