Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Becoming a Couch Potato

Remy's hair is sparse this year. We usually clip the Pyrs each spring and their hair begins to grow back within a few weeks. Remy was no exception in the past, with the exception being this year. After clipping her this past spring she just didn't grow the undercoat as quickly, or as thickly, as she needs for our northern winters. And she has several bald spots, a large one on each side, and a smaller one directly over her withers. After a VERY expensive vet visit to do skin tests, a complete blood panel, plus a thyroid test, it has been determined that she's in perfect health. The vet did suggest several supplements to help with her coat, but meanwhile she just doesn't have the protection from the cold. So she's a house dog for the winter. Although she's a bit bored and misses the excitement of patrolling the fence line and barking at every leaf that might be a threat, she has discovered there are a few amenities that make passing the long, cold winter inside bearable. One of her discoveries is the couch! Being a Pyr, she doesn't know how to take "no" for an answer so her humans just gave up and let her do her thing. Also, if she's going to be a house dog, she has to put up with being brushed regularly and going to the groomer. That also involves going for a ride, which is a pleasure she discovered long ago and thoroughly enjoys. Then there's the kitchen which is full of wonderful smells to investigate, and dishes to be prewashed before going into the dishwasher. All in all, she figures the house isn't such a bad place, and although there are drawbacks like being a bit bored, the perks make it all worthwhile. The problem is returning her to the outdoors after her hair grows back sufficiently. Wait, did I just see her with the trimmers making more bald spots?

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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Never Ending.....

We've all had The Song That Never Ends stuck in our heads, repeating over and over till we about go crazy. Then there's the movie about The Never Ending Story. Today was the day of The Never Ending Kitchen.

I awoke to a kitchen piled high with dishes from last night. I know, not exactly a good way to start a Monday morning, but it's better than spending my Sunday evening doing supper dishes. Sunday, after all, is supposed to be a day of rest. So here's how my Monday went: Clean kitchen by unpacking dishwasher and putting dirty dishes in it, wash pots and pans that wouldn't fit in dishwasher, clean counters and stove, straighten and organize - you know, all the little things that make up that task. Next, milk goats, collect eggs, do barn chores and then clean milk room - otherwise referred to as the barn kitchen. Get breakfast. Clean kitchen. Put dirty clothes in washer. Mix batch of cajeta and put on stove to simmer. (If you don't know what that is then you won't feel deprived that you don't have any. If you do know what that is, stop drooling.) Clean kitchen. Put wash in dryer. Get mid morning snack. Clean kitchen. Check email. Go for a walk with goats and dogs. Lunchtime. Clean kitchen. Fold laundry and put away. Cajeta is done early afternoon. Strain into jars and put in refrigerator. Clean kitchen. Make batch of ricotta cheese. Clean kitchen. Hubby is home from work so it's time to start preparing supper.....

Are you sensing a pattern here? Cleaning the kitchen is The Never Ending Chore! Some would suggest I should wait till everything is done and clean the kitchen once. I don't know about you, but I can't work in a cluttered mess so I'm compelled to clean between each task. And some days it seems like all I do is clean the kitchen. Well, at least I'm not barefoot and pregnant!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Great Year for the Garden

I love going out to my garden to get lunch, or breakfast in this case. We have an ever expanding garden and orchard to provide most of our own food. Besides all the usual veges including a beautiful asparagus bed, we have apple, pear and plum trees, (we did have a peach tree but that suffered death by goat last year when they organized a coordinated prison break!), raspberries, currants, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, elderberries, strawberries, and rhubarb. We get milk and meat from the goats, eggs and meat from the chickens and ducks, meat from pigs, veges and fruit from the gardens. The only thing we don't raise ourselves is beef but buy that locally from a friend who pasture raises Herefords. The animals are also our land management crew. As we've pushed back the woods to reclaim open pasture the goats clear brush and keep the land clear, pigs help loosen and dig up stumps. We did have sheep a while back but neither of us particularly likes lamb meat, and I don't do anything with the wool, so we decided that sheep are way too dumb to really enjoy other than being a source of amusement when they run into fences etc.

This has been a bumper crop year for everything. We've had a wonderful combination of heat and rainfall, which has served to make everything lush and productive. Since we have such a short growing season here in northern NH it's wonderful to have everything produce so much in such a short time. Now to can, freeze, dehydrate, juice, pickle, store, etc., it all.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On the Job!

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