Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Great Chestnut Wars of Wibird St.

I wanted to share this story written by my husband on our blog.

My kids are always asking me to tell them a story, made up stories and real stories of me growing up. One of their favorite (and mine) is all about the huge chestnut tree that had grown out of the sidewalk and hovered tall and wide over our white picket fenced yard on 256 Wibird st. Portsmouth, where I grew up. I say 'our' yard but it was actually my grandmothers yard, its just that this little first grandchild also claimed part ownership of this property , yet without having any knowledge of what a mortgage was or having to fix all the stuff I broke..(that was for Papa). Along with her 9 children who I grew up along side, the youngest being only 1 year older than me whom I also claimed to be my older brother, being an only child. Yes my kids love hearing about this great  and mighty tree that we had many great times with. One being the time my older brother Uncle Tom  stuffed one of those pretty little clustered flowers that blossomed during Spring into my ear so far that I had to have it removed by my doctor. This was back in the olden days of the 70's when I didn’t have to wait a few weeks for an appointment with the "flower in your ear specialist'  to remove it, my doctor actually removed it himself, the same day my parents brought me in!( they used to do stuff like that back then ya know!!) But greatest of all memories of what our great tree produced was, in the fall, when the actual chestnuts arrived --Oh we had so much fun with those! We loved to collect chestnuts! we'd fill up bag after bag , those big brown paper bags  that Pic n Pay would stuff our groceries in…we collected so much; and absolutely wanted to save  forever! Even long after winter ended or even years later when we forgot about them ,stuffed way in the back of the coat closet, Nana would find those bags as she cleaned, open them up and say what are all these doing in here!?-- Im throwing them out!--And Oh--no, no! you cant-- they're ours!! how could you! would we beg fuss and have a major riot ,and demand she not throw any chestnuts away, not one! she would give in and the chestnuts were put back safely into the closet so we could forget about them again.  There was also  a large blue mail box beside the tree,  we didn’t mind sharing our chestnuts with the mail man, for when he came to empty the box, chestnuts always came pouring out for him with the mail. there was beyond abundance of chestnuts, yet no way were there enough  to allow any other kid on the outskirts of our neighborhood to share with, no way! If you weren't a Casa, Bernier, Buttery,  a Loch, or this Moore--you did not touch one chestnut of ours! every year some other kids would try coming around with their large brown paper bags to try and collect our  huge shiny brown horse chestnuts! Even though we always went to the other trees around and brazenly raided them! …we would chase anybody who came around ours, up and down the streets. Even many a time did things get so heated up during the chestnut wars of Wibird st that great  battles broke out, with the chestnuts themselves, of course, being the weapons! We would find the biggest heaviest ones and huck em as hard as we could at our enemies, cars, houses, innocent bystanders-- all were pelted during these long and great wars. It was the silent agreed rule that a chestnut that was thrown, in such battles ,would be peeled from its  sharp spiky shell first… But always always ALWAYS! we would start seeking out the biggest sharpest spikiest weapons, and ALWAYS did our invaders, after being hit a few times by these, run away home crying in disbelief , shock and pain, at such ruthlessness-- and Victory was won! Parents sometimes came back to scold us and tell us how cruel we were, but it wasnt that, we just really loved chestnuts! Yes indeed--These were the great days of the Chestnut Wars of Wibird St.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Tweaked Out Shephards Pie

What I did:
oven 350

I bought a big package of stew beef (because I couldn't find beef tips nor, do I know the difference)
heated olive oil in cast iron skillet with 4 cloves of crushed garlic
browned the beef with a sprinkle of montreal steak seasoning
When all browned there was quite a bit of juice in the pan,
I then added 1 cup of cold water w/ about 1/3 c flour mixed in thoroughly and 2 beef bullions
added approx 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
cook on low just long enough for everything to mix together, beef probably got to med rare
then turn off heat, set aside

the taters-
probably about 7 med potatoes peeled, cut, boiled, and drained
I mixed in 3/4 package cream cheese
dash of milk
sprinkle of salt

I put a light layer of slightly steamed fresh green beans on the beef
topped with the potatoes
sprinkle of paprika
and a sprinkle of cheddar

put the whole skillet in the oven and cooked till bubbly prob 15-20 min

(below is the original recipe if you want to make it that way)


The recipe from the cook book:
2 (17oz) pkgs fully cooked beef tips w/ gravy
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen sweet peas

1 24 oz pkg refrigerated mashed potatoes
1/2 pkg cream cheese
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar

oven 350
follow package directions for beef
spoon into a a lightly greased baking dish
top with veggies and set aside
cook potatoes mix in all the other stuff and spread them over the beef
then sprinkle on the cheese

bake uncovered 15 mins till thoroughly heated

Snowy Day

We got well over a foot of snow yesterday (April 1st) just when we thought spring had arrived, April Fools :)

 We lost power last night So I woke up to Jamie cooking breakfast on our woodstove:

 This is the view from our porch. We got the power back around 11 am.  Hopefully the last day to relax and enjoy winter.

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