Sunday, September 30, 2007

No news today, just dessert. This is a Charlote aux Fraises made by me. Very tasty and attractive and dead easy. It's a recipe that I learned from my über-French mother-in-law.
Lots of people put recipes in their blogs, so why not me?
Here we go (or "allons-y", if you want to be all authentic).
Gather up:
1.Package of Boudiors or Cuillers cookies (I think they are "ladyfingers" in English
2.Frozen strawberries
3.Whipped cream or Dream Whip
4.Sprinkles (optional, but fun)
5.Large, pretty glass bowl (also not required, but highly recommended)
Get busy:
Strain the defrosted berries and reserve the juice. Put aside several uncrushed berries for a garnish.
Mix up your Dream Whip, if that's what you have. (Actual whipped cream is the only thing my MIL would ever use, but in Africa, we take what we can get.) Mix the strawberries into the cream. Do this in a mixing bowl, NOT your fancy glass one.
Next, dip the cookies one by one into the juice. Just a quick dip, or they'll get too soggy. Use some of the cookies to line the glass bowl. You won't need all of them at this point, maybe about half.
Spread a layer of the cream mixture over the cookies. Dip the rest of the cookies and lay them in a layer on top of the cream. Add the rest of the cream, filling the bowl.
Garnish with berries and sprinkles. Leave in the fridge for at least three hours. Longer is even better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The goat castration went pretty well, from my point of view, anyway. Aslan's view of the whole incident may be completely different, but it had to be done. It wasn't just the rancid goat-cheese reek of him,(which we had sort of gotten used to doing without very happily during our holiday) but there was a whole new level olfactory insult going on. It turns out that adult male goats spruce themselves up for the lady goats by urinating on themselves. Instead of a bracing spash of Old Spice, Polo or whathaveyou, they just stand there and let their pee dribble down their legs. Very convienient, but extremely disgusting from the point of view of those of us who are not female goats.
Added to the problem of his unique new "eau de cologne" was his new sound repertoire. In the presence of a female goat, his previously mild goatly bleat became a blood-curdling thing of nightmares. It sounded like an elderly, mutated dwarf being vivisected by trolls. A very LOUD dwarf. (Not that I have ever heard that particular sound, but I have a very lively imagination.) Anyway, he had a tendency to make this sound every morning at about 5am, plus at regular intervals throughout the day.
The noise thing could have probably been solved by NOT having a lady goat present. But Midnight and her extemely adorable tiny baby goatling are now living at our place, so a solution had to be found.
On the practical side, it only costs a dollar to have a goat castrated. Then again, there's no anaesthesia. Ouch. (In fact, the vet thought I was mad to even ask about it). So, I had to sit out on the front terrace of the vet's office, holding Aslan's head, trying to get him through the 15 minute procedure with a minimum of panic. Right beside us there was a huge ram dying from poisoning. I will spare you all the details, but it was pretty grim.
Our Aslan recovered very quickly from the little visit and does not hold a grudge. He now bleats normally and smells like a normal goat instead of a festering furred heap of urine. Which is nice. Think petting zoo goat.
At the top is a pic of Midnight. Baby Dawn kept running around and I couldn't get a good shot of here.
The second is, rather obviously, our pet turtles. We have had them for about 3 years and raised them from tiny turtlettes. They don't smell and are completely silent. I have no idea if they are girls or boys and would not even dream of violating their privacy to find out. Furthermore, I have never heard of anyone having to get her turtle castrated. I find that they are very relaxing pets.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I`ve been back in Burkina for over a week now. Posting to the blog or even answering an email is much harder here than it was in the middle of a forest in the USA. I didn`t have my internet connection reopened until this morning. I somehow couldn`t bear the thought of dial-up again...but the waiting list time for getting anything better here is over one month. So, I got hooked up again today to my old service... only to have a sudden rainshower knock out our phone line. I`m not sure why, but it happens frequently here. It wasn`t even a storm, I swear. I suspect that they make the cables out of sugar.
So, here I am, back at the internet cafe.
I have also been very, very busy, of course. I had to organize the kids for school, which involves buying and labeling hundreds of dollars worth of school supplies. Each thing down to the last pencil has to be tagged, god help me. Then I had to get back to work at Papiers du Sahel. And then the car was emitting alarming black smoke and the brakes went out, so that had to be dealt with.
And I also had to get the goat castrated.
I have had little time for frivolities around here.
NB:today`s pic is JP and the kids on Aug 31 in Paris waiting to get on the plane for Ouagadougou.