Sunday, January 30, 2011

OWOH 2011 - One World One Heart - My Blogiversary

Today is a very, very  special day!  First and foremost, it is the start of the
5th Annual One World One Heart (OWOH)


Welcome or welcome back to MoonCat Farms Meanderings.  This is a husband/Mr. MoonCat and wife/Jules endeavor (though as in most good marriages the wife is the one doing most of the talking/blogging :)

Our place is called MoonCat Farms ~ did you notice the cool logo that Mr. MoonCat designed?  We have a large number of animals who call these 10 acres in the California boonies home.  They include cats, dogs and chickens right now.  We have horses and cattle as well, but they're at Dad's ranch a few miles from here. 

Gardening, photography, riding, sewing, cooking and reading (see my other blog: One Book Shy of a Full Shelf for our book reviews) are just a few of the many things that keep us busy around here ~ besides all of the critters.  We try to live as green a life as we can and lessen our impact on this Earth in as many ways as possible.  I hope you'll stick around or come back and see what kinds of things we come up with to "Make It So" ~ I'm a closet Trekkie..

OWOH is the brainchild of Lisa at A Whimsical Bohemian.  She created this event as a way to give bloggers all over the world a chance to mix and mingle.  She dreamed of people meeting others they might never have crossed paths with except through One World One Heart.  Lisa started what could only be described as a phenomenon.  It has increased immensely each year with more bloggers worldwide taking part.

I started my blog TWO YEARS AGO TODAY because I was encouraged by several bloggers that I met through One World One Heart.  They basically held my hand as I jumped into what would become a large part of my life ~ a very important part.  So I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to Lisa for dreaming up OWOH and also to those lovely, lovely ladies who told me I could do it! One World One Heart started me on the blogging highway.

Happy 2nd Blogiversary MoonCat Farms and Happy 5th One World One Heart!

I'm sure you're well aware by now that each of the bloggers participating in OWOH is offering their visitors a chance to win a "door prize".  It is a way of saying Thanks for stopping by and looking around.  Y'all come back now ya hear?

I haven't really decided what I'm going to give away.  I love doing surprise or mystery prizes so I think we'll go with that.  Entry into the drawing is very simple.  You must be an active blogger ~ sorry, but this is a blogger to blogger event.. and you must fill out this very short form.  That's it!  I will draw a winner using the random number generator and then email the lucky number holder.  They will have 48 hours to respond or I'll have to draw another winner.  Comments on the post are appreciated, but only entries on the form below will count for the drawing.

To continue on your adventure through the blogisphere, please click HERE to be taken to the list of participating bloggers.  Have fun!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fowl Food

Like many of you I spend hours upon hours this time of year drooling over the newest seed catalogs and planning the garden's future.  There's a big difference for us at MoonCat Farms this time around though, we're also deciding what kind of crops to grow for our chickens!

Since becoming the chicken mama to my feathered friends, I've been trying to learn as much as I can about what I can feed them - especially at this time of year.  The ground is bare and there aren't many tasty bugs to be had so I need to supplement their fare.  Trying to give them fresh produce is costing a fortune!  They've been eating some very interesting concoctions that I've been creating in the kitchen as well.

For the most part, I've gathered that if it is natural and healthy for us ~ it should be pretty much the same for them.  They have been enjoying A LOT of fresh spinach, cooked peas and beans, various fruits, a bit of fish or other proteins on occasion, homemade suet cake treats, etc.  This is of course on top of their chicken mash, scratch and pellets.   

When the garden was still in full swing we discovered that tomatoes and watermelon are their top choices.  They'd line up like little inmates at the fence and beg for tomatoes.  Squash and peas were OK once they're cooked by the chicken mama, most greens were welcomed as well.  Strawberries and blackberries were another favorite treat along with cucumbers. 

Besides the normal fruits and veggies that we're growing for ourselves, I'm trying to figure out what we can add for the chickens.  I will be doing a lot of canning, freezing and drying of our own foodstuffs and things such as comfrey, spinach and other greens for the birds.  I would like to get any suggestions that some more experienced chicken keepers might have as to what else would be good for getting us through the winter a bit cheaper..

Anyone?  Bueller?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Our Other Selves

My friend Susan pointed out that I needed to post a few pictures of Mr. MoonCat and I in our Renaissance Faire garb.  I'd been writing about all of the new outfits that we would like to make with our LA Loot and she requested some photos.  So here are some from the last few years; I hate having my picture taken, so there aren't an abundance of me :)  Hubby on the other hand is a ham, so I will have even more of him in the near future.

I think these are in order, timewise:

Me, left.  The lovely Aimee, right. (2006)
My first faire in (borrowed) WOOL garb,
105 degrees - miserable.

Dressed as Pirates for a charity event
2nd Pirates of the Caribbean movie premiere (2006)

My man at my feet (2007)
notice his long hair

Our Big Day (2008)
He cut his hair to surprise me!
I loved it :)

Our tavern garb (2009)
he helps behind the bar - I shop

Some of his old, old garb in need
of replacement (2010)

So that's it for now.  I'll dig up some more photos in the near future.  You can see my hubby in his Nobles (fancy) garb where he portrayed Lord Huntley, George Gordon.  I renamed him Lord Pompousassedness as he played his character a little too well!  I still call him that when he gets a little too regal, royal or flat out obnoxious :) 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rugs to Rags and Back Again

Growing up on a working ranch meant we didn't really have a lot of frivolous decor in the house. Things needed to be useful, practical, and most of all, easy to clean. The hardest working "decorations" were the rugs. They took a major beating. Especially the rugs near the back door where we came in from the barn. We usually had one of the very colorful, very durable old rag rugs placed there. They were workhorses!  They kept the majority of the mud and other things from going further into the house.  I still have a couple of those old beauties that I try to keep anyone from stepping on because they're getting some age on them.

Old Rag Rug section

Here at MoonCat Farms we have our own share of mud and gunk from the gardens and the chicken runs. I had a cheap little throw rug at the front door that was doing a fairly good job keeping the muck out until Pippi ate it.  As in there aren't even pieces to show you!

She is one of the most destructive little dogs I've ever had! She eats my shoes (notice I said mine, NOT Mr. MoonCat's), books and whatever she can get her little pointy teeth on. I have to be sure to get to any packages from UPS or FedEx before she does as she REALLY likes to open boxes and mail for me. Please note that she has more toys and chewy things than a puppy or child could ever want to gnaw on - she just prefers things that belong to moi!

The only time Miss Pippi/Peepers isn't
eating my stuff!
Isn't my sweet big boy Chandler a cutie pie??

So back to the rug issue. Little Miss Peepers has given me the excuse I've needed to replace the rugs in the living and dining rooms (it's actually more like a great room all combined).  I've decided I want to go with somewhat more modern rugs than the plain older rugs we've been using. One of the other concerns besides the dirt trapping is keeping the wet doggy paw prints from being left on the hardwood floors. Here are two examples of what I am looking at:

This one is an indoor/outdoor rug that is handwoven. It's hoseable, scrubbable, bleachable and designed for high-traffic, muddy areas. I like that the design and colors combine to add a little punch.

Vine & Leaf RugThis lovely vine and leaf design fits well with my living room/great room colors and I think it would hide dirt well. It's also indoor/outdoor and said to be super easy to clean.

Both rugs are water resistant and could be hung out over the fence or big clothesline to dry when washed - not in the machine, but by being hosed down :)  I am a lazy housekeeper as I'd much rather be in the garden or out at the ranch with Dad and the horses. Ease of cleaning and practicality are VERY high on my requirements for things around here.

So what do you think, any suggestions? I admit I'm leaning more towards the leaves at the moment, but I always let the Mister put in his 1/2 cent - since I get 1 1/2 hee hee..


**I am a CSN Preferred Blogger and will receive an item for review in exchange for this post. My opinions and words are 100% honest and MY OWN and are not influenced in any way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Selections

You are my Sunshine, My Only Sunshine

Toot, Celie, Hammie

You make me happy....when skies are gray

Lily, Celie, Porkchop, Toot, Hammie

You'll never know dear...

I swear, he's a cat - not a potbelly pig

how much I Love You

Sheena/Sha Nay Nay/Old Lady

Please don't take... my sunshine away.

Badger, Tory, Bugsy

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Sweetness - Crummy Fruit Crumble

I haven't posted a recipe in just about forever.  So I thought I'd share a super-yummy one that I made last week for the hubby and Dad.  It got rave reviews and I apologize for no photos, they ate it rather quickly!

This is based loosely upon a recipe I found in a book I'm reviewing this week over at One Book Shy.  The book is a cozy mystery by Anne Canadeo called "A Stitch Before Dying". 

A Stitch Before Dying (Black Sheep Knitting Mystery) 

It's a part of her Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series.  Since many of you are avid knitters and readers, you may be familiar with it ~ if not, check it out.  (I'm not getting anything by telling you about this, I just enjoyed the book.)  Like I'm hoping you'll enjoy this:

Crummy Fruit Crumble

  • 6 cups thinly sliced apples (I used Fuji, Macintosh, and Delicious varieties)
  • 2 TBsp lemon juice
  • 1 TBsp orange juice
  • 2 TBsp lemon zest
  • 1 TBsp orange zest
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces - keep cold
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 TBsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a mixing bowl toss the sliced apples with the lemon & orange juices and zests.  Add 3 TBsp white sugar, 5 TBsp brown sugar, 2 TBsp flour, 2 TBsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg.  If the mixture is still too juicy, add a bit more flour.  Set this bowl aside. 

Lightly butter the inside of a 9x12 baking dish or pan.  Be sure it's deep enough to hold the mixture or you can go with a slightly larger size.  Pour the apples into the pan.

In a large mixing bowl put the chopped up butter, the rest of the flour and both sugars, plus the oatmeal, granola, walnuts.  Add 1 TBsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg.

I then used my clean, damp hands to knead this mixture until it was completely combined and had started to form into crumbles.  (Since my beloved sister-in-law Cindy gifted me with a stand mixer for Christmas - I can now use that with the paddle attachment instead of my hands!) Sprinkle over the top of the apples and then bake for about 30 minutes.  The crumbs should crisp up and the apple mixture will start to bubble. 

It is wonderful served warm with vanilla ice cream or whip cream.  YUMMMMMMM - I'm making myself hungry :)

*You can substitute other fruits for the apples - I'm thinking raspberries or peaches - or maybe combined!!  yummmm again..

Let me know if you try this and tell me what you think!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some Chick Pix and a SURPRISE!

I haven't updated everyone on the girls (and Big Red) in a while so I thought I'd share a few photos from one of the VERY few days of no rain lately.

The hen's eye view
Big Red fascinated by a bit of straw

The death of a straw bale

So, are you ready for a surprise?  We weren't!  Look....

Aren't they pretty?
We really didn't expect the girls to start laying until March or April at the earliest.  I think they're confused as they aren't supposed to lay during the very short days of winter.  Given that they're also only 5 months old, we were amazed to find these beauties in the coop!  My babies are growing up so fast...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Los Angeles Loot

Behold me bounty...

This is actually about half of what was filling the trunk of the car!

As I mentioned yesterday, the hubby and I took off for a day of adventure with Chris and Cindy in a not-so-nice part of Los Angeles known as the "Garment District".  Little Mr. Rowan kept his grandma Sandy company back at the condo in Anaheim. 

I had never been to this part of the city and I was blown away.  I'm sorry that I didn't take photos of the area, but I was waaaay too busy drooling over the miles of FABRIC!  There were blocks after blocks of stores selling fabric, textiles, and notions.  I was amazed!  

We knew over a year ago that we would be taking a day to go fabric shopping so I had really been stashing money away just for this jaunt.  Many of you know we do Renaissance Faires so we had several outfits in mind that we would be shopping for.  We've also made plans to attend the Dickens Fair in San Francisco next Christmas and need to create Victorian clothes for that.  So we had a list and a plan.  The moment we saw the abundance of gorgeous fabrics and the miniscule prices, the plan flew out the window! 

We bought a bit over 100 yards of fabric and several hundred yards of trim.  Even with all of these purchases - I still came in $120 under my $400 budget that I had allotted and scrimped for.  I spent $280 total.  Mr. MoonCat figured out that we would have spend at least $2000 retail for the fabric and notions that we bought.  The other day I found one of our new wools online at a sale price of $25/yard  I was proud of myself because I had talked the guy in L.A. down to $6/yard from his price of $25.

We're talking BARGAINS people!  On wool and silk among others.  Most of the sellers were very motivated to make my day and my dear Cindy helped me get my feet wet in the art of haggling.  We found an awesome place called "The Loft" above Michael Levine's.  The fabrics were $2.00 PER POUND!  I found several 250 yard rolls of trim there as well for $5.00 each!  

The boys had to make a couple trips back to the car as Cindy & I did a great job of filling up our little shopping cart thing we'd brought to pull around behind us.  They didn't complain (much) as half of what we bought is for their Faire garb as well as ours AND they discovered the famous "Junkyard Dogs".  I think they both ate 3 of them!

Junkyard Dogs are sold by the street vendors and are unbelievable!  They are bacon-wrapped hot dogs with all the fixings including fresh avocado, cheese, and sour cream.  So the boys got their food fix and "cheerfully" carted around our purchases AND acted as bodyguards.  It is not an especially safe area and we did come across a few crazy people down there, but we did our shopping and headed back to the condo.

So enough with all of the blah blah me some goodies.....

This wool tartan will end up as a Great Kilt for the hubby and an arasaid for me
(Chris & Cindy chose the same tartan for theirs so we'll all match!)

The heavy brown will make a doublet for the hubby and a long Pirate coat for each of us!
The plaid and cream cottons are stash fabrics.  (All at $2.00/lb)

The coral and white gauze are for chemises and blouses for me.
The bottom two are actually both sides of one fabric.  For a Faire skirt and apron.

The pretty black/gray fabric is for a fancy underskirt for me and sleeves for one of his shirts.  The top fabric is a light green linen and the righthand fabric is a greenish velvet.

Unfortunately, this picture's color is off. 
The light wool fabric is actually a darkish sage green with black threads. 
(The fabrics in the photo directly above this one coordinate with this fabric.) 
Hubby and I both really liked this one so he'll get a doublet and I'll get a gown from it.

At $2.00/lb, these cottons are for the stash closet.  Though Mr. MoonCat wants the bright striped fabric for his Halloween costume this year.

My Irish Bog dress will be made out of this light and lovely wool!  Yay me!
Two more lovelies for the stash at $2.00/lb

This was probably one of my favorite finds of the day and my first purchase there.
It's a blue-green peacockish silk that changes colors as the light hits it.  I found the trim at a completely different store later on.  This will be incorporated into a Victorian gown for the Dickens Faire for me and we may use some of to accent the hubby's attire ~ the silk not the trim :)
A lovely cotton that was also $2.00/lb.  It's 9 yards & I think it ended up costing about $2.50 for the whole piece!  (Yes, I seem to have been on a turquoise blue kick that day!)

The wool tartan will be a skirt for me and the coordinating turquoise gauze will be the chemise to go with it.  These were found at different stores too!

These notions were all found at The Loft.  The two big spools are 250 yards each for $5.00.  The other carded trims ended up being around 7 cents a yard! 

So that was what we came home with after a day of bargain hunting.  We're talking about making it a yearly trek down there as we'd like to really build up our garb closet for doing Faires.  I can't wait to get sewing now that the holidays are behind us.  Only problem is what you saw in the very first photo.  That is my sewing room/office and THAT is my sewing table under all of those bags and boxes.  It'll take me days to get to it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Disneyland Photos

A while back I said I'd post some photos from our Disneyland trip.  So I finally pulled them off of my little camera and have a few to share with you.  We spent a week (Sun - Fri) down in Southern California/Anaheim with brother Chris and sister-in-law (you remember my dear friend/sister/co-conspirator, the "Mad Scientist - Cindy"?), their son Rowan and Cindy's mom Sandy. 

We had a blast and it was soooo much fun watching Rowan's face and seeing him experience Disneyland for the first time.  It was also Sandy's first trip so it was an extra special treat all the way around.  We all have a timeshare membership and the Anaheim condo is right around the corner from the gates to the park so we spent a lot of time there.  It's great because they have a full kitchen and washer/dryer so you don't have to buy the $12 burgers at the park all the time.  We ate pretty good...  Of course, I justify it because we also walked miles and miles..

I am doing a separate post to show you the spoils for our day trip to the seedy side of Los Angeles.  You won't believe what we found.....But you have to wait until tomorrow :)

On Friday, Mr. MoonCat and I headed to Las Vegas for the weekend where we met up with his parents.  Mr. MoonCat got sick so we didn't do much while we there but that's OK, we were together!  On to the pictures............. 

Double trouble waiting to see Mickey Mouse
(I'm surprised Mickey didn't hide when he
saw these two coming in)

The Big Mouse and the Little Man

Sandy attempted to steal Mickey's wheels

Us on the pier at California Adventure

Loved the Christmas setting

Sandy and Cindy

All he needs is one of those police # clipboards...
Please turn to the left, now to the right

Stylin' in yellow 3D glasses (yuck)
Note the hair, this is BRC - before roller coaster

In the front seat of the roller coaster...after
Notice my hair is now flattened out? pretty

Mr. MoonCat and his folks in Vegas

Come back tomorrow to see what FILLED the trunk of our rental car on the trip home..

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

I hope all of you have started this New Year in a happy and bright place.  2010 is a year that I am extremely glad to have behind us.  We are being hopeful and having faith that 2011 will be a much better and happier year, for everyone!

There will be lots of changes and good things to come to this rather recently neglected blog in the coming months.  I hope you'll all stick around to see what we have in store.  Again, Happy New Year from All of the MoonCat Farms Critters, great and small!