Our House

Our House

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Mama Deer Has A Foster Child

We have seen kindness shown in the animal world before.  We have seen mice and elephants as friends.  We have seen an orangutan taking care of tiger cubs, a mother cat nursing a puppy and a dog taking care of a young squirrel.  This isn't quite that dramatic, but it was fun to see.

A few days ago I noticed a young deer in our yard.  He was all alone and couldn't put weight on his front foot.  He also had a sore on his other leg.  He walked on his tippy toe, but managed to run with less of a problem. He ate a little corn and went off into the woods.

You can see the bulge just above the hoof on his left leg. 

A short time later I saw a coyote sniffing the deer trail.  He was twenty feet from our dining room window.

I got the camera and he looked right up at me.

Then took off on the same path as the deer.

I was worried about the little deer because he couldn't run as fast as he normally could.  A short time later a neighbor posted that she saw some deer scared by a coyote.  I can only assume it was the same one I saw.  The past few days we have not been home at feeding time.  Like clockwork the deer come in for a corn snack between 4:00 and 5:00pm.  It is usually the same mama and her twins.

The family of three.

They have certainly grown up during the last nine months.

They were newborn fawns last June, 2015

I was more than tickled when I looked out the window tonight.  We put the corn out and at 4:07pm the first two deer came across the frozen marsh and past our window.

The mother deer usually gives the twins some lead time but stands in the thicket for a while waiting.  I think she wants to give them some independence.  Soon she makes her way to join them.  Today, coming behind her was our injured deer.  The coyote hadn't gotten to her.  She was putting more weight on the foot but it is still very swollen.

Soon they were all eating happily together.  Mama deer is usually very protective and chases off all intruders while they are eating.  Today she let the injured deer eat with them at the corn table.

The injured deer is in front with the dark ears.  You can see the sore on her back right leg.

They ate the corn very quickly.  It doesn't take long for four deer to eat a couple small scoops of corn, but if everyone in the neighborhood does the same, these deer are very well fed.

This one was still hungry and came right up to the window.  I told him he had to wait until tomorrow, so he walked away.  Stay warm little family.  I will see you tomorrow.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Let's Make a Marshmallow Shooter

My daughter and her husband are required by the state to take classes to maintain their professional licenses.  It is called CE or continuing education.  It is very important for them to stay up to date on the latest information to keep patients safe.  Each class is different.  Some require many days of education and others require a day or two during the weekend.  Last weekend our daughter had to go to Milwaukee for a class so we watched her two sons Jack and Sam.  The boys usually ask to do a project with papa.  I have written about previous projects, but the workshop is cold and hard to work in during the winter.  They came up with an indoor project.  They made Marshmallow Shooters.

Before picking up the boys, we stopped and bought some supplies for the project.  We needed some 1/2 inch PVC plastic tubing and T's, elbows and caps to fit the tubing.

Given the measurements, the tubing had to be marked to the right lengths to prepare for cutting it.

Next step is cutting the lengths with the special cutting tool.

 After cutting, the shooter is ready to be assembled.

And there it is, a Marshmallow Shooter.  

Now, will it work.  A mini marshmallow is placed in the long tube,
and then you blow as hard as you can.

The soft marshmallows didn't fly too far, and they bounce off anything they hit and aren't harmful. 

Jack was wearing as little as possible.  We are freezing with socks and sweaters on, and Jack is running around shirtless and barefooted.  I guess the key to keeping warm in Wisconsin's winter weather is to keep moving, which he does.

The entertainment only lasted a short time and then it was back to electronics.  At least we made an attempt to do something fun.  However, the older kid in my house (AKA husband) is enjoying it.  He found out the marshmallows go further if you let them dry out a bit.  So now he scares the squirrels off the bird feeders and if he misses, which is most of the time,  it provides them with a special marshmallow treat. 

This Marshmallow Shooter is almost as much fun as his Potato Shooter. 

It doesn't take much to entertain some people.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2016 Groundhog Day Snowstorm named Bucky

I think most of our lives are controlled by the media especially television reports.  Take politics for example, they are pretty much in charge of who gets facetime and what stories we see.  The same is true for the weather.  A week ago we had 8.5 inches of snow.  There was snow in the forecast, and we ended up with 8.5 inches.  Everyone got out, shoveled and were on their way.  It was slippery for a while but no one panicked.  Yesterday was a different story.  For many days in advance the weather people were warning of a huge snowstorm on the horizon.  They were talking about this storm when it was just a glimmer in the Pacific Ocean.  Days went by and the storm was eminent.  Schools were closed and people were warned to stay off the roads.  The storm was even named Bucky.  In defense, the snow was very heavy and sticky which made driving hazardous.  We had half the amount we had a week earlier.  The most I saw in the area was seven inches.  We live in Wisconsin for heavens sake.  We can take a little snow and cold.  I have to say this is easy for me to say.  I never left the house and I am glad people took this seriously, and remained safe.

I did get some pretty photos.  The heaviness of the snow made it stick to the trees, branches and a lot of other things.

Birdfeeder covered with snow.


This little bird reminded me of an incident.  Yesterday I was watching the snow and heard a clunk.  I looked out the window and saw a small bird had hit the window.  He was struggling to get to his feet.  He stuck his wings out to balance and suddenly did a face plant into the snow.  I thought he was dead.  My husband said that something would feast on it and that was the balance of nature.  I was so sad as I saw blood coming out of it's mouth.

Blood left behind in the snow.

I kept checking to see if he stopped breathing.  Then slowly he started coming around.  He sat up and started to move his beak open and shut.  After a short time, he flew off and started to eat.  If he doesn't make it now, I won't know it.  It looked like he was going to be alright.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Make Your Own Almond Milk

Ever since my daughter was a baby she had a problem digesting lactose.  She drank goat milk as a young person.  We got the milk from a friend who milked goats.  It is an acquired tasted that I never acquired.  Over the years we would go back to cow's milk, but there were always issues with it.  My husband doesn't tolerate cow's milk very well either, so we eventually turned to lactose free cow's milk, lactaid and now almond or coconut milk.  Milk is the same as everything else in our food supply, we don't really know what is in it.  One day I watched Dr. Oz make Almond milk.  It was super easy.  He said purchased almond milk is only 2% almonds and has stuff added to it for flavor.  It also has ingredients which probably extends the shelf life.  Have you ever looked at the expiration date on a carton of almond milk?  It lasts for months.  That is when I started to make our own almond milk.  It tastes better.  It actually tastes like almonds because it is 25% almonds and the rest is water.  Nothing else is added.  You could add vanilla or a little sweetener, but we prefer it plain.  My husband is the only person I know who eats his oatmeal plain with milk.  He doesn't add sugar, raisins, cinnamon or anything else.  To me it's like eating wallpaper paste, but that's how he likes it.  I like it loaded with sweetness.  I won't even eat it unless I can doctor it up a bit.

Almond Milk

To make a quart of almond milk you soak 1 cup of plain unsalted almonds in 4 cups of filtered water.  I use the almonds with skin on because I like the fiber in the leftover meal.  Plain blanched almonds would also work as long as they aren't bleached or treated.  Even if you don't make almond milk, almonds should be soaked to eat.  It makes them much more digestible and therefore you get more nutritional value from eating them.

Organic almonds soaking in plain water.

Let the almonds soak to soften them up.  I have read some recipes that say to soak them for an hour.  I usually soak for at least 8 hours.  You can soak them for 24 hours if you can't get to them before that.  When the almonds are soaked, drain off the soaking water and add the softened almonds to a blender.

The soaking water gets discolored so pour it off.
Add back 4 cups of fresh water.  Blend on high until the nuts are completely blended.  It only takes a couple minutes.  At this point you have almond milk with ground up nuts in it.  You want to remove the almond meal by pouring the milk through several layers of cheese cloth, a fine sieve or a nut bag.  After the milk is strained, the almond meal is left behind.  Originally I used a metal fine mesh strainer but couldn't get all the milk out so the meal looked very wet.  This is how it looked coming out of a fine mesh strainer. 


I purchased a nut bag to better strain the milk.  A nut bag is a tightly woven cloth bag designed to strain the milk, but it can also be used to strain tea, coffee, broth, or anything else you want to get the debris out of.  It washes easily.  Purchasing one was well worth it.  It cleans up easily after all of the milk is squeezed out and the meal is removed.  The instructions say to store the unused bag in the freezer to prevent any bacteria growing on the bag.  It seems like an excellent idea.

This is the brand I bought, but there are many on the market.

The finished milk which looks just like "real" milk.

The almond meal that comes out of the nut bag is much drier and dries completely quite quickly.  After it is dried, I just save it in the refrigerator and sprinkle it on yogurt, cereal or I put it in baked goods for added nutrition.

I dehydrate the meal but a low oven will dry it just fine.

The dried almond meal saved from making the almond milk.

I made a loaf of Banana Bread today and put in 1/2 cup of Almond meal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Let It Snow

A lot of snow has fallen all over the country recently, but the one place everyone expects a lot of   snow is Wisconsin.  We haven't received much this winter.  After Christmas we had one snowstorm.  I'm not sure how much snow we got that time.  My husband wasn't feeling well and his snowblower didn't start, so we just drove over the snow in driveway to pack it down.  I don't think it was a lot.  Yesterday the weather people predicted an inch or so of snow which we don't even count as a snowfall.  When we woke up to a few inches, we were surprised.  It was a pleasant surprise.  It was beautiful.  The trees, bushes and bird feeders were blanketed with snow.

Snow on the deck railing at the break of day.

Snow on the bushes.

The snowblower is running and my husband is clearing the driveway.

There is snow on the woodpile.

A Mourning Dove is wondering where the food is.

They went to sit in the tree to wait for me to clear the feeders.

The black eyed junco is also waiting.

The water in the heated dog dish never freezes and provides water.

A deer came out of the woods to see what she could find.  She looks like her front right leg hurts.

The weather people reported we got 8.5 inches.  It didn't seem like that much so we even got out today.  A stinkin 8.5 inches of snow wasn't going to stop us.  We went on an adventure with our daughter's mother and father in law. We got a lot of great bargains.   It was a wonderful day.

More snow is predicted in a few days.  I don't mind at all. 

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow