Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Links and Reviews

Some of the main gifts given around my house were books...lots and lots of books!
I gave the Darlin' Man a book of short stories called A Land of Ash compiled and edited by David Dalglish.
Of course I read it, too!
It is different authors take on the blow-out of the Yellowstone Caldera. The authors are mainly sci-fi and fantasy writers.
No rainbows, roses and sunshine here...all the stories are as dark as the ash that covers the land in most of the stories.
But it is good. Very good.
It is a small book, only 123 pages, but all the stories carry weight. I highly recommend it, especially if all the apocalyptic fiction you have found features heroic guys mowing down hordes of bad guys with a machine gun they had kept concealed since the 1950s, and full bosomed tiny waisted women that are dead shots and perfect in every way.
The people in these stories are flawed, as we all are.
Cool website alert!
The Union Creek Journal is a novel starting out online. It takes place in Nebraska after an economic and governmental collapse. Lots of prepper stuff, too!Give it a read!
Cool things for the crochet crowd and knitters out there:
Crocheted beanies for breast-fed babies How to do discreet breast-feeding 
Heh-heh. I love this idea!

Okay...some other hook and needle work for those talented folk out there:
Crochet with wire e-book .You can download for $6.26.

Well,I have to go muck out a goat pen and convince the kids,Gustav and Gerte, that it is okay that they are being weaned and that the sweet feed they happily munch on in addition to their alfalfa will make them grow big and strong (or, in Gustav's case, it will help him grow tender and tasty!)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Recipe for Christmas Eve-Eve

Tonight we decided to cook a meal together....we all wanted Chinese.
Egg rolls and rice.
The rice was easy....
Here's the tutorial for the egg rolls:
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or minced tiny
1 cup baby bok choy or Chinese cabbage,cut tiny
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup celery, cut tiny
1/4 cup green onions,cut tiny
1 Package Egg Roll wrappers or Spring Roll wrappers
 1 tablespoon red bean paste
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
Mix all ingredients together in large bowl until thoroughly mixed.

Lay wrapper out flat on smooth surface (we used a cutting board) fill,and roll up as shown in following pictures:

 Wet the tag end of the wrapper with water and finish rolling.

Now, gently lower egg rolls into pan with 1/2 inch of hot oil in it.I used vegetable oil.

Remove from oil, drain on paper towels and serve with hot rice and dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce recipes:
Hot and Spicy:
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons bean paste
2 tablespoons hot sauce (I suggest Sirachi)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Mix all of the above well and put in small bowls on table.

Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon red bean paste
2 tablespoons vinegar
Mix all of the above together and put in small bowls on table for dipping.

Surprise This Morning!

Look out my back door!

Yes, we have SNOW!!!
It started around 6:30am and has been coming down steadily since. The kids are thrilled, as it is supposed to stay cold all White Christmas for us!

Other news this morning....
Patches and Geordi left Frippery Farm this morning...headed to the Houston area.
A co-worker of the Darlin' Man wanted a couple of goats to give his father-in-law for Christmas.
The Darlin' Man made the deal, came home from work last night and told me (!) and this morning, before the sun came up, we loaded Patches and Geordi up for their trip.
I will miss goofy little Patches...

But even more...I will miss Geordi!

I helped load them up and made sure Geordi had his favorite snacks...bananas and cookies.
I petted them both....making sure I scratched Patches right under her chin...she loved that!
The little farm they are going to is 4 acres of lush green grass and plenty of bushes for them to browse. They'll be treated as fear of getting butchered. Patches won't even be milked! Just petted and given lots of good food and browsing.
I am happy we found such a good home for them...
Still, I cried. Geordi was special. We called him our "Homie". He is an affectionate little guy and loves his people!
Patches was such a goofy little goat. Not a good milker,but she was a good mama. She loved her sweet feed and getting her chin scratched would put her in a total state of bliss.
I cried over Patches, too.
I made sure they knew how to take care of her, as she is due to kid Dec 30th...although with the stress of the move, she may deliver sooner! We made sure they had some sweet feed and alfalfa hay, as well as some favorite snacks...the bananas for Geordi and sugar cookies and gingerbread for both. A couple of cut up apples for Patches.
Good luck Patches and Geordi....may you have happy lives in your new home!

Are You Ready?

Regardless of your faith,just about everyone celebrates this time of  year.
Are you ready?
I'm not as ready as I hoped, but still, ready as I can be!
Still have some presents to wrap....some more baking and tomorrow I pull the ham out of the freezer.
Might not post again until Monday.
Until then, stay warm, celebrate the festival of your choice and.........
Have a cool Yule!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ugly Betty Update!

Remember Ugly Betty?
The remarkable hen that the Darlin' Man bought at the feed store?
Well,she has had a good diet,comfortable pen and friendly neighbors for the past couple of months...and voila!
Betty has feathers! Finally!
See the wee pale egg?
Ugly Betty finally laid her first egg!

Her roomie,Pericles,is also looking good these days...his tail is growing back in:
Lovely, isn't it?
As for my leg...healing is progressing:
Still a bit swollen, and,as you can see...bruising is starting to show through. Yes, I need to shave my legs...but right now my leg is still too tender!
So, while Pender has his breakfast in the back yard....
I think I'll relax with a hot cup of cocoa....
with a dab of whipped cream on top....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reality of Farm Life get hurt.
Yes, this hurt!
That is NOT my knee...that is about four inches BELOW my knee!
Nice goose-egg, huh?

How it happened:
This morning, before it was fully light, I started feeding the critters before they went into the barnyard version of "The Hallelujah Chorus" and woke up the entire county.
There were two pallets in the yard that we use to stack the old hay on before we get delivery of new hay. That way we can rotate our hay supplies by stacking the older hay bales on top of the newer ones.
SOMEONE neglected to get the pallets up and out of the way the last time hay was delivered. Usually the Darlin' Man, his son or my son moves them. I hadn't complained as I figured it would eventually get done. The damn things are almost too heavy for me to drag around. I guess I could have...but, I was being lazy, too, I guess.
Anyway, as I was feeding, my shoe caught on the edge of the wooden pallet and down I went!
My leg and ribs slammed into the pallet and the side of my face slammed into the ground.
I managed to not scream, although I admit to some VERY creative cussing!
I finished feeding the animals, milked Gabby the goat and crawled inside. Strained the milk and jarred it and put it in the fridge. Got the kids off to school, started a load of laundry and cleaned out the kitchen sink. Started bread dough for dinner tonight.
Oh, and THEN  I cleaned off my wounded leg and put ice on it and elevated it for a bit. Took a couple of aspirin.
Now have a soft compression bandage on it, after applying some neosporin.
My son went and cleaned up all the pallets and lumber debris from our recent pen build. He also transferred Nina into the milking pen with Lily...they are buddies and Lily has been crying across the yard all day every day for Nina.
After I hang up laundry, I'll elevate my leg again for a bit.
Reality of farm gotta walk it off when you are the one everyone depends on!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Xander the Gander

A surprise new resident here at Frippery Farm...
Xander the Gander!
The Darlin' Man found him at the feed store. They had thought they were done with geese for the year, but someone brought in a small flock and since they knew we had Heloise....and the Darlin' Man was there to buy feed for the goats....well, you guessed it!
The feed store did not have a box big enough to bring Xander home in, so the Darlin' Man trussed up his feet and plopped him in the passenger seat. He said Xander honked all the way home while watching the world go past in the car window. They stopped at a local gas station/store to pick up a soda for me...the parking lot was crowded, of course. Xander honked at everyone he saw, attracting a lot of attention!
We put Xander in with Heloise, the peafowl and Pender and Ugly Betty.
You can see the reaction to the new roomie here:
Heloise, however, seemed delighted to meet Xander! She honked continously for about 20 minutes. I guess there was a language barrier between her and the peafowl and the chickens!
There is Xander in the foreground and Heloise near the back...with her beak shut! Most pictures I tried to get had her with her beak wide open and her wings flapping.
So...besides all the Yule stuff this weekend, I guess we will have to build a "goose only" pen!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Granola Recipe!

I just made my annual Yule granola. I give it for presents. First batch toasting in the oven and the house smells heavenly!
Small batch recipe:
8 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
(or you can use almonds and pecans)
1 cup golden raisins (or use regular raisins)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix all the above together in a big bowl.
Now, in a saucepan combine the following:
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 cup honey
heat it until everything is melted into a syrup. Stir it well.
Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla, stir in well

NOW, drizzle the syrup over the granola mix in the bowl and stir it well to mix. Spread the granola on buttered cookie sheets and spread mixture out evenly. Put in 325 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally.
Let cool completely. Package in jars or ziplock bags or tins. Will stay good about a month, but will get eaten LONG before the month is over! Eat with milk as a cold cereal, hot milk for a hot cereal, or just munch on it out of the bag!

This makes a lot. I normally make three or four batches this size and package it up for presents.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Morning Rodeo Report...

So, this morning, with an assist from my son, we got Gabby into the milking stand. Apparently, Gabby had forgotten all about the milking stand and now viewed it as an object of terror. She kicked and bleated and just generally refused to cooperate. Finally milked her, leaving a bit for the twins, and returned her to the pen with her babies. The twins flung themselves onto her and began nursing. All are content right now.
I was really surprised the twins and Gabby were so calm last night. Hardly any fussing at all after 9 pm. I think the cold temperatures and the dark may have been our allies. Gerte and Gustav snuggled down in the hay inside their house with Aunt Lily. Lily proved to be a very good babysitter.
Still, the nighttime pen transfer and then the same in the morning will be a pain for the next couple of weeks.
Still in my cookie baking frenzy. My favorite recipes come from the Martha Stewart web site. A pox on all you Martha haters! She has the best recipes for cookies!
Although I am usually a "seat of my pants" type cook, I have found if you follow Martha's cookie recipes as exactly as you can, they ALWAYS come out wonderful!
Today, snickerdoodles and more gingerbread.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baby Pictures...errrr Baby GOAT Pictures!

Okay...maybe I'll post a pic or two of my gorgeous grandson!

But here are pictures of our baby goats. These were taken when they were just a few days old!

Such goat kid cuteness!
Tonight, though, the wee goats are spending their first night away from their mama. They are big enough to start spending less time with mama, and tomorrow morning we start milking Gabby again. After a couple of hours, Mama Gabby stopped bleating for her babies and settled down to sleep back in the maternity pen. Gustav has been yelling for his mama more than Gerte. Aunt Lily is still in the pen with them and she and Gerte have snuggled down in the goat house. Gustav will snuggle for a bit, then wander up to the gate and bleat for his mama. He'll get her back in the morning. I'll feed hay to everyone, put her in the milking stand, milk her and then put her back with her babies. We'll do this for about 3 weeks, and then we'll move Gustav into the boys goat pen and Gerte into the maternity pen, which will eventually be the female non-milking pen.

Okay...more cuteness:
My son Daniel with his son Gideon. Best way to take a nap!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Having a Cool Yule...

Yes, the holiday season is upon us and I have so much to do!
I do almost all of my shopping online OR make gifts myself and ship them out.
My deadline for shipping is this Saturday...EEEP!
I am mailing out cajeta and home made cookies to some relatives, a couple of home made aprons and a quilt.
After Saturday, everything is D-O-N-E as far as distant relatives.
Then the final push for here.
We still don't have a tree up. We have an artificial tree...which I hate, as it is only about 3 feet tall and "pre-decorated". Ugh.
The fella has dragged it around the country in his military career, so I understand he has some sentimental attachment to it. But it is so tiny. And drab. Very drab.
I want a LIVE tree with the piney smell and needles dropping and all the decorations lovingly placed.
The Darlin' Man considers live trees a fire hazard.
Okay, so we compromise...he will let me pick out a new artificial tree on Saturday. I will get a certain amount of decorations (store bought) and then the kids and I will make the rest.
So...Saturday and Sunday will be uber-busy!
I'll try to take some pictures of the home made decorations and the final tree result!
As for The Boy....he apologized to me profusely this morning. He is pulling extra chore duty for the next two weeks. His father had a talk with him and let him know how disappointed he was...not just with him messing up my computer, but about him lying about it afterwards.
The Boy finally did admit it was his idea and he was the one that did all of it. His sister's participation was limited to telling him "That's not a good idea!", but she did nothing to stop him. So, she is doing a little extra duty around here, too.
However, both are looking forward to a cookie making frenzy for the holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Several Hours Later...

My son, bless him, could see I was pretty upset about my computer. He told me to go watch some bad reality t.v. and let him give it a try.
After a few hours of deleting programs, unneeded files The Boy downloaded on my computer, viruses and trojans that The Boy somehow got on my computer, my son shut the whole system down again and was able to reboot. Then he did a system restore (or something like that), literally cleaned my computer and I can now post pictures (I think).
I was able to upload my pictures from this to see if blogger will let me post them!
In the yard
Snow on the cactus
I thought the snow on the straw looked pretty.

Won't be grilling on that anytime soon!

Snow on the tree branches.

So, it looks like my son was able to get my computer back in working order...woo-hoo!

Don't Touch My Stuff!

I am a fairly easy going person...if one of the kids needs a dollar or two for school, I'll tell them to look in my wallet and trust them to only take what they need. So far, so good.
Last night, I went to bed before the kids, as we knew they had a late opening for their school because of the snow. However, I knew the livestock would be bellowing, baa-ing, crowing and clucking for their respective breakfasts around 6 a.m. So, I crashed early, after asking the kids to do after dinner clean-up. They said they would, so I took a shower and crawled into bed around 10 p.m.
I get up this morning, feed the animals and come back in the house, grab my camera and go back outside to take a few pics of the lovely snow.
I come in to upload the pictures and discover the cord that connects to my camera has been pulled out of the port on the computer and tossed on the floor. Then I check my computer and find that someone has tried to download something on my computer and my system is now frozen. I wake up my son and he tells me that The Boy was doing something on the computer when he went to bed. My son shuts down and reboots my computer and everything is working...almost.
My camera will no longer upload and a little message tells me on the computer screen that the computer port that the camera cord goes into has experienced a power surge and will no longer work.
The Boy gets up and I ask him---gently---if he was trying to download something after I went to bed.
Immediately he says "She did it, she said it was okay with you, I didn't have nothing to do with it!!!" ("SHE" being his older sister)  His sister, who overheard this, retorts "He was trying to download an album and make copies". The Boy immediately starts screaming more denials, which I have learned, are a positive indication that he is lying. Also, my son saw him at my computer when he got up to get a drink of water.
So, until this issue is fixed, no more pictures.
I have very few items that I outright own. This computer is one of them. I bought it at one of those rent-to-own places and worked very hard to pay it off. It is several years old...I think I got it in 2004. I have taken good care of it, had memory added about 3 years ago and it has moved all over with me. I love this computer.
When I moved here and set up my computer (so we could have a home phone via MagicJack), I took the kids aside and told them to not touch my computer.
They have a computer to check emails/facebook/youtube/etc on. I told them if they wanted to watch a movie on my computer, to ask me first! My computer has several idiosyncrasies that only I know how to handle.
Don't touch my stuff.
Simple rule.
Apparently not simple enough for The Boy.
So, yes, I am angry beyond belief. The Boy is 16. A young man who should be showing some signs of responsibility and adult reasoning.
I will be asking my Darlin' Man to help me get my computer fixed and I am sure he will.
I don't know what to do about The Boy. This is not his first lie. He lies constantly and then tries to "suck up" when his lies are discovered or to lay the blame on someone else. He attempts to manipulate every adult around him to his advantage. He can be very charming...but I am afraid that is part of the problem. Some adults believe his B.S.
I had kids before. Saw them through their teens. Had a couple that tried to get lies past me...which rarely worked. I was kid once, too!
So...I have some decisions to make before The Boy gets home from school today.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Look What is Going on Here!

Snow on cactus? Check!
Confused goats....
Mom...MOM! What the heck is this white stuff!?
Yes, we have SNOW! Not a normal thing here in El Paso. The newer goats (Nina and Lily) are just turning a year old, so they are VERY confused and a bit distraught. Lily, pictured above, is yelling her head off. I keep telling her to just go in her house and snuggle down, but she's not having it! She wants the white stuff to stop and stop NOW! I think I'll give her a wee bit of extra sweet feed this evening. Maybe with a full tummy she will calm down a bit and get to sleep tonight, poor confused thing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tempermental Pictures

I have been trying and trying to post pictures. No dice. Blogger won't let me or my computer won't let me or something in the universe won't let me.
My computer crashes, and I have to reboot and go through the seven levels of hell to get everything back up.
So, today will be spent dealing with the livestock and trying to straighten out my computer.
Quick update...
Pendar has now been put into the same coop as Heloise, Pericles, Persephone and Ugly Betty.
Pendar is pleased, the peafowl are not concerned, Heloise is mildly annoyed and poor Ugly Betty is exhausted.
I had to put Pendar in there because Andy, the stupidest dog on earth, kept trying to kill him whenever Andy went out in the yard. I hate cooping up Pendar, because he seemed to rather enjoy trotting around the yard.
We have to do something about Andy. He is no good as a herding animal as he thinks he has to kill any animal in the yard. He is good, I suppose, as a guard dog, as long as the person coming in the yard doesn't offer him a milk bone or any other snack...then he acts like they are his best friend! We have to muzzle him every single night because if we don't, he chews up everything he can. Sofa cushions, trash, electrical cords...nothing is safe! Andy has no "spatial awareness". He runs into people, walls, furniture, etc. When I open the back door to go out, he'll lunge for the back door and has knocked me down the steps more than once onto the concrete patio. No broken bones yet, but I think that is only because I learned how to fall when I took martial arts a long, long time ago.
As far as I am concerned, feeding him is a waste of good dog food.
Yes, he can be goofy lovable....but, to me, that is not reason enough to keep him around. We have tried and tried to train him. We had a professional dog trainer friend work with him...and even that guy said he thinks Andy is brain damaged in some way. Andy has learned exactly two things..."shake paws" and "sit" and he only sits about half the time when commanded to.
So, the Darlin' Man and I are doing a last ditch effort to train Andy to live the chickens and goats, etc alone.
We may try a shock collar. I despise those things, really, I do. But Andy has gotten to the point where he is becoming a danger to the livestock.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh! What a Morning!

This morning I had the oh-so-bright idea to move Mama Gabby and her three week old twins Gustav and Gerte to the milking does pen. As that is a smaller pen, it would also necessitate moving Patches over to the New Goat Palace, aka The Maternity Ward.
I thought..."Get a bucket of feed and easy-peasy, Gabby will follow me right over!"
How wrong I was!
Gabby was determined to NOT leave her pen. After 20 minutes of trying to tackle her and also trying to catch one of the twins to lure Gabby out, I realized I needed to change tactics.
O---kay. I'll bring Patches over to the Maternity Pen and then I'll grab Gabby and the twins.
Grabbing Patches was easy. I looped a piece of baling twine around her collar and led her to the Maternity Pen. As soon as she was in, she and Gabby and Champagne started a three way head-butting contest...with me in the middle trying to grab Gabby.
Several bruises later...I grabbed Gabby, looped the baling twine around her collar and led her over to the milking does pen. The twins, enthralled by the head butting contest they were watching had no intention of missing this quality entertainment to follow mama over to the new pen.
So, another 15 minutes trying to catch them! Mama Gabby baaa-ing her head off across the yard, Champagne and Patches in a battle and poor Nina and Lily confused at all of it.
Did I mention that Nina and Lily had escaped from the milking does pen and were cavorting around the yard?
So, I sorta gave up. I opened the Maternity Pen gate and chased ALL the goats out of there...Gustav, Gerte, Champagne and Patches.
The little ones were totally mama in sight and out in the big wide world for the first time. So they were dashing around the yard like the nimble footed speed demons they are, Nina and Lily were cavorting next to the boys pen, Wang started wailing at the does, Champagne and Patches resumed their royal rumble on top of the lumber on the basketball court and I was trying to herd everybody back to where they were supposed to be. It was starting to look hopeless! There was no way I was going to catch those wee kid goats!
But, Mama Gabby began to yell encouragement and soon they were both at the gate of the milking does pen, yelling back at their mama. I picked each up and put them in.
NOW, to handle everyone else!
Lily went back into the milking does pen rather quietly, and a bucket of sweet feed convinced Patches, Champagne and Nina that they wanted to be in the Maternity Pen.
Blogger is not letting me post pictures today, so you'll have to imagine the Keystone Cops like chase scene and then all the goats happy and content in their new pens.
I need a cup of tea and a nap!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

After-effects of Thanksgiving...

Well, I boiled down the turkey carcass and picked the bones clean.
So far, we have had turkey pot pie and turkey-and-rice soup.
I had a lot of soggy skin and some chunks of fat, plus the fat I skimmed off the broth that wouldn't be used in our upcoming, I gave it to the dogs.
An hour after the dogs feast:

Yeah, that turkey thing works on dogs, too!

Friday, November 25, 2011

You Got a What...?

So, the Darlin' Man has today off and decided to run down to the feed store and replenish our chicken scratch, sweet feed and dog food.
He comes home and his daughter runs in yelling "We have a surprise for you! A HUGE surprise!!!"
Now, I don't know about the Darlin' Man around your house, but mine has dreams. BIG dreams. Occasionally, he muses out loud about some of the past 6 months I have heard such things from him as:
"You think it would be hard to milk a giraffe?"
"I hear ostriches can bring a good profit."
"What do you think about raising yaks?"
"You know, we might be able to put a burro to good use here."
While outside I am smiling, inside I am:

So, I was not quite sure what to expect, especially as I headed out the door---and before I got to see the HUGE surprise, the Darlin' Man said "I got a really good deal on it!"
Remember Ugly Betty? The remarkable layer that has never laid an egg? Yeah...that was his last "good deal".

Anyway, he leads me over to the milking does pen where I am greeted by this:
 So my face was more like:

We have a GOOSE! It's a girl and was the last one the feed store had. They don't like feeding them through the winter, so they sell off all the farm critters they can as winter creeps in and will get new chicks, goslings, turkey poults, etc., in the Spring.

We have named her Heloise, but pronounced the French way---where the 'H' is basically silent.
Heloise is tall and elegant and very opinionated.
She does NOT like the dogs. She does NOT like the Darlin' Man. She does NOT like the goats. Putting her in with the chickens or peafowl seemed like a bad idea, so she is in with the milking does for the time being.
Pendar uses that pen as home base as well, but although he tried to court the peahen, getting cozy with Heloise seemed to be the last thing on his mind! Especially after she hissed at him and chased him across the pen!
Heloise is lovely:

In this picture, you can see Pendar's legs as he exits...stage left...
I am not quite sure what we are going to do with her...the Darlin' Man says he got her "as an experiment".
Apparently, the "experiment" is to see if we can handle geese.....we'll see!
Anybody have any advice? Should I expect any eggs with no gander around? What snacks do they like, along with their regular feed?