Brother Michael came to town for the weekend. As usual, it was a non-stop talkfest. Michael is fascinated by anything and everything, and carries a little notebook to jot down the endless ideas. For example--I was going to make waffles for breakfast. Like pancakes and biscuits, waffles are best made with buttermilk. The problem with buttermilk is that I don't really ever drink it. So you buy a quart, use a cup, and the rest eventually gets fuzzy.
So I amaze the brother by pulling out a box of powdered buttermilk. Not only is he jump-up-and-down excited (and grabbing the notebook) but immediately wondered if you could make crème fraiche with it [aside: crème fraich is a mild sour cream made by mixing cream with a spoonful of buttermilk and letting it set for a few hours]. I thought that the drying process would kill the active cultures. He countered that dry yeast activates when you put it in water. My stand was that yeast is a fungus, not a (friendly) bacteria. Nothing for it but to go buy a carton of cream and try it out (I won that round--it didn't work).
He's non-stop--the very definition of a whirlwind visit. In fact, this is what my living room looked like when he left:
OK--this wasn't directly his fault. Usually my guest room is occupied by furry guests (and Michael is decidedly not furry). On the occasions that I do have human guest, the furred creatures get moved to Bob's room. Now, Bob has a lot of . . . stuff. And he's really good at packing it into every nook and cranny. And, uh . . . I had to explain to him why Mike and I were on out hands and knees in the dark, with red flashlights, looking under everything.
They got out of their cage. All four of them. And there was nothing to do but start a fireman's brigade and get the . . . stuff . . . out of Bob's room so the little buggers wouldn't have anyplace to hide. We eventually found them, and even got to bed by 1:00 a.m., and Mike decided it was time to return to Boston.
He left before we put the new art installation. Actually, it's a collaborative effort between us and a turtle. I was getting ready to pull out, and had to go around a large turtle who was laying her eggs in the middle of the driveway. In theory, we could have dug them up and reburied them elsewhere--but her turtle instinct had told her that this was the best spot for her eggs, so who were we to argue?
Raccoons are always a problem. They can smell even buried turtle eggs, and they're a delicacy. So we staked a steel rack over it, with a dish of ammonia to sting those sensitive nostrils. And a stake so that we remember it's there. It takes about three months for turtle eggs to hatch, so we'll be dodging it for awhile.