Thursday, April 30, 2015

Truffle hunters


Often called the diamond of the culinary world, a truffle is a rare, edible mushroom that is considered to be a delicacy due to its intense aroma and characteristic flavor. They have a firm texture and are most often shaven on top of food before serving, although they can also be used to infuse flavor into dishes. Though there are hundreds of different species, only some — mostly those found in the genus Tuber — are considered delicacies. Truffles grow underground in symbiotic relationships with trees and are difficult to find; as a result, they are usually harvested in the wild by trained hogs and dogs.


Truffles are usually classified mainly based on their appearance, smell, and taste. Found in a variety of regions around the world, many are commonly known by their location rather than their technical name. Their value varies depending on their rarity and specific aromatic qualities; the rarest are the most expensive food in the world.
The French black or Périgord truffle, Tuber melanosporum, is prized for its aromatic and fruity qualities. When fresh, it has a brown-black exterior with white veins on the inside. It ranges in size from a pea to an orange, and weighs up to 2.2 pounds (1 kg). These truffles are found in the Périgord region of southwestern France.
The very rare Italian white or Piedmont truffle, Tuber magnatum, has the strongest smell of all truffles. At its freshest, it has a smooth, dirty beige surface that ages to a brown. It ranges from walnut- to apple-size, weighing up to 1 pound (0.45 kg). Found in primarily in the Piedmont region in north-west Italy, its aroma and flavor decrease approximately one to two weeks after harvest.
Other notable varieties include the Oregon white truffle, the Chinese truffle, and the summer truffle. The two varieties of the Oregon white — Tuber oregonese and Tuber gibbosum — are white when immature and develop into an orange-brown and a pale olive-brown, respectively, at maturity. The brown Chinese varieties — Tuber sinense and Tuber indicum — are found in South China and are often harvested before they have fully matured, making them less expensive and more readily available. Found in France, Italy, and Spain, the summer truffle — Tuber aestivum — is the most common truffle, and exhibits a more delicate aroma.

Culinary Use

Truffles must be carefully handled to preserve their aroma and flavor. They should be cleaned of any dirt or debris, washed with water, and dried with a paper towel. To develop their aroma after being harvested, they should be placed in an air-tight container lined with paper towels and stored in the refrigerator for approximately three days. They can be stored in a glass jar for several months, but should never be dried as this will cause them to lose their pungency.
As cooking dissipates their flavor, truffles are most often served raw. They can be sliced, scraped, or grated on top of ready-to-serve dishes, sauces, or soups. They also pair well with fattier foods, such as cheeses, butters, oils, and eggs.
Infusing flavor into foods creates another use for the truffle. Thin slices of the fungus inserted just under the skin allows meats to readily absorb the flavor. Only small amounts are needed to make truffle butter, as the aroma will flavor the entire batch. It should be noted that, while they can be added to olive oil to infuse their flavor, most "truffle oil" doesn't actually contain any truffles.

Harvesting and Hunting

Found approximately 1 foot (30 cm) under the ground, the vegetative part of the fungi — the mycelia — forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of a variety of species of trees. Since they grow underground, truffles rely on animals to eat them and scatter their spores in order to reproduce. The strong odor of the mature truffle is what allows animals to locate them.
Truffle hunting is a lucrative business when they are in season, from fall through spring. In North America, raking back the soil and searching by sight is the usual method for harvesting. In Europe, hunters use truffle hogs and specially-trained dogs to sniff them out. The female truffle hogs become alert to the scent of the mature truffle because it is similar to the pheromones of the male hog's saliva. The sow is difficult to hold back, however, and will readily eat the expensive delicacy if allowed to do so.
For this reason, many hunters have begun to use truffle dogs, with the Lagotto Romagnolo being the only breed specifically recognized for this trait as of 2009. Though they lack the innate ability of the hog to detect the scent, dogs can be specially trained to do so. The advantage comes when the truffle is located, as the dog is much less likely to eat it.

Today's funny :o)

Plastic eggs

When I let the gang out of the coop for breakfast, I naturally checked the nest boxes for eggs. This is what I found:

 It was one of Shirley's eggs. The shell was very thin and most of the yolk was gone. I don't know if she broke with with her feet or if she and Laverne decided to have a snack.

Soooo....  I put a plastic egg in two of the nest boxes. Laverne came over to see what I was doing and pecked at them. Of course they didn't break and she hopped out. I just hope they haven't turned into little cannibals! They have never done that, but chickens can get messed up sometimes.

If they peck enough at the plastic ones and get no snack, they might leave the real ones alone. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Look how fast they can run when they want to! Every time I go on the deck, they think it's going to be treat time!

They got fooled  - I'm so mean sometimes.......

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Old Button Box

When I was a very little girl, I would sit on the floor by my Mother's feet while she sewed or did her crocheting.

To keep me quiet, she would take out the 'button box' and have me string matching buttons together.

My Mother grew up in the Depression and had a very, very hard life when she was young and was taught well by my Grandmother to save whatever was useful. So when clothing was totally worn out, she would cut the buttons off to be used again on another garment.

 I still cut them off old clothes and add them to the box. They will probably never be used again and I really don't know why I do it.  I think Mom would approve though......

Today's funny :o)

Nope - none...

No eggs yesterday...... 

Laverne is starting to molt and there are feathers all over the place, so I guess she won't be plopping out any eggs for a while. But, then again, you never know with these girls.

But it was a nice day anyway - Sunny and very windy. Good day for laundry - did two loads and hung them out:

Every thing was dry in about two hours. If it's this way tomorrow, I'll do some blankets!

Charlie giving me 'evil eye' because I put them back in the pen.

 There were just
too many hawks out today even though the gang stayed close to the house.

All in all, it was a perfect Spring day - the trees are really starting to bud now!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Monticello Dam

Located at the Monticello Dam at Lake Berryessa in Northern California, this gigantic drain acts as the lake's spillway.
Technically known as the Morning Glory Spillway it is locally, somewhat more colorfully, known as "The Glory Hole." When the dam reaches capacity, the spillway swallows water at a rate of 48,800 cubic feet per second, emptying about 700 feet away through an enormous concrete pipe. Not a safe place to swim, in 1997, a UC Davis graduate student was pulled into the glory hole while swimming and drowned.
The dam and spillway were constructed between 1953 and 1957, choking off Putah Creek and drowning the remains of the town of Monticello. At very low water levels, the foundations of the town can be seen in parts of the lake. The outside diameter is 72 feet, slowly narrowing to 28 feet at the exit. While this is the largest drain of its kind, there are other Glory Hole spillways around the world, including one in Whiskeytown Lake, and in Northern California.
Daring skateboarders have been known to use the exit of the spillway as a ramp in the dry season.
You can see the Glory Hole from the lake, but it is cordoned off from boaters and swimmers for safety reasons.


Have you ever visited there??

Today's funny :o)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Another egg!

I really think that adding that extra bit of calcium is helping with the egg production! This one is from Shirley. Sure does look a lot different from the one I showed you yesterday!

We didn't get the rain the weatherman promised, so the gang enjoyed most of day running around the yard:

Flowers are blooming all over the place - finding nice surprises in the most unusual places!

And to top it all off - a beautiful sunset:

Let's go for a ride in ......

                                                                      ..... the Goodyear Blimp!!

From Popular Mechanics:

Goodyear Zeppelin to Replace the Blimp
The most famous spectator of all major sporting events, the Goodyear Blimp, gets a $21 million replacement.
By Darren Orf
A Brief History of the Airship
JLENS Surveillance Airship is Ready

In an old aircraft hangar in Suffield, Ohio , a crew of eight to 10 mechanics and manufacturers is working to assemble Goodyear's next generation of airships. Its carbon fiber and aluminum skeleton pokes out from under its gray envelope, which is completely deflated and awaiting many months of construction and testing. But by this time next year, an American icon will become noticeably more German.
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The result of a joint operation between Goodyear and ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, three new zeppelins, called Goodyear Blimp NTs ("new technology"), will slowly replace the company's current model blimp, the GZ20-A. Crews are now working side by side to construct the first of three Goodyear Blimp NTs. The companies announced the project in May 2011, almost 75 years after the dissolution of the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation. It's also why many of the current mechanics and riggers refer to this partnership as Project Full Circle.

The differences between this new fleet of zeppelins and its blimp predecessors include their size, structure, and interior mechanics. Michael Dougherty is the assistant chief pilot and one of three pilots who have trained for several months in Germany with the Zeppelin crew. His mission is to learn the ins and outs of these helium-filled behemoths and to become a trainer for current and future Goodyear pilots. "Being involved in the new airships, seeing the new technology, learning it to the point where we're going to teach it … has been a really fulfilling experience," Dougherty says.

He also mentions the challenges: First, there's the size difference, with the new Zeppelins stretching 242 feet long, a 54-foot increase from the previous models. The gondola has doubled in size, and is now capable of holding up to 14 passengers. Also the cockpit, from the perspective of a long-time blimp pilot, is almost unrecognizable.

"The current GZ20A model originally started flying for Goodyear in 1968 … [and] a lot of that technology is still 1920s and '30s technology with minor updates," Dougherty says. "The new airships are built like a modern commuter aircraft." It's like comparing a 787 to a simple twin-engine plane, something you'd see in flight school. Dougherty also says the new airships will be all side-stick, fly-by-wire controls.

Three nose-to-tail beams known as longerons form the Zeppelin's triangular framework. Unlike a blimp, which relies on internal air pressure for its shape, a semirigid structure allows the two vectoring engines to be hoisted on the envelope instead of the gondola, and the aft engine gives the aircraft greater control. In operation, the Zeppelin will land and take off like a helicopter but fly like a commuter aircraft.

The first Zeppelin is half assembled, and the team is currently installing the envelope around the semirigid framework. After that comes the rigging and internal wiring. If everything goes according to plan, flight testing will being early next year, with the Zeppelin being fully operational by the summer. After that, Goodyear and Zeppelin still have two more airships to make, which will roll out every other year until the last one is completed in 2018. These new Zeppelins will be stationed at the blimps' current locations in Pompano Beach near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., south Los Angeles near Long Beach, Calif., and Goodyear's headquarters in Akron, Ohio.

Today's funny :o)


                                                     ... or lack of any.

Don't know what was wrong with the girls. I had a total of 3 eggs last week. They aren't sick and eat like little piggies.

 They have never eaten their own eggs, so I don't know what was going on with them. I found two eggs that were very thin shelled and just smunched in the nest boxes. I had to throw them out.

So I took a trip to Tractor Supply and bought this:

I cut out all their treats (poor babies) and added the calcium to their feed. I also kept a small dish in the pen for them to nibble on too.

Two days later, Laverne layed a giant egg. ( Sorry, no picture - I ate it) :o)

 Yesterday, Shirley plopped out this one:

The shell was like sandpaper and it looked like there was a little 'tail' at the end of it. Even though the shell was dented, the membrane was intact and there was a good sized yolk inside.

Hopefully I'll get two normal eggs today. Laverne and Shirley are only three years old, so I know they have another year or so of production.

When they reach henapause, they can take it easy and retire!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Easy Listening or a Sunday Afternoon

Benny Carter....


Benny Carter
Benny Carter.jpg
Benny Carter
Background information
Birth name Bennett Lester Carter
Also known as King
Born August 8, 1907
Harlem, New York, United States
Died July 12, 2003 (aged 95)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Swing, big band, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, bandleader, composer, musical arranger
Instruments Saxophone, trumpet, clarinet
Years active 1920s–1997
Labels Columbia, OKeh, Crown, Decca, Vocalion, Brunswick, Bluebird, Music Masters, Verve, United Artist, Norgran, Swingville, Clef
Associated acts Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Phil Woods, Marian McPartland

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday NIght Doo-Wop

The Capris

There's a Moon Out Tonight

There's a (moon out tonight) whoa-oh-oh ooh
Let's go strollin'
There's a (girl in my heart) whoa-oh-oh ooh
Whose heart I've stolen
There's a moon out tonight (whoa-oh-oh ooh)
Let's go strollin' through the park (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)

There's a (glow in my heart) whoa-oh-oh ooh
I never felt before
There's a (girl at my side) whoa-oh-oh ooh
That I adore
There's a glow in my heart I never felt before (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)

Oh darlin'
Where have you been?
I've been longin' for you all my life

Whoa-uh-oh baby I never felt this way before
I guess it's because there's a moon out tonight

There's a (glow in my heart) whoa-oh-oh ooh
I never felt before
There's a (girl at my side) whoa-oh-oh ooh
That I adore
There's glow in my heart
I guess it's because

There's a moon out tonight
Moon out tonight
Moon out tonight
Moon out tonight
There's a moon out tonight

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Night Steam

How about some 'Narrow Gauge" for tonight?

From Wikipedia:
Full article:

480 Series

Main article: D&RGW K-36
K-36 Steam locomotives #482 & #480 in Silverton
K-36 Steam locomotive #486 getting ready for departure from Silverton on October 25, 2012
The 480 series or K-36 locomotives were ten engines designed for the D&RGW. They were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925. The 480s were the last ten narrow gauge locomotives constructed for the DRGW. The 480s were used for freight-hauling throughout the D&RGW 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge network. The "36" stands for 36,200 lbf (161.026 kN). of tractive effort. These engines are outside frame Mikados, and all drive wheels have counterbalancing outside of the frame, resulting in the utilitarian look the engines are known for. The engines currently use 6-ET automatic air and the secondary straight air used on regular service equipment. The railroad runs 12-car passenger trains behind these engines, however more cars will require the train to be doubleheaded. Despite popular belief that the railroad does not doublehead trains out of Durango because of smoke, the real reason is the weight restriction on the bridge at 15th Street, not allowing more than one K-36 at a time (K-28 class engines however are still doubleheaded from Durango). The engines were delivered with Master Mechanics design smokeboxes for draft, however at some point the D&RGW converted them to Andersson (cyclone) front ends. Water is fed to the boiler by two non-lifting injectors. The 40-square-foot (3.7 m2) grate surface in the firebox is among the largest built for a narrow gauge locomotive, and is fed by hand firing. Firing is simpler on these engines compared to the K-28s, however the larger surface area requires more fuel. A typical trip uses around 3–5 short tons (2.68–4.46 long tons; 2.72–4.54 t) on the way up to Silverton, and another 1–2 short tons (0.89–1.79 long tons; 0.91–1.81 t) on the return to Durango. Ergonomically, the engines are less comfortable than the others as well, with the crew seats being further back from the backhead, and the engineer having to lean forward constantly to adjust the throttle and use the sanders. The running gear on the locomotives also tend to wear out faster than the ALCO designed K-28s, and the resulting pounding rough ride can take a toll on the engine crew.
D&SNG owns four K-36s: 480, 481, 482, and 486, all of which are operational. The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad owns engines 483, 484, 487, 488, and 489. Engine 485, unfortunately, fell into the turntable pit in Salida, Colorado in 1955. It was scrapped for parts thereafter, however some accessories, running and valve gear was salvaged and used on other locomotives.

Lots more info here on the museum:

Hop over for a visit!

Today's funny :o)

Stupid camera..

It snowed off an on all day yesterday, and I wanted to take pics of it. This is all I could do with it.

 Something isn't working! I have no idea why it looks so washed out in the middle of the pictures.\

 I'll see if I can fix it over the weekend. Maybe it only needs a new battery or something.

Never did like it anyway...........

Thursday, April 23, 2015

102 yearold woman.....

                          ... sees herself dance for the first time! This is just wonderful-it's only 8 minutes long, but you'll be glad you watched!


By Gina DiFalco,
Alice Barker, who lives at a nursing home at the age of 102, watched herself dance for the first time on video recently. She was a dancer during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s.

Barker appeared in films, commercials and on television, but she watched footage of herself dancing onstage in a nightclub, which proved to be very nostalgic for her.

Jazz on Film’s Mark Cantor and David Shuff brought the footage to Barker’s room in the nursing home and played it for her. Her face lit up as she watched three videos.
“It just felt so good doing it because that music -- I just get carried away in it,” she told them as she watched, Huffington Post reports.

When they asked her what type of feelings she had reliving those days she said, “Making me wish I could get out of bed and do it all over again.” reports she even used to dance with Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly.

Shuff, who found the videos for Barker, has been making updates on Reddit, writing of the videos her “recreation nurse plays them on the big TV in the communal room regularly. She's kinda a rock star these days."


Today's funny :o)

Unusual skies

Crazy weather day yesterday. It had rained overnight, then cleared. Hubby and I had a ton of errands to run an the weatherman had said storms for the afternoon, so we left early. When we got home, the sun was out:

I let the gang out for a while. Charlie was acting like a real jerk again:

The girls ran under the bushes to get away from him:

Not long after that, the storm hit:

The sky cleared and later in the afternoon more clouds rolled in:

But the day ended with a nice sunset!

Wacky weather, for sure!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Can you guess.....

...... what this is? Eh??

Today's Funny :o)

We woke up to rain yesterday....

                            ........ but by mid morning it cleared up and Hubby started splitting the wood for next Winter's wood supply.

 He likes to get it done while it is still cool. That splitter throws a lot of heat!

 We used a lot of wood!

 He uses the bark to start the fires, but keeps it covered outside. Most of the time there are bugs in it.

While he was doing that, I started on getting the seeds ready. Much to early to plant anything outside yet. These will be going in the house until it gets warmer out. We can still get frost into May.

While I was doing that, Charlie hung around, He was quite content to watch what I was doing. He stayed by me the whole time I was out. When he got bored with that he started scratching in the nearby dirt. He was like a puppy yesterday. Where ever I went, he followed. He even let me pet his back!!!

Or maybe he is just making nice-nice. He probably heard me talking about getting some new hens next month at the poultry show.....

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gears, levers and pulleys, oh my!

I could spend all day there!  :o)

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