Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday Musings.

I celebrated my much-anticipated long weekend by wrestling with the flu.  Sigh.  I can usually fend off most germie afflictions with many daily dosings of Emergen-C, sage honey tea, elderberry tea and rest, but this proved too much for my lagging defenses.  My mind boggles when the germ-spreading party exclaims, "Oh, I HOPE you didn't get this from ME!" after spending the good part of the week horking and hacking across my desk.  No surprise at the outcome, is there?

I have been hemming and hawing about getting a flu shot this year (oops - too late!) but - strain your thinker on this - I got the flu from my co-worker who has a flu shot every year, yet gets the flu every year.  I am not a fan of shots and vaccines, although I do get a tetanus shot, given my propensity to gouge myself with wire at every opportunity.  Plus, I went through my little girl lamb, Hickory's bout with tetanus.  That got my attention.

As I get older, I grow more intent in distancing myself from Western medicine.  Whether this is wise or not, it is what it is.  I am so appalled by the state of health care in this country (world) that I don't want much to do with it.  Somehow, being in touch with your own body, eating healthily, making as much of your own food as possible, getting enough sleep (ha), creating balance - this is what really works as preventative medicine.  When the occasional illness occurs, using non-toxic remedies makes perfect sense.  You don't need three paragraphs of warnings about side effects on your mason jar of sage honey.  As long as you don't spray your calendula blossoms with pesticides, you are good to go!  After living long enough to have arrived full circle on most of the dire warnings put out there by the 'experts' - Chocolate is bad!  Eggs for breakfast will kill you!  No more coffee!  I now feel free to ignore them completely.


So, (hehe) where art thou Catina?  If I don't hear from you by Wednesday this week, I will do a second drawing for the ear warmer.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

High on the Ick Scale

My friend, Cynthia (who, almost singlehandedly brought the Randall cattle breed back from the brink of extinction - you can read about her journey here) gave me four pounds of grass-fed beef liver.  Well.  When life gives you that much liver, you make liver treats!

Using a very loosely-goosey recipe, I slurried up the raw liver (hence the Ick) with some of my organic garlic and then mixed it with enough organic raw oats to keep it from oozing off the pan (SUPER ICKY).  After ladling onto two parchment lined pans (eeeeeeuuuw), I baked them at 250 for what seemed like hours, rotating pans, until they were dry-ish.  I cut them into small squares and put them back in the oven for another half hour or so, then turned off the oven and left them to crisp and cool.  Needless to say, windows were opened, damn the frigid temps.  What I won't do for my pups.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Musings. And a Winner.

That sinking feeling you get when you realize you thought the Goodnites Bedtime Pants ads were targeted at you.

I was a cranky baby.  I was a bossy-pants, cranky toddler. I would terrorize my larger, more docile cousin by continually snapping his plastic pants until he'd had enough and would roll on top of me to make me stop. This bossy-pants attitude did not ease up as I grew older, either.  There were after-school dust-ups wherein I ruled mostly because I was an early grower who then stopped.  And all the kids that were smaller than me, where suddenly larger than moi.  Retaliation was painful.  Once I realized I was not going to reach my desired height of six feet, I developed other methods of defending myself.  Twin weapons of vocabulary (fueled by the "Word of the Day" in Readers Digest - "You are a nebulous nincompoop!") and a well-honed acerbic humor served me well for years (and still does).  Now I am just cranky without being combative, and I can't remember most of my big word vocabulary.  That being said, I recently had an encounter that brought me back to grade school.  It involved a representative of the state government that had my hackles raised higher than normal.  He was sitting in his car with a co-worker in one of our paid parking spots.  After I inquired if he was an employee or client of our firm, he assumed an attitude and said, "yes".  I called him on it and he got his whities in a twist and pulled out his 'badge' - he worked for the branch of government that oversees unions or somesuch.  I was so unimpressed that he was spluttering.  After more back and forth that was worthy of a playground repertoire (on both our parts, I may add), he moved his car.  I then trotted in and reported him to the building super.  Shades of me at 9 and 94...

Enough meandering.  The winner of the spiffy blue ear warmer is....

Catina Hoak!  Please email your mailing address and I promise to get it in the mail to you before winter sets in...

More giveaways to come!  (Dental and annual physical appointments are scheduled for next month - lots of waiting = lots of ear warmers!)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ear warmer, anyone?

Besides the Baby Blanket From He(double hockey sticks), I always have a project or five on the knitting needles.  I can cover short waits, long waits, my ridiculously short lunch half-hour.  This often leaves me with a veritable pile of ear warmers.  That got me to thinking - perfect fodder for a giveaway! 

This particular ear warmer is knitted up in a nice medium blue wool (Wool Ease) and is from my favorite pattern from my favorite pattern-maker-upper, Melanie.  It should fit a medium to large-ish head.  Mine is rather large-ish, although I am sure it is not packed with brain cells.  Air?  Marshmallow?

If you would like to be in the running for this ear warmer, leave me a comment below about your favorite winter-time memory (recent or not).  I will announce the winner on Monday, November 23.  Cut off date/time for comments is Sunday, November 22 at midnight.

Good luck!!

Completely unrelated aside - is it just me, or is the entire world beginning all sentences with the word, "So"?  If "so", why?  It's driving me crazy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Feathering ones nest takes on a whole new meaning...

As I was putzing around on Sunday, waiting for my neighbor to come and save me from myself (I had been wrestling with a giant tarp for hours, trying to get it on top of my shed and tacked down for the winter.  What was I thinking?) I decided to clean off the back deck.  This included winterizing my gas grill.

As I pulled the cover off and lifted the lid, two members of the vermin society leapt up and made me scream like a little girl.  They leapt up out of their larger-than-life, heavily feathered mouse condo.  Honestly, I have never seen that many feathers unless they were on the chicken.  It was super-deluxe!  There were little bits of greenery, moss and lichen.  I could just imagine those little, flea-ridden bodies settling in for the winter (can you tell I am not a fan of the vermin society?).  I went inside and got my hazmat suit on, grabbed a trowel and my giant trug.  OMG.  That trug was about 3/4 full of feathers!  The grill is now 3/4 full of moth balls.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Love bug.

This is my great-nephew, Adrian.  AKA the Love Bug.  He is modeling his baby sac with matching hat, knitted by his besotted great-Auntie Sweezie.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


As I wound my way to the dreaded j.o.b. this morning, I switched on my favorite oldie radio station - being between audiobooks.  And got holiday music.  Wha???  There is nothing - NOTHING - that will take the starch out of my love of the holidays more than starting the commercialism before Thanksgiving.  Bah, hemlock.

I thought I would pop up and give you an update as to my antics and those of my various dependents.  I am slowly making headway on my winter prep.  Slow being the operative word.  Given that there are now two hours of daylight at my disposal during the week to get outside things done, I find myself multi-tasking my way out the door, through my chores, and inside again.  It goes something like this:  gather ingrate leftovers, a bucket and leaf rake - head out the door.  Toss leftovers to said ingrates, clean nesting boxes (I am ever hopeful of discovering an egg or five - still waiting), feed, check water, empty hanging flower pot, rake one-quarter of the chicken yard at a feverish pace on my way back to the deck.  Where I quickly open the back door, grab a handful of Norman treats (he doesn't like fruit or anything healthy), then toddle down the other steps (dropping the remains of the potted plant at the foot of the stairs), towards the sheep.  Apples to Icelandics and llama, special treats to Norman, then hot-foot it to the barn for hay.  Put hay in feeder, check water bucket, fill as needed, back to stairs, up and let two out of three dogs (the Pepperoni refuses a third outie) outside for breakneck running (Lovey) and 'watering' of everything upright (Scrappy), while I dump plant remains in compost pile.  A quick jog past the flower beds, filling the bucket, then back in the house and off to work.  Wheehaw! 

I did, however, get the large chicken coop cleaned out last weekend, and have been spending time getting manure raked into nice hills, so that they can compost down to wonderful black gold by spring time.  I've discovered my mustard greens have multiplied all over the place, so I whisk out every once in a while with scissors and basket to cut some.  The voles have not discovered the chard yet - bloody vermin - so I am still able to snip at those.  The curly kale is thriving and I am enjoying that as much as possible.  Our weather has been anything but winter-like.  So far, it's lots of rain, but rain beats snow in my book.  At least until the real start of holidays - mid-December.

Slimbo is coming along.  He still lists to port and his head is cocked at an odd angle, but he is able to get around pretty well.  The only sticky bit is that Lovey has now discovered that there is cat food beyond the baby gate to their room.  At first, she just battered the gate down.  I would come in her wake and brace it up again.  Once I out-maneuvered her on that, she discovered she could easily jump over it.  Sigh.  I was forced to use my brains - ouch - and developed a Lovey-proof system.  Unfortunately, it also freaks Slimbo out, so once he is out of the room, he's afraid to go back.  Which is a problem, as that is where his commode is located.  I had put up a tension rod, about a foot over the baby gate and I hung two little LOUD wind chimes on it.  It scares the bejeebers out of Lovey (and Slimbo) but doesn't phase Kramer the Two Dimensional Cat at all.  It's still a work in progress.

The chickens continue to disappoint.  Linden needs his hooves trimmed (on list), the llama is apple-crazed, the Pepperoni is darn lucky he is so cute, and Scrappy continues to be the Best Dog in the World.

I've got a few dozen things to check off my list by the end of the weekend.  It's either that, or I shoehorn them into my tiny bit of available daylight during next week.  I have a feeling that the other snowshoe will drop at any moment!

Friday, November 6, 2015


I'm already down to 0-2 eggs a day.  I do the happy dance when I discover two eggs in the nesting boxes, pathetic chicken owner that I am.  I know I have some geriatric girls in the flock, but I have more than 30 freakin' chickens!  I mean, really.  I think it must be a solidarity issue - no one lays an egg until the half-nekkid  moulters are back to their feathery selves.  Which, at this rate, will be in the middle of winter, when everything poultry forgets its purpose in life. I am forced to buy eggs from friends who have kind, productive birds - though, I'd rather face that humiliation than eat a store-bought egg.  It's going to be a loooong winter.