Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Christmas

My barn friends decorated L's stall for Christmas with this little tree and red berries. I thought it was rather sweet.

25 December 2014

Shotgun season on deer closed almost 2 weeks ago and just Wednesday afternoon while I was out running I heard shots in the woods. It's still black powder season until the end of the year but these were shotgun shots.

Most people are serious and responsible. But it only takes one.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Rainy Days

Well. After several days of steady rain it's time for a....


Most horses love mud baths but she just brings it to a whole other level. It took some doing to clean her up after that.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My summer project

I enjoy martinis. Martinis pair *really* well with food. All kinds of cuisine, all kinds of food.

That's a bowl of olives. On the right

For as long as I've enjoyed martinis my gin of choice has always been...

Bombay Sapphire

I never thought about it much. My very first martini was a Bombay Sapphire martini. I'd been told it made the best martini and I'd seen the snobby people order it.

Then last spring I unexpectedly...ran out of Bombay Sapphire! But there, in the back of the bottom shelf was a bottle of...Gordon's Gin. I made my martini...with Gordon's.. and...much to my surprise...made the best martini *ever*. So I decided over the summertime I'd try different gins and...eventually...different vermouths. I wanted to make up my own mind. See if my own experience would give me a preference. I'd already tried a Tanqueray martini and while Tanqueray is my favorite for gin and tonic I think it makes an awful martini.

My method was not at all comprehensive, scientific or thorough. I didn't do blind tasting. I just mixed up a martini over the weekend with different mainstream gins and thought about whether I liked it or not.

My Findings
The best martini?

A Gordon's martini

I thought Gordon's Gin also made a perfectly good gin and tonic.

Second best martini? Surprise!

The Plymouth martini

Why is that a surprise? Plymouth Gin is a distilled gin. It's not a London Dry Gin. By the way. Distilled gin makes an absolutely *awful* gin and tonic.

Then came...


I rated the Beefeater martini right along with Bombay Sapphire. It makes a perfectly good martini.

I even tried a Hendrick's martini.

The gimmick here is the cucumber garnish

I thought the Hendrick's martini was just awful.


There are lots of vermouths! I had no idea.

Now, Julia Child had some disparaging comments about an American made vermouth. She never said what vermouth that was but I hunted around most people guess it was Gallo. I've never tried it. I don't plan on it.

I've heard that your dry vermouth is every bit as important as your gin. It's an ingredient. A main ingredient. I've heard people say they can tell if the vermouth hasn't been kept refrigerated. Or been left on the counter a day too long.

I tried Dolin. I tried Noilly Prat. I tried Stock. I tried Martini and Rossi. I tried fresh. I tried refrigerated. I tried stuff that had sat on the counter for 6 weeks.

I found absolutely no difference with the vermouth I used. I typically mix a one part vermouth to 6 or 7 parts gin martini. The vermouth is essential but the gin dominates the cocktail. I'm not saying there aren't people who can tell the difference. Their palates are just *far* better than mine.

Lastly, the presentation. You have to have a martini in a martini glass. Period. Full stop. It just wouldn't be right to have a martini in say, a water glass. I have several different glasses to suit my moods. I've had some really nice ones I've broken. I even have lexan martini glasses I use outside.

Occasionally I like a lemon twist in my martini. Mostly on a searing hot summer day. Generally I prefer olives. Sometimes in a side bowl. At least 3. As a matter of fact sometimes I snack on olives I keep in the refrigerator. In a jar. In a martini.

Edited to add: The glass *has* to be chilled. And of course, you stir a martini. With ice. Never shake. Actually, it should be stirred when mixed in a glass container. And swirled when mixed in plastic or stainless steel.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Our first snow this year was 2 November.

This didn't amount to much

But this did! We had some real snow the day before Thanksgiving..

26 November

And of course, the dazzling colors we had this fall are gone. I find the contrast is very striking.

7 December

It's all so...plain and...well, brown.

This time of year, with all the foliage gone, it's easy to see why the barn is such a madhouse of furious activity all summer long. Nests!

A Robin's nest

Not just a few. There are nests *everywhere* in the brush. Really. Hundreds of them! We have tons of Robins...Blue Jays..Goldfinches. Orioles. In the spring I leave piles of horse hair outside for the birds. They use the hair in their nests. The most fascinating one of all is the Baltimore Oriole. We have lots of Baltimore Orioles. They make bag shaped nests that hang from branches very high in the tree tops. The nests always blow down sooner or later and it's quite amazing the way they use the different kinds of hair. Most of the nest is made from tail hair. It hangs using tail hair. The net like outer tail hair is lined with body hair. And the very softest hair lines the bottom of the nest. They're almost always 100% horse hair!

Of course there are also Crows. And hawks. And owls. And Killdeer. Tons of Killdeer.

Even Carolina Wrens.

Carolina Wren's nest

We've had a year round population of Goldfinches for many years now. As long as I can remember. This year they've all gone and I Finches! I saw them yesterday while riding L. Dozens and dozens of Purple Finches. I don't know what that's all about. They're very pretty birds and much more timid than the Goldfinches.
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