Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Homey Hobbies -- Things Closer to Home

Dear Folks,

My two most obvious hobbies are gardening and cooking, and sometimes those two are more than sufficient to keep me occupied. At the same time, they can create some interesting "by-products" in the form of critters and reading. One could also call my writing a hobby except sometimes it takes over my life!

Although I no longer own miniature milking goats or laying hens, I positively reveled in owning and working with these 'additions to the garden.' When hand-raised as mine were, the goats were as keenly intelligent as dogs, would learn commands, and their names, and my hens came to their names , as well, when called and allowed me to hold them like babies and stroke their tummies. (The baby goats shown in the picture were from one of my 'girls' Sweet Annie.)

Some of the 'by-products' were the most delicious milk, yogurt and green eggs! (And yes, manure for the gardens.) The hens were aracanas sometimes called the "easter egg chicken" for their colorful egg shells which can range from pink, blue, and even green. The genetic working principle is the same as for brown or tan eggs.

The goats were Nigerian Dwarfs a type of milking goat known for their incredibly rich milk - one of the richest even among goats. "Dwarf" is a misnomer here as they are perfect miniatures.

Since I no longer have goats, I get to have my 'goat fix' assisting my friend Kathy Marshall with her goats. Kathy went a step further and makes lotions and soaps with the milk. Goats milk has special skin-care properties in addition to being more easily digested compared to cows milk for those who have milk issues.

You can visit Kathy at her website:

Also if you want to know more about goats, you can email Kathy or me and we would be happy to answer questions. You do NEED to understand the proper care of goats in order to really enjoy them and their offerings.

My recreational reading includes cozy mysteries, the kind where there is no or minimal violence and the enjoyment is all about trying to figure out 'who dun it' while enjoying the characters' interaction.

While Christie's Poirot and Marple are some of my favorites, I discovered several series by authors whose expertise also included food -- a two-fer as I like to call these happy-stances, enjoyable reads with information and ideas too!

Susan Wittig-Albert's China Bayles Herb Shop Mystery series are absolute standouts.

Laura Child's Tea Shop Mystery series was an real eye-opener for me. I enjoy tea, but the author's knowledge of her subject matter together with a highly entertaining read has educated me on all things tea.

Cleo Coyle's Coffee Shop Mystery series is a little edgier than I usually enjoy but her characters, and her knowledge of coffee, are developing into another informative and entertaining series for me.

See the link in the side bar for my "Amazon - personal picks" to go to the amazon shop where I have links for the first books in each series (once on the page, click on "Cozy Mysteries with Food" in the upper right corner).

And one more entertainment companion I use is old time radio shows, while working on the computer. Since I do a lot of writing and researching on the computer, I like to listen to old time radio shows to keep me from turning into a computer-screen-zombie. See the link all the way at the bottom of my blog page to go to one of my favorite sources for hours and hours of shows. The site began as a hobby of Jon at Otrcat and has turned into a real passion.

Old time radio shows are a nice family option to just listening to the standard modern entertainment. The CDs each contain many hours of shows, can be played on computers or MP3 payers or most DVD players, and are a way of introducing the children to shows which were in many cases more wholesome. For any of the older members of the family it will be a great walk down memory lane.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady