The hands-down most useful kitchen gadget that Bruce has ever gotten me is this:http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Digital-Oven-Thermometer-Timer/dp/B00004XSC5
The Taylor thermometer with a prod to put into the meat (or whatever) and then a digital scale which powers on or off and has an alarm that may be powered on or off, is the bestest way to test chicken or turkey or leftovers in a cassarole dish (as in right now with the cheesy-chicken-rice thing I made late last week!) No more "gosh, I wonder if this is done or not" quandries.
I'm getting huge amounts of enjoyment out of watching the hummingbirds around this feeder. It is a bit of work but SO worthwhile. The last time I refilled it, on Friday, the damned little black aunts had discovered it and were swarming all over. I took it down, dumped out the old nectar over by the fence and brushed the ants off the feeder the best I could then brought it in and washed the rest of the little bastards off under hot water. I then took the feeder apart and ran it through the dishwasher to sterilize it. Meanwhile, I climbed back out the window using my nifty little kitchen ladder (I know, but it's easier and lots quicker than going around the front of the house and forcing my way through the jungle on that side of the house) and took the talcum powder to the top of the feeder (we have one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Perky-Pet-203CP-Hummingbird-capacity/dp/B0006G51KC/ref=pd_bbs_sr_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1219104803&sr=8-4
and sprinkled some on the tree branch as well to hopefully discourage the ants. So far it seems to be working very well indeed.
The hummingbirds LOVE it and chase each other around it (mean little buggers, they are, too!) There isn't hardly five minutes go by that there isn't one of the waggly-tailed guys or a ruby-breasted one. They flit around or land briefly on a branch or even occasionally fly over to look in the window as if to say, "gee thanks!" Just amazing to watch them; I never seem to get tired of it.
Bruce is out mowing while I catch this up briefly.
OH, one really funny thing; I've noticed that my practicing the bowed psaltry has an effect on the cats. The either love it or hate it, I can't tell which. But they ALL meow as I start to practice; Minko was so loud and obnoxious about it and I thought he wanted out but when I stopped and walked toward the door, he just looked at me and when I started playing again he started ME-ROWing again. I had to put him outside and then Nell took up the accompaniment. Really funny! Most of the stuff I'm practicing is in the key of D, so I don't know if it's the pitch or just the timber of the instrument. 'Cause they don't do that during band practices when we work here. Weird; guess I'll have to practice more and see what happens. 'Course, they don't care much for the bodhran; they just put their ears back and leave.