Thursday, July 21, 2016

Deer, Balconies, Sound.

I have recently been made aware, by Denise of My Life in Retirement, of the problems cause by deer. I am one of the many who think Bambi thoughts a lot of the time when I see deer, but I never realised the damage they do or the long range effects such damage can cause. Apparently they tend to eat lots of the flowers planted by people which in turn means the bees have nowhere to go and thus this contributes to their dying out. In Denise's case, culling in any form is not permitted where she lives, but it appears that culling is necessary and should be permitted under supervision. People are allowed to hunt deer in woods so what is the problem in culling those in more urban areas. It could be done professionally I have no doubt. Looking for a picture I see all kinds of ads to prevent the animals from eating garden flowers, but apparently many of them don't work like they are supposed to.

I talked to our Assistant Superintendent today about the railings or walls of the new balconies. Apparently the concrete has to cure for at least 30 days before anything else happens but he doesn't know when the walls will be installed. Looks like the people concerned will be without the use of their balconies for the whole summer. What a pain. Obviously I am waiting to see what happens so we can know what to expect when they get round to us. The apartment across the hall is now let, I wonder if they told the new tenant(s) about how bad the noise is etc. etc. Come to that, I wonder if they told the new tenant(s) about the bed bugs? I'm thinking I might put some Diatomaceous Earth by the front door, just in case.

Started watching a movie on my laptop and suddenly the sound went. Eventually I re-booted and the sound came back again. I am wondering if that means the sound card is going or something. No expert me, so maybe I should ask the experts.

How typically English. Once upon a time there was a cooking show called Two Fat Ladies and nowadays we have The Hairy Bikers. This is a recipe of theirs which popped up yesterday and I thought sounded pretty good.

Hairy Bikers' cauliflower and chicken pilaf

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep time:
  • Cooking time:
  • Skill level: Easy peasy
  • Costs: Cheap as chips
Hairy Bikers' cauliflower and chicken pilaf is a delicious, healthy lunch or light dinner option. It's so easy to make and tastes great too. This recipe serves 4 people and will take only 20 mins to prepare and cook. A portion of this mouth-watering pilaf works out at only 274 calories per serving. The Hairy Bikers say; 'Everyone loves a pilaf but the rice makes it quite a high calorie dish. But if you use
cauliflower instead of rice you get all that lovely comforting flavour and texture with far fewer cals. We’re happy putting in the whole spices into our pilaf and we’re used to fishing them out as we eat but if you’re worried you could wrap them in a little bit of muslin.'


  • 500g chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin crescents
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5g fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • large pinch of saffron
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 x 3cm pieces of cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 medium cauliflower (about 750g)
  • flaked sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
To serve:
  • 1 tbsp pistachios
  • ½ pomegranate
  • small bunch of coriander or parsley
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.


  1. First prepare the chicken. If using thighs, trim off any fat, then slice them thinly. If using chicken breasts, cut them into 2cm chunks. Peel and slice the onion into thin crescents. Finely chop the garlic and ginger. Put the saffron in a bowl with a little hot water and leave it to steep.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, lidded frying pan or a shallow casserole dish. When the pan is hot, add the chicken. Fry the chicken for a minute, stirring constantly, until the pieces have seared, then add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the whole spices and the bay leaves.
  3. Pour the stock and the saffron with its water into the pan, then season with salt and pepper. Stir vigorously, scraping up any brown bits from the base of the pan. Bring the stock to the boil, then leave to simmer while you prepare the cauliflower – this should take about 5 minutes. Cut up the cauliflower and blitz to the size of coarse breadcrumbs in a food processor – use the stalks as well as the florets.
  4. When the liquid has reduced so it just coats the base of the pan and the chicken and onion are tender, remove the chicken and most of the onion with a slotted spoon and keep them warm. Add the cauliflower to the pan and stir so it is coated with the remaining liquid and spices – it should start to turn a light ochre in patches.
  5. Cook over a medium heat for at least 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the cauliflower is cooked through and the remaining liquid has evaporated. The cauliflower should be fluffy. Put half the chicken and onion back into the pan and stir it through the cauliflower, then add the rest on top.
  6. While the cauliflower is cooking, lightly crush or chop the pistachios and remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Serve the pilaf sprinkled with the pistachios, pomegranate seeds and herbs.

Have a great day


  1. Hi Jo - deer are a great nuisance ... we keep ours under control - see Richmond Park ...

    The Hairy Bikers are beloved by the populace ... so this would be a popular recipe ...

    I too like to know what is going to happen, so I can prepare ... can quite understand your thoughts re your building ... good luck!

    Cheers Hilary

    1. There's a lot more here than in the UK Hilary. They are regularly hunted in season, but if they get into urban neighbourhoods I guess they are difficult to control.

      I've heard of the Hair Bikers before, it amuses me and I used to love Two Fat Ladies.

      Thanks for the soapstone link too.

  2. My husband comes from a family of avid hunters although he hasn't gone in a few years. Sometimes animals need to be culled if they are having a negative impact on the environment.

  3. The deer were eating the tulips in my beds this spring. So, when I gardened, I'd take my dog along with me. The hope was they'd pick up his scent, think there was a predator in the yard, and go away. They seemed to lose interest. Could have been the dog, could have been a coincidence.
    I've heard of parks giving out permits to bow hunters to lower the populations.

    1. That sounds like a good idea Liz. I have heard of that too. Not where Denise lives though.

  4. I stopped by your blog today. I have heard that certain soaps discourage them - I believe Irish Spring was one of them.

    1. Interesting Cozy, I must pass that on to Denise.

  5. Tim's sound card might be going on his pc. Ack. As for the deer doing damage. What about us people, who took over all their lands and done run them out o their homes?

    1. Hope not Ivy, don't suppose they are cheap to replace.

      Very true, but.... not much we can do about that.

    2. Hope not for either of you.

      The trailer next door just got lovely tin roof. Oh my gosh, very nice, but it cost them 2,600 dollars and that was with family doing the job (slight discount).

    3. Lot of money. What kind of roof do you have? I remember on our first we used to have to get it treated regularly. Our second was more like a regular house roof.

    4. Guess that's what I meant Ivy, couldn't remember what it was.

  6. Deer can be such a problem which I don't have but the deer have become major pests in Denise's area. Why can't professionals deal with thinning out the population and then serve the meat to the hungry...why not? My hubby would already have gone nuts with all that noise you have to deal with.

    1. I like that idea of serving the meat to the hungry Birgit. Who says we haven't gone nuts, duuuuuh.

  7. I can't bear the thought of culling any warm blooded creature. The trouble is that people have moved into their territory. Maybe they could leave food out for them so they don't eat the flowers. I loved Two Fat Ladies.

    1. Well of course you are a piscatarian (sp) Pinky, but being a meat eater, I enjoy venison. I used to love them too, it was so sad when one of them died.

  8. I guess any animal which moves into urban areas can be a pest. We have a mob of kangaroos living on the golf course about five minutes walk from where we live. They're too well fed there to want to leave so are no problem but that's not always the case. Sometimes numbers explode as happened at a local university campus and eventually some had to be discreetly removed and relocated. More expensive than culling but less likely to cause a public outcry.

    1. The thought of kangaroos on the golf course makes me laugh for some reason Helen. Not an animal we are used to of course. Moving them is one answer, pretty expensive one though I suspect.