RoastedDuckSunday we had a coyote attack on our ducks, after going all summer without losing any. Usually a coyote will just take one duck and make off with it. But this time, it was a major fray, in the middle of the day. We had fourteen ducks, and I think this little doggy managed to bite every single one of them! It was either a group of coyotes (though Kirk only saw one streak across the driveway when he went outside) or a young pup that got carried away with enthusiasm and unskilled efforts at dispatching birds!

Three ducks are outright missing (sewn-up duck is one of them, I am sad!). I found two freshly dead, and another died later from apparent internal injuries. So, we are down to eight from fourteen, in one incident! Ouch! I’m not certain we have a boy left in the group either, uh oh!

The two freshly killed ones I decided we could eat, they were still warm when we found them, and I had time, so I butchered them up! A hillbilly would never let a coyote’s leftovers go to waste, after all! 😉



We bought a new refrigerator last week, and boy what a luxury it is! Our old fridge was only 18 cubic feet, the classic style with the freezer on top. We chose a new LG brand, 25 cf, with “French door” style doors, and the freezer on the bottom as a drawer. The thinking goes, you don’t open the freezer a lot, so why put it at eye level and the most convenient location; while you constantly have to stoop to reach the often-accessed produce drawers at the bottom of the fridge? (more…)

ChicagoStyleWe enjoyed some summer weather last weekend with Chicago Style hot dogs (well, sausages, actually) made on the grill. Oh yeah! (more…)

InfernoLightsBBQKirk continues to find any excuse to use his “Inferno” propane tank torch attachment. This now includes lighting the BBQ grill. 😉

On the plus side, we don’t need to use lighter fluid or chemical-ey charcoals anymore. This baby lights up plain old charcoal in a minute or two!

browniesinskilletIt has been a goal of mine for several years to swear off non-stick cookware. I believe that the potential health risks are just too concerning. Knowing that people have killed their pet birds by accidentally leaving a non-stick pan on the stove, creating toxic vapors, just makes me wonder what it does to me.

And, the warnings that come with these skillets- to never use them on high heat- worry me too. Who can cook without ever going above medium heat? I feel that even using great caution with the pans still leaves the risk that molecules of non-stick chemicals are making their way into my food, every day, in small quantities. There are so many chemicals in our environment that we cannot avoid or control, I want to minimize the ones I can control.

So, we’ve been building an inventory of cast iron and stainless steel pans over the last year. Thus far, I prefer the cast iron, it seems easier to clean. It works great for baking- I’m tending to choose my 12″ skillet for brownies (shown in the photo) and cornbread over a 9″ square baking pan. The cast iron makes a nicer crust, and the product comes out clean and easily.

We’ve adjusted well enough to the new pans to have finally given away our old Teflon pans to a charity. The only trouble we’re still having with the cast iron is cooking delicate things, like fish and eggs-over-easy. They stick to the pan too much, and scraping them off the bottom gives them a rough, unattractive appearance. Teflon clearly wins in performance here. Anyone have suggestions on ways to cook fragile foods in non-non-stick cookware?

What I was suprised to learn is that cleaning cast iron isn’t as much work as I thought it would be. After the pan has cooled a bit, I give it a good scrub with a metal scrubber under hot water. I pat dry, then apply a thin film of olive oil, spreading it with a paper towel. We keep a bottle of olive oil out on the stove, with a pour spout, so oiling the pans to keep them from rusting is easy. Next, I’d like a nice over-the-stove ceiling rack on which to hang them. Since we use them almost every day, I leave them sitting out on the stove. But it’ll be nice to have a better place to store them sometime in the future.

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