Saturday, September 29, 2007

Marietta Shetlands Welcomes Moni

Susie: "Who's that?"

Anna D: "What's all the baa'ing about?"

Regina: "Luna - why are you and Jewell out in that pasture by yourselves - you girls come back here this minute"

Gwendolyn: "I can only guess, but you'd never believe what happened to me this morning - to heck with the kids!"

The object of (most of) their questions is Moni. She came to live with us today from Donna & Tom's farm in Alger. She is black but she has several grey/fawn colored spots including her little krunet spot on the top of her head.

She is very well behaved and settled in quickly - her "farm sister" Jewell came to live with us in late summer and I think that they recognized each other. They both have a very distinctive little "Baa-AH-aa" where it goes up at the end- very cute.

Watching a new sheep come into the flock is like watching a marching band gone amuck - but there was no violence only a lot of calling to "Mom" (ok, Luna, it's time to put your big girl pants on and deal with it)
Moni has been to several fairs recently, so I think she just believes she's just at another fair - I guess she'll figure it out in a couple of days...

She figured out the feed bowl anyhow!

Neelix is just glad that those "vishus sheep" are on the other side of the fence!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Too cute not to share

I'm sure that this picture is "copywrited" by someone- it was on my friend Don's web site and it made me laugh & laugh. Hope you get a chuckle out of it too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Long Road Home

We went to Eastern Washington over the weekend to attend the wedding of a family friend. I have LOTS to tell you and show you, but I have to get my church newsletter done first!

So, SOON, I'll tell you about the long road "home".

Monday, September 24, 2007

And what Tarot card are You?

My friend Kathy had one of these on her blog & I thought it would be fun to see what Tarot card I was - I'll have to study this a little...

You are the World

Completion, Good Reward.

The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.

The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; you've done everything right.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

And this is...

a hops plant - commonly used in the making of beer.

It also grows like the dickens and makes a nice shady arbor at the end of the greenhouse

These are resurrection lilies or sometimes called "naked ladies" because the leaves come up and die down, the pop, up comes the flower. I took this picture a couple of years ago down in Oregon - there were huge clumps of them all over this little town. I've planted them in our garden, & I've gotten the leaves, but never the flower stock. Sigh - maybe someday...

We got about 1/3 of an inch of rain this afternoon. It is welcome.
Have a nice weekend

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A new toy, a baby's surprise & a treat for me...

My "Three Beautiful Things" Tuesday has gotten a little off track lately, but I'm still looking for beautiful things all the time -

Did you watch the Emmy awards? I didn't - there aren't very many beautiful things on TV - but one of my favorite actresses - Sally Field got Best Actress in a Drama. She plays the mom in my favorite network TV show, Brother's and Sisters - she has really worked hard over the years - I really liked her in Murphy's Romance with James Garner -it is a sweet romantic film (OK, it's a Chick Flick - with a capital C) And I hope I look that good when I'm 61 - (must be the Boneva - ha, ha)

Anyhow, I digress. Getting back to Three Beautiful Things -

  • Guess What! I found a used drum carder to buy – It’s a good brand – Louet – at a pretty economical price. I’m checking it out tomorrow! This will make it easier for us to process our own fleeces (and to be able to process fun things I’ve found at past Black Sheep Gatherings).
  • Watching the surprised look in the blue eyes of my co-workers new baby as she wakes up in our office (What strange place is this, she thinks…and who are all these people looking at me? What could they want?)
  • Using my Black Angus Restaurant coupon and getting their Cheesy Garlic Bread Steak Sandwich for lunch. I used my time wisely and sat there and wrote stories for future blog posts – just for you. And the sandwich? – it was yummy!

Good Golly, Miss Molly, I missed "Talk Like a Pirate Day"

Aargh, matey, how coulda that happened?

Shiver me timbers (what ever that means...)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How We Got Our Names, by Sinda and Neelix

Mom had to go to the bean eye V-E-T today and she can't see to do anything, so the kitties have commandeered the blog (she just had a regular exam - in fact things looked so good her eye V-E-T said she didn't have to come back for TWO years!)

Our friend Rascal has tagged us for a meme about how we got our names – so here goes.

Sinda: I was born April 21, 1990 to a cat that belonged to a lady that mom used to work with. (My daddy was the Siamese cat across the road – a travelin’ man, so I’ve been told) Anyhow, the one who came before me, Dolores had gone to the Rainbow Bridge a couple of months before and Jaxom, the boy cat that lived with mom at that time was very lonely. So she decided that it was time to get a new kitty. She picked me out on Mother’s Day – but didn’t bring me home for several more weeks until I got big enough to eat on my own. I seem to remember that Sinda became an offshoot of Cinderella – I like it much better. Jaxom and I became very good friends – he went to the Rainbow Bridge in the spring of 1995. I still think of him sometimes and miss him a lot.

Neelix: Mom & dad picked me out at the Humane Society in July 1995. They thought and thought about names for me. One of their favorite TV shows at the time was Star Trek Voyager. Neelix, a member of the crew was a Talaxian, an alien race indigenous to the Delta Quadrant. Neelix (the Talaxian) was a charming yet scraggly scavenger who acted as the ship's mess officer and budding ambassador. The man who played Neelix on the TV show said “Neelix is a loner and a lover. He's manipulative and brave, emotional and silly. You might say he's an alien of many colors...” That, and the fact that he had orange stripes on his head, fit me to a “T” so that is what they decided to call me.

Mr. Neelix, the Talaxian

Mr. Neelix the Cat (notice the ridges on the forehead, also he has pointy ears with fluffs of fur coming out of them that you can't see in this picture so well

So, we're going to mix up our meme tags a little and move across species lines. We also had a couple of farms we were curious about how they got their name, so - for kitties, we tag our pretty friends Brandi and Parker to see how they got their names. We have some sheepie friends, Sven and Ole, who live with their mom Kathy at Sheep Thrills Farm in Arizona and then mom wants to know how Tammy chose the name for her farm back in Missouri.

That's it for today -

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Impressing the Farm-Sitter

There has been a flurry of cleaning goin' on here - we're off to Eastern Washington for a wedding on Saturday, which of course, involves getting someone to feed the sheep & chickens and watch the cats - especially Sinda, who gets kind of anxious when we are gone overnight. At first I couldn't find anyone, then I had three people and settled on a nice young lady who comes with high recommendations from a former neighbor (who had sheep, chickens & cats also) so, she has some experience with "livestock".

So, when Jennifer (the prospective house/farm sitter) called I asked her if she'd like to come over to dinner - that way she could get a feel for the place and spend some time with the sheepies, etc. I was aware that she worked for the local Food Co-op. "Do you eat meat?" I asked (I was planning on having pork chops that night) - "Well, no, I'm pretty much vegitarian, only fish & seafood" -"Ok, I'll come up with something" I said.

Hmmm - no meat - that lets out the pork chops big time - Mexican - maybe - cheese enchiladas - I have this great stash of Hatch Chilies that our friend Kathy from Sheep Thrills Farm in Arizona sent us in July.

Then there is my recipe for Vegitarian Pasticcio. It is a great fall recipe because it uses up some of your fall & summer squashes. Five years ago, our friend Lydia McCauley gave a concert at our church and I promised the band that I would fix them dinner before hand (kind of sweeten the pot, you know) I figured I would just make spaghetti - then I found out that most of them were vegetarian! So, I modified a recipe for an old Greek comfort food that I had made for years from a great Greek Foods cookbook that I bought when I went to Greece in 1972. So here is my recipe for Vegetarian Pasticcio. Hope you enjoy it. (Oh, by the way, I decided to make cheese enchiladas for Jennifer - use come of that Hatch Green enchlilada sauce - yum)


The Filling:
¼ cup olive oil
1 med sweet onion, chopped
½ lb. mushrooms sliced
1 six inch zucchini, sliced & chopped
¼ lb. yellow (Hubbard type) squash, chopped
1 six inch yellow squash, sliced & chopped
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes w/any juice
Herbs to taste – oregano, thyme, garlic salt, salt and pepper

The Sauce:
½ cup butter
salt & pepper
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ tsp nutmeg or cinnamon
4 cups hot milk
1 c grated cheddar cheese
4 eggs, beaten

1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked in salted boiling water
2 cups grated cheddar/mont. jack cheese

For the filling: Heat the oil in a large frying pan, sauté the onions until limp, add the rest of the vegetables and cook over med. heat until crisp tender. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and bring to simmer. Remove from heat.

For the Sauce: Melt butter in heavy sauce pan, add the cornstarch, ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the milk all at once and stir until the sauce is smooth. Beat the eggs and add about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to temper,( stirring like crazy so your eggs don’t scramble). Return the egg mixture to the rest of the milk. Add the cheese at this time as well.

Butter two 10 x 14 x 3 (lasagna size) pans. put ¼ of macaroni in bottom of each. sprinkle each with half the cheese and cover with half the filling. Top with the remaining macaroni and cover with the sauce. If you have any cheese left, sprinkle over the top. Cook in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Leave for about 20 min. to “set” then serve (traditionally cut into square pieces) Serves 16

Friday, September 14, 2007

Busy days and nights

Holy cow this has been a busy week - I keep looking to see if someone (like that someone would be me...) has done a new post on my blog and it just never happened. Part of the reason was reading Nora Robert's new book "High Noon" - I like her female characters, they generally have "spunk" - for lack of a better term. When I read, I have a hard time putting a good book down - like a little kid "Just a few more minutes, mom, Pulleeeaase"

Last night we had tickets to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Mt. Baker Theater. It was a fun concert - we saw them last year as well - the intertwined harmony and the dancing is incredible to hear and watch. If you get a chance, be sure to go see them.

This picture is from their web site (click on their name and it will transport you to their site). The leader is in his late sixty's and he can still kick his foot up above his head! (singing & dancing at the same time!)

The weather this week has been incredible too - probably some of the nicest that we've had this summer - those absolutely quintessential perfect 70 degree days (but with cool evenings - I even put our blanket back on the bed this week!) When I got home from work yesterday, a chickadee was sitting in the tree over me - Chick-a-dee-dee-dee - It sounded so happy! I'm sure that the finches have found The Shepherd's sunflower patch by now -

Neelix has had a pretty good mad on about being taken to the V-E-T last Saturday. Generally he'll just sulk for a day or two, but he still will barely have any thing to do with me. I've been trying to get him to come in at night since it has been so chilly - I know, he's just a cat, but dang it, he's a cat I just spent $80 on at the vet and I'd rather not have him come down with some kind of fungus-amoungus because he's being stubborn. He's sleeping on the back porch tonight - maybe we're getting closer to reconciliation...

It was payday at work - when I first started to work for this company, (14 years ago) I did payroll for about 15 people - it just took me a couple of hours - (and I had a payroll system that I loved). Now we have 45 people and it takes the better part of two days (and I have a payroll system that I hate). That's progress for ya! Heck, it takes almost 1/2 hour to sign the checks and stuff them into envelopes. My new favorite question for people is going to be "What part of 'Paychecks will be ready at 4:30' don't you understand?" Sheesh.

Well, that was my week - I'll do a walk-about in the garden tomorrow and show you some of the new things that John has been planting.

And look what he got last weekend -

"Let me out!" it says - I'll see if I can find it in the pond tomorrow.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What a difference a year makes -

This is Gwendolyn last September - getting some hay while the getting is good - I mean, while the big girls are outside -

And the one on the right - that is Gwennie last month - click on the picture & it will biggify - check out her pretty face and horns.

And, with the magic that is Shetland, she is now grey but she still has those skinny black legs.

Hopefully Scooter will think she's pretty too - we're at about 45 days and counting to set up the breeding groups...

Yes, you are very handsome.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Well, I did it again...

You may remember my recent "old biddy tyrade" ~ Well, I did it again - this time on the radio!

One of our local radio stations is a (pretty conservative) talk radio station - they have several local shows throughout the day and they play Rush, Bill O'Neal, and my my favorite consumer champion, Clark Howard. But they also have a Liberal Talk Show - "From the Other Side" at 6:00 in the evening. As that is generally when I'm on my way home from work, I listen frequently - last night he had a fellow called "Andrew Lopez, The Invisible Gardener" - all about organic gardening and natural pest control - He was kind of an interesting fellow, but I about died when a guy called in about the fact that he had found rats around his house - specifically the one he had caught under a bucket. Now, this well meaning caller didn't want to hurt the rats, he just wanted them out of his yard. (I'm thinking to myself, Is this guy out of this mind? - Kill the little rodents!)

Now, Mr. Lopez did have some good ideas about using essential oils (specifically cinammon & lavendar - aparently rats don't like those smells - we'll have to try that) but then when the caller asked what he should do with the one he had caught already Lopez told him to "take it out to the country and let it go" ! "H - O - L - Y Cow," I say to myself, "What is this guy thinking?" And of course, I couldn't remember the station's phone number and by that time I was home anyhow, so I just headed in the house. But here is the email that I sent to that talk show host this a.m.:

"Hey Joe -
I take exception with yesterday's guest telling people to catch the rats in their yard and take them out to the country. What had this guy been smokin?

#1 - If your caller was able to catch a rat with a bucket, that rat was probably either sick or had been poisoned - do you know how fast a healthy rat can move -you're not going to be able to catch it by plopping a bucket over the top of it. The guy should have whacked it with a shovel or something - (what happens when he gets it in his car and it gets loose from the box he would have put it in - the guy gets excited and drives off Marine Drive?)

#2 - I don't want people from the city thinking that they can catch these little critters and drop them off at our farm out in the county - People already think they can do this with cats - I'm sorry, I don't want their cats either.

Just my two cents worth. Tina T-P (who lives in the county ,where we dispose of our rodents responsibly) "

I got a very nice email back from Joe saying he thought I'd made some great points, and TA DA - he read my email on his show this afternoon. What a way to waste your 15 minutes of fame - ha, ha, ha.

Neelix says "Don't worry mom, I'll keep those rattys away from here!"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Three Beautiful Things about Today

I took the fur-kids to the V-E-T today. I try to make 8:00 appointments so we don't have to wait a long time. I have been taking my animals to this particular vet hospital for about 32 years now. Dr. Max Perry's son Todd has followed him into the practice and they have a lady vet also. Today we saw "Dr. Todd" - he really truly seems to like his job - he has operated on both Neelix and Sinda over the years - Neelix for abcesses and Sinda when "someone" in the neighborhood shot her with a BB gun!! He seemed impressed that at 17 she still looks so good. I try to take good care of my baby girl...

  • Getting up early is not my favorite thing to do, but by the time I had my shower and was starting to get dressed, The Shepherd had both kitties in their PTU (I think that stands for "Prisoner Transport Unit") and stashed in the back of the car. That was good, because they always seem to know when I want to put them in the PTUs, but I don't think they suspected The Shepherd at all. Plus he had a heavy coat and gloves on, so no damage to the hands.

  • At 17, Sinda weighs 8-9# - she hasn't lost any weight in the last year. That is a good thing. She's been drinking a lot of water, which we've been keeping an eye on for the last year or so. (signals kidney trouble) But she is staying hydrated and is otherwise healthy. Neelix is 12 (we got him just after the 4th of July in 1995) He actually has lost about 4# (from 17 down to 13#) - that is probably a good thing. We got Rabies & FLV shots, worming pills and that flea stuff put on the back of our necks - and basically a "good bill of health" proclamation.

  • After they were transported back home and I was ready to head into work, I called my assistant - "Do we need anything?" I asked - "No, not really", she said. "How about McD's ?" - she jumped right on that one - so I picked up a little mid morning snack for us. Yum - and after all that heavy lifting, as the ads say "I'm lovin it" -

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Won't you come over for tea?

When I was a little girl. and if I had been very good, my mom would let me unpack my older sister's China tea party set. I think the little tea pot held all of 8 or 10 ounces, and the little cups held probably 3 or 4 tablespoons. Mom would make a "pot" of tea and we would put milk in the little creamer and sugar in the little sugar pot and Nance & I would have a tea party. I'm not sure what happened to that little set and to tell you the truth, I remember that it was very sweet, but I don't remember a whole lot about how it was decorated, but I do know that it made me feel very grown up to get to use it. I hope that one of my older sisters have it tucked away safe someplace.

The other "tea parties" that I remember were the ones my mom used to have with a neighbor lady and two other friends -they may not have always agreed on religion or politics, but they were farm wives and that tied them together. They would alternate whose house they would visit (I'll never forget that when ever she went over to our neighbor Dorothy's home, mom would take a gallon of water to make tea - they got their water from an alkalai spring - it made great coffee, but wretched tea)

I think of those tea parties now as I sit down to the computer to "visit" my blogger friends - the ones I have listed in my side bar like Kathy, Michelle or Leigh. Kathy & Michelle are both shepherds and spinner/knitter types - we talk about our sheep and they encourage me with my fledgling spinning attempts, and Leigh - such a very talented lady, who also shares my love of cats. I forget sometimes when I'm reading her blogs about Rascal or his sister Little CatZee that she is the "voice" behind the kitty - their stories are so much fun.

But those are just a few of the friends who I visit on a regular basis - I love to visit Maggie in Victoria, B.C. to see what is happening in her garden and around the city. She is a very accomplished photographer and I have learned a lot by seeing how she frames her pictures and the different things that she takes pictures of to show texture or lines. Sharon in Nevada is also very talented "fiber person" and she has a little farm where the darndest things happen. In all I probably have about 20 blogs that I visit on a regular basis - one of these days I'll update my link list - (and of course there are all the cat blogs I visit - what a bunch of characters.) In the evening, I'll make a cup of tea or cocoa - or a tall glass of ice tea on a hot afternoon - and have a "chat" just like my mom used to do with her friends.

Well, it's late (tomorrow already, actually). The holiday has me all off schedule, so I'll have to think of my Three Beautiful Things for Tuesday during the day and post them tomorrow night - but you know what? Before I go, I'm going to give you my recipe for "Star Wars Cookies" (made with Dark Chocolate M&M's - ie. Come over to the DARK side, Luke)

Makes 4-6 dozen (depending upon what size cookie scoop you use)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream in a large bowl:
1 cup room temperature butter (yes, real butter - what can I say)
1 cup brown sugar (you can use Dark brown sugar for a more rich taste)
1 cup granulated (white) sugar

Add and beat 1 minute:
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Add and beat one more minute:
2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Mix in with a wooden spoon OR I use the dough hooks on my hand mixer - dough will be very stiff:
1 12 oz bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large bag (12 oz?) bag of dark chocolate M&M's
1 cup dried tart cherries (chop these up (a little flour will keep them from sticking to your knife) if they are really big ones)
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
I don't use nuts because The Shepherd doesn't like them in his cookies - but a cup of toasted chopped almonds or chopped walnuts could also be added at this time

I use stoneware baking sheets - I haven't burned a batch of cookies since I started using them. (they might get a little crunchy, but they don't burn on the bottom - quite amazing really)

If you are using a regular cookie sheet you might want to use a SilPat sheet or a teflon cookie sheet so you don't have to grease the pan. Drop by spoonfuls or use a medium cookie scoop. That way all your cookies are the same size and bake uniformly. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes or until golden brown (I find my oven takes 15 or 16 minutes on the first few sheets) Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack. Enjoy with a cup of tea and a visit with a good friend.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Somedays you're the bug...

Our "fur kids" are Indoor-Outdoor kitties. They have a cat door and use it anytime night or day - It used to be magnetically operated, but after Neelix disappeared for a week about 4 years ago, I could never get him to wear a collar again, and Sinda is the mistress of escape when it comes to wearing a colar - so, they pretty much have freedom to come and go as they please, and they go out at night, which worries me, but after 17 yhears, what can you do? And our place is fenced and the gate is closed at night, so we don't have to worry too much about dogs or coyotes getting them .

Early on, I tried locking them in only to have Neelix tear the plastic frame and cover off the mechanism that ran the magnet - so it stays open (unless it freezes shut in a snow storm - not likely to happen this time of the year...)

Well, last night, our little girl got "mugged" - I'm not sure if it was the new cat next door, or if it was Neelix. (the two of them have been known to have a few knock down-drag out fights in their time.) The fight woke The Shepherd up from his sleep so much that he came out, rambling about a cat fight, and opened the back door to call her - he went back to bed, and she didn't come back in the house for about 5 or 10 minutes. When she came in, I could tell that she was in a little bit of distress, she was covered in dirt, but there wasn't any blood or anything - just walking like an 80 year old lady who had been mugged - with a pitiful meow if I touched her.

I did pick her up and make sure that she didn't have any lacerations - and kind of "pushed & prodded" a little - with no screaming on her part - she did have some water before I went to bed about 1/2 hour later and spend the rest of the night being "velcro kitty" - snuggling up as close to me in bed as she could.

The good news is that today at one point or another, she has had water, "stinky goodness" (that's cat speak for "canned food"), crunchies, she has peed and pooped, and by this evening she was looking a lot more chipper and moving around a little bit better. Yesterday when I picked up their flea medicine, I made an appointment for this Thursday a.m. with the V-E-T for vaccinations, etc. so I'll have the good Dr. give her a more thorough going over than I would have had ordinarily, but I think she's going to be OK.