Wednesday, November 30, 2011

PD pictures

It's been raining here the past couple of days. It's been pretty yucky to be honest, so we've been laying low. I'm pretty tired from my jog with Douglas this afternoon and I've still got a dozen gingerbread cookies to put frosting on, but I wanted to share some older Prairie dog pictures I came across the other day with all of you.

 Chip munching a treat...

 They love tearing up boxes and playing in them...

Chip asleep (they often sleep on their backs, it's beyond adorable) and Snuggles curled up beside him

 Dale in her favorite blanket

 Dale holding my finger.. She liked to be held upside down while I scratched her tummy and she'd always hold onto my finger while I did it.

 time to eat?

Chip chewing up a cereal box

Norman meeting the Prairie dogs in the truck after we picked them up

I just realized I've never shared on the blog about our trip to see the worlds largest Prairie dog... I'll have to save that for another rainy day. For now, I'm off to eat... or frost rather, the gingerbread men.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Attitude of gratitude

 This weeks theme at IHCC is "Attitude of gratitude...."

I was watching a TV show on the  Cassowary bird the other night... I can't stand commercials (really who can?) and being my Papa's Granddaughter, I flip channels like a pro. If he could be alive today to have a remote with a "last channel" button, he wouldn't know what to do with himself.

Anyway, during a commercial break from the Cassowary bird program, I saw a few minutes of Oprah's new show, life class. She often has a good point or two to make, but the one she was making in those few minutes I watched it really hit home... It was about being in the moment, even while doing the most ordinary tasks... washing dishes, cleaning house, etc. And remembering to notice the "blessings in the ordinary." She was right about that. I thought of how often I rush through things, chores, laundry, cleaning, general things I do every single day, things I take for granted that I'm doing. And I rush for no real reason... It's not like I have a deadline or if I don't hurry the world will come to a sudden, horrible end. 

So I've been trying to do better at taking my time with most things (I'm having a hard time finding any kind of blessing in doing laundry, but I'm trying). I've been trying to take the pressure of myself. How often do we forget to just be present in our lives and what we are doing, and grateful we are doing it? What if our lives were different and we were in a different place? I don't know about anyone else, but I'm guilty of this. Sometimes we just forget and that can't be helped, I think it's darned near impossible not to take routine chores for granted, but as long as we remember sometimes to just be thankful for the things that are less obvious than the big things, like family, friends, our home, our animals being well fed and happy, etc.

When I think of something I'm grateful for in cooking, it would be bread. All the ingredients, the yeast, the flour... the sugar... and also the result of the work that goes into making something so beautiful and nourishing.

However, this week, I decided to make cookies. These beautiful S shaped cookies from Venice, with simple, honest, ingredients. And besides that, how can you not be grateful for something that puts a smile on peoples faces? (and in their tummies...)

These cookies were delightful with coffee this morning. I think they'd be even better with some almond extract in them, but the lemon smells delicious in these even on it's own.

from Venezia by Tessa Kiros

1 stick & 1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter, chopped
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons of milk*

This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of milk, I have to say, I used a lot more than that in order to make dough, about 1/2 cup. 

Mix the butter with the flour and sugar until it resembles bread crumbs. Combine the egg yolks, vanilla, lemon zest, and milk in a bowl. Pour the crumb mixture into it and mix it until comes together. I would suggest slowly adding the milk, until you have just as much as you need for a soft dough.

Put your dough onto some plastic wrap and shape into an 8 inch long log. Put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You will need a lightly floured surface and flour for your hands. Keep half the dough in the fridge to keep it cool while you work with the other half. Cut slices at 1/4 inch thick along the long and roll each slices out to a 3 inch rope. Form each one into an S shape. Put each "S" shape onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until pale but golden here and there. They shouldn't be too hard as they will harden once out of the oven.

*my cookies took 20 minutes to be lightly golden at this temperature.

IHCC Tessa Kiros Button

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ever wonder what...

the very best part of being on the farm/out in the bush is?

Getting to wear my jammies whenever I want, wherever I want.

Can't beat it.

We went out to the big creek to pull the canoe in today... This morning all the snow was gone and it was warm outside again. I woke up and looked outside the bedroom window and got a shock when there was a turkey looking back at me. But not just one... Seven of them! Seven wild tom turkeys were milling around outside the bedroom, peeking in the windows from time to time.

There was a teeny bit of ice still in the creek...

I got to watch them pull the canoe out, which was nice...  No work involved for me!

When I came home with Kevin's cousin Greg in the mule (Kevin carried the canoe home on the argo behind us) Max was running towards me from the house. Ah... he's not supposed to be there.

I hit the break and jumped out of the mule. Max came to me right away as he always does, and I put him in the goat yard. I knew right away what had happened. I changed up my routine and this morning I didn't fully hook the gate (I always check it twice! but apparently not this morning) the second time I went through it with the mule (I rarely take the mule into the barnyard, I'm always on foot.) So after Max was away, I drove up to the barnyard, um....rather quickly. I wasn't afraid anyone would run away really, but maybe the turkeys would, and Lambie was in there and he can't see....

As I approached the gate, Sammy Saanen was standing outside the gate. He saw me running and ran straight back into the barnyard! It was hilarious. Everyone was there, including all the turkeys, except for Lila and Horace, the two other sheep. Where did they go when they had the option of going anywhere on the farm? Across the road, through another gate into their summer pasture. I guess they figured maybe there was still grass in there. Never mind the entire farm/forest that was surrounding them!

 Most of the day, Max has been basking in the barnyard spotlight. He thinks he's pretty special now... he enjoyed a nice big treat. (Don't worry, Flavious did too, we don't play favorites here, not in front of everyone else...)

Everyone enjoyed the warm air and sunshine. Especially after the fright they had when it snowed the other day.  Most of them didn't even seem to notice the gate was open and just carried on about their usual business (meaning, filling their faces.)

the cookie monster doing what she does best... munching!

Max is pulling his "I'm famous now, you can't take a picture of me without giving me half the cut anymore..." look...

Yesterday afternoon I went for a hike before the snow melted... just a short one to look for tracks. Back in the juniper bushes East of the house, I found some trails with a lot of buck tracks. Our two big bucks haven't been seen for weeks now. I was hoping to see some sign of them. I think there is a good chance the buck tracks I found, judging by size, are from the little spike buck we have hanging around, and not either of our big ones.

On the trail, I almost stepped on this ant. There were bugs everywhere yesterday, crawling, flying... it was so warm they were on the move and probably a little confused as to what time of year it was exactly.

Our pond at our dam road was breaking up pretty quickly. The beavers food pile is almost out into the center of the pond it's so big now.  To be honest, it freaks me out a little bit... I hope they don't know something we don't about the coming winter.

The little marsh behind the house looked really pretty on the way home. It's usually full of ducks in the spring, in winter, the deer use it a lot for crossings to the fields behind it.

On the way past the goat yard, Bulrush and Baby looked a little... what's the word? Um... desperate.

our feet are getting wet out here! we are cold!

Flavious didn't seem worried about anything, as I passed by he didn't even open his eyes. He was having a pretty serious snooze.

The reserve wood pile at home has been growing, it's all even height now. We'll cover it up now that the snow has melted and leave it for later in the winter if we need it.

Tonight the sunset was beautiful... It's looking like tomorrow will be another nice day, another day we can finish catching up on chores before the snow returns. As the saying goes "pink sky at night, sailors delight."

This evening, the fire is going (not that it's really cold).... and we are getting settled in. After I cook dinner with my helpers, who are pretty anxious to start the preparations,

I'm looking forward to watching a movie on our new PVR... We got it a few days ago and I'm so excited that I can record T.V. shows and movies I'd otherwise never be able to watch because of the time they are on during the day or night... this little box has changed my life! I've been recording all kinds of movies I can snuggle up with the dogs and watch during the coming days when it's dark so early and the weather finally forces us inside. Thank heavens (sometimes) for technology!

Big blog news!

I'm very excited to share that today, my post "my afternoon of reading" is syndicated on BlogHer! I'm so honored to have been chosen to have the goaties and Max in the spotlight and be able to share them with so many other great bloggers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It happened.

At midnight last night when I took the dogs out for their last tinkle of the evening, it looked like this when I opened the door... a light dusting of icing sugar... 
Then this morning I woke up and wandered into the front room. The sight out the window had me rubbing my eyes to make sure I was seeing right....

 Yep, I was. We actually got snow. And quite a bit of it.

I ground up some hazelnut cream coffee beans and put on a pot of coffee, because I knew I'd need some when I came back inside. I put my boots, hat, mittens, and coat on over my pajamas and headed out.

Yikes... this might actually require some shoveling. 

I wasn't expecting we'd get much, so I left the mule outside the back door last night, and not under the porch where it lives for the winter. Because of that, I got a bedful of snow... thankfully I remembered to at least put the seat up!

Max and Flavious were pretty happy up at the barn, they love, love, love, snow. Flavious is saying "woohoo it snowed!" At least I imagine he is... maybe he's making a snide remark about me in my pajamas.

The goats as usual were not overly thrilled, but they did a lot better than I expected. Last winter when it snowed for the first time, they refused to go outside... for three days.

Brie and Henrietta (Bucket's kids from last spring) have never seen snow before, so they were a little shocked at first, but quickly figured out to just go with it. 

Horace however knew exactly what it was and I can't say he was happy about it. Does this look like a happy face to you?

 Whoa! Horace, I don't make the weather. Give me a break.

The turkeys were slightly confused but it didn't slow them down any. 

It slowed Lambie down, a lot. Because he's blind, anything different really confuses him, anything moved in the barnyard, a different routine, wind, heavy rain, snow... etc. He was confused and kept getting turned around this morning. He fixes this by following me with his nose in my hand as I show him to the food and water. He used to panic and run around trying to get his bearings straight, but now, he just comes to me and lets me show him. 

 you can hardly even see Sammy... he just blends in with the scenery...

We are so not ready for the snow... Nothing is covered up, plugged in, put away. It is supposed to warm up later this week and weekend and it looks like we'll loose this snow, which will give us a chance to get things organized. Maybe.

Someone on this farm was especially happy about the snow however - the snow bunny himself... 

Douglas. He saw the snow from my boots in the mudroom on the way outside and he was so happy he could hardly contain himself. As soon as I opened the door, he was ready to play.

I can't say it's not pretty.... It was a calm morning with no major wind.

 Douglas has loved the snow since the first time he went outside in it as a baby. He loves playing it, eating it, peeing in it... you get my drift. 

Someone else however hates the snow.... More than anything in this world.

At least now he's got Douglas to break trail for him... 
 chase me... chase me!

oh come on Norman, lets play!

 Norman says "it's not even good to eat..."

 ohhh I hate this.... I'm running away from home and going to Uncle Steve's in Arizona...

 please get this Pug away from me... please.

Alright, enough already with the pictures. Let me in.

Before I head back outside to work, I'll put the crock pot on with some beef and barley soup in it, so tonight we'll have something warm and hearty to eat. The fire is roaring in the wood stove and the house is comfortable and warm. After the rest of my chores I think I'll do the best thing I can think of on a day like today... no, not laundry. The other thing... go play in the snow!

I also want to wish all our American friends and family a very Happy Thanksgiving! We always celebrate twice (one of the perks of one of us being Canadian, one American ;) but we had our second Thanksgiving early this year, on this past Saturday. Kevin's son Joe was leaving Sunday and we wanted him to be able to stuff himself too... So we filled ourselves with lemon thyme roast turkey, gravy, homemade dinner rolls, sausage stuffing, green beans, cranberry jelly.... 

I hope everyone enjoys their time with family, friends, and stuffs themselves with all the delicious things that come with Thanksgiving dinner.
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