It’s Been Awhile…

     It’s been awhile since I last posted.  Mostly because I have been busy, and mostly because there have been technical issues.  You see, I have a dinasour of a laptop.  So ancient you can see the dust floating up out of the keys when being pressed.  So ancient the internet does not even support the operating system.  So ancient I spend more time looking at the colorful spinning wheel instead of actually achieving completed work.  So. Stinkin. Ancient…..that it cannot even be turned on without having the power cord connected.  

     I have been trying to upload pictures with no luck, or I have to individually load them.  Who has the time for that?!  Between chores, Spring farm work and the overall daily routine, I do not have that sort of time.  So for now I have a temporary fix of purchasing a bluetooth keyoard for my iPad Mini and trying to wirelessly sync up my camera to upload pictures.

     So things will be slow for awhile.  If I am going to invest the money into a new computer system then I am also going to invest in the time to research what is the best system for me and my future goals.  Thank you for being patient and thank you for sticking with me!

Cheers! 

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It’s Been Awhile…

Sequoia & Kings Canyon

For Valentine’s Day the Husband and I went up into Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks for some hiking.  A day of peace, adventure, rejuvenation and appreciation through our eyes, souls and the truthful words of John Muir.

DSC_0256“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

DSC_0262“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

DSC_0277“The big tree…..lives on through indefinite thousands of years until burned, blown down, undermined, or shattered by some tremendous lightning stroke.” -1901

DSC_0279“I never saw a discontented tree.  They gripped the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.”

DSC_0289“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship.  But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.”

DSC_0305“Few places in this world are more dangerous than home.  Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes.  They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.”

DSC_0314  “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

DSC_0331“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

DSC_0351“Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own.  Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.”

DSC_0359“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!”

DSC_0386“We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look it.  For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.” -Wallace Stegner, 1960 (This was too good not to include.)

DSC_0416“No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty.  Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening – still all is Beauty!”

DSC_0438“Keep close to Nature’s heart…. and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.  Wash your spirit clean.”

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“One may as well dam for water tanks the people’s cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man.”

DSC_0455“Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where.  Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars.  This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.”

DSC_0459“One can make a day of any size.”

DSC_0490“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods.  But he cannot save them from fools.”

DSC_0497“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”

DSC_0499“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”

DSC_0514“The sun shines not on us but in us.  The rivers flow not past, but through us.  Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.  The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”

Cheers!

*All quotes are by John Muir unless otherwise stated.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon

Farm Drama

This is my egg collection from the weekend.  Notice anything??

DSC_0522We had some farm drama/gossip/discoveries over the weekend.  Those 3 larger eggs you see in the picture are actually Turkey eggs.

Tom the turkey is actually a lady…..Mind Blown!

For months we assumed Tom was a male.  But then we began to notice he wasn’t strutting, wasn’t growing the tail fan (the long colorful tail feathers), didn’t have snood (the flap of skin that grows from the base of the turkey’s beak and hangs over the beak), didn’t have a beard (feathers that grow out from the chest) and didn’t have spurs (spikes which grow just above the feet).

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Friday morning I went out to begin my yard work for the day, looking down I find this very large, speckled egg…..our suspecions had been confirmed.

I instantly went to the internet.  Googling everything I could about female and male turkeys.  Here is what I have found….

Tom (which the Husband calls Thomasina now) is a Female Bronze Heritage Turkey.

Their laying “season” is from March through early August.  Since we are having an unusually warm winter in California this year -79 degrees today- Tom began laying early.

Bronze Heritage Turkey’s lay 2-3 eggs per week.

They make excellent Mommas if you have a male to breed with.

Poor Tom hasn’t quite got the hang of laying yet.  We have found 4 eggs so far with the most recent being this morning in the coop right where she sleeps.  I think it just popped out.  She hasn’t made herself a nest yet which actually would be the best thing for everyone.  When turkeys make a nest, they return there every time they lay.  Consistancy for her and I.  She’ll get there…..eventually.

I then did research on eating turkey eggs.  Yes!  You can!  We ate our first one this morning with breakfast.  Delish.  They are twice the size of a normal chicken egg and even richer in flavor.  I also found we do not eat turkey eggs here in America because they are expensive.  Turkeys require up to 3 times the amount of space as chickens do, they only lay seasonally, they eat A TON and their meat is more valuable then their eggs.  Farmers who do choose to raise turkeys for their eggs get $2-3 dollars AN EGG!  Try buying a dozen of those at $28 bucks!

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 The farm drama/gossip/discoveries have calmed down over the past couple days.

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Finding turkey eggs in random places is still weird, but I’ll get used to it and my sweet little Tom is now a little sweeter 🙂

Cheers!

Farm Drama

Yesterday Through Pictures

With living out in the country there are certain luxuries which are sacrificed in order to have the lifestyle you want.  When we moved out here, we collectively decided to not have cable and chose to be outside more.  One thing we had no choice on was internet.  We can only get satellite internet at only 10GB a month.  Complete eye opener when you are used to having unlimited.  Besides the obvious downside to this, I have to monitor when I post to the blog because uploading photos uses a lot of GB.

So when I couldn’t sleep at 3:30 this morning (and the fact we get an extra 10GB between 2:00am and 8:00am everyday), I uploaded all the pictures I took of my adventures yesterday.

So here it is, Yesterday Through Pictures.

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You can barely make out Bentley’s tail in the tall Oat grass.

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Sweet Duncan

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It was between 70 and 75 degrees yesterday, so Bogey had to lay in the mud to cool off.

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Everything is beginning to bloom due to the warm winter we are having.

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BarnesCountry

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The boys and I moved some alfalfa up to our barn from the neighbors.  I moved Duncan into our back pasture to graze down the grass.

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Happy Fluffy Butt Friday Folks!

Cheers!

Yesterday Through Pictures

Castration

Last Friday I experienced my first Equine castration, Dr. Pol style, only in person.  Now, I know this isn’t a cup of tea for some of you, but I found it fasinating.  The whole process amazes me, from the initial injection of the anesthetic to the last cut of the castration.

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My neighbor took Bullseye, her 3 year old Paint Stallion in to one of our local vets to have the procedure performed.  Over the last year they have slowly been breaking him to ride (actually her 82 year old father did it, impressive I know) and in a few weeks she will be sending Bullseye to her brother down south to finish his training.  As sweet and gentle as Bullseye is, he is still very strong, and when a Mare comes around or goes into heat……well, you can imagine what happens.

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I asked her if I could come along and of course I had to bring my camera to document the whole process.  The following pictures show everything, so if you can not handle seeing horse testicles, don’t look.

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The first step was to do the initial anesthesia.  This has to be injected into a main blood vein in the neck.  A disenfectant wipe was used in the general area where the Vet inserted the needle.  Before injecting the drug, he pulled on the syringe to draw blood through the needle to make sure he entered the vein, then injected the drug.

DSC_0081Second, the Vet gave Bullseye a shot to prevent Tetanus.

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 The next step was to give a large dose of Penicillian to prevent infection where the incision will be made.

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The Vet then administered the last dose of anesthetic. All we had to do was wait……

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and wait…..

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and wait…..

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After Bullseye went down, the Vet secured one leg so he could have access to the testicles.  He also placed a rag under his head and over his eyes to keep him calm and to protect his bottom eye from the grass.

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Iodine was put on the testicles and surrounding area and was then washed to steralize before an incision was made.

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An incision was made on the testicle sack skin and then the first testicle was removed.  The Vet placed a clamp far down on the main artery (you could actually hear the “squish” sound) where it both severed and cauterized.

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And the first testicle has been removed! (And after the Vet removed it he just tossed it aside at Bullseye’s head, no big deal, it’s just one of his balls.)

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The Vet then performed the same procedure for the other testicle.  (Which again was tossed aside nonchalantly.  There was also a few comments made about need a dog or taking them home for the dog.  Yes, you know what I mean.)

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Extra skin was then removed so Bullseye would not have an empty sack just hanging around.

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The incision was left open to heal naturally.  The Vet cleaned up his equipment and untied Bullseye’s leg.

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I guess there is an old theory/saying/old wives tale of placing the testicles at the nose so he can smell what he is leaving behind 🙂

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All there was left to do was to wait for Bullseye to wake up.

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With a little less goods then when we started.

Cheers!

Castration

In The Works

At any given point, I have multiple projects I am working on at one time.  It is motivating, encouraging and fulfilling.  A deep satisfaction occurs within my soul knowing I have created a tangible item with my hands.  To be able to say “I made that” is joyful, and sharing that joy with others is something far greater.

I am currently working on 3 different projects.

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This firs one is a very special project.  One I do not want to give to much information on.  But I promise I will give you the finished project with the pattern.  The colors of this yarn is gorgeous and fit the specific colorway I was looking for.  It is 100% Superwash Merino and hand dyed by Spun Right Round Yarn & Fiber Co.  I usually try not to purchase Superwash Merino because of the methods they use during the “washing” process and I am trying to live a more fiber concious lifestyle. I first learned about the process when reading this Woolful Blog Post and it really opened my eyes.  But that is for a later post.  I will post the finished product when done!

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This second project has been an on-going process.  When I first taught myself to knit 3 years ago, I figured knitting a sweater would be the best project to take on as a newbie.  Ha!  I got this far and have yet to pick it up again until now.  I found this pattern on The Purl Bee and it is called The Short Row Sweater.  If you have never had a look at The Purl Bee please take the time to do so.  It is a great place to find easy to advanced patterns for Knitting, Crochet and Sewing and they have loads of free tutorials.

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This last project is for a sweet friend’s Mother-in-law.  She was kind enough to GIVE me all of the yarn and fabic I could handle from her Mother (she started the blanket) who fell ill and then passed on.  So I am finishing it as part of a thank you for all of the wonderful goodies.

I will keep you posted on the finished products.

Cheers!

In The Works

A Squirl & My Day Through Pictures

Before I begin to tell this story, I would like to give a little background information.

I have Labradors, 2 to be precise.  An English chocolate and an American black.  Burkley, the chocolate, has been with us since he was 6 1/2 weeks old.  I purchased him from a reputable breeder the next city over and comes from a distinct hunting line (he still has his man dog parts for breeding….hint hint).  Since we brought him home, we have been working with him, training him for one specific purpose, to be a hunting dog.  I poured over books, checked out several from the library and used them all to train Burkley.  I spent many weeks doing the ground work with him.  Sit, heel, stay, heel, fetch, heel, force fetch, heel, don’t eat the bird, heel, release, heel.  And then 2 weeks in Oregon sealed his hunting fate.  At 4 months old I trained him with a shotgun.  He never showed fear, never winced, just sat there, looking at me.  We were golden.  It was then my husband’s turn to take the lead and finish his training.  Fieldwork.  It took a few times, but he obeyed his commands and found doves shot down several hundred yards away.  The husband was happy, Phil Robertson style.  Deeply satisfied with the hunter/companion bond which had occurred.

Our other lab is Bogey.  Bogey was a rescue and was brought home Memorial weekend of 2013.  My Uncle, who lives in Oregon, called one day and asked if we were interested in another dog.  One that was trained, born in a hunting kennel and papered.  We thought, score, a second hunting dog without all the work!  We drove to Oregon, picked up the dog (who’s name was originally Gator, I agree, Bogey is better), shot a round of sporting clays, then drove home.  Good grief were we fooled.  Sure, Bogey was trained.  He obeyed standard commands, has the nose of a drug sniffing dog, retrieved with precision and was loving.  Little did we know he had been abused by previous owners (we found this out later), which led to him being afraid of guns and he ate whatever he retrieved.  Two qualities you do not want in a gun dog.  So, he is now just our pet, who plays ball and likes warm hugs.

All of this information has a purpose in this story, I promise.  Stick with me.

I was walking back from my neighbor’s house earlier today where I had brushed down my faithful steed, Duncan and braided his tail, all dogs in tow.  This included Bentley the Beagle.  After coming through the gate in the fence and walking up the driveway, the dogs spotted a grey squirrel under the truck.  “Grey squirrel, grey squirrel, come in grey squirrel.”  They then proceeded to chase this squirrel.  Around the front yard, back under the truck, breaking a solar light in the process and then cornered it on the porch by the front door.  This is where the back story comes in. Chasing and retrieving animals is in their nature, it is bread into their soul and bones, so I really couldn’t blame them for doing what they are trained to do.

During the scuffle I am not sure who got what part of the squirrel.  Bogey emerged with the whole squirrel in his mouth and Burkley had fur all over his.  He brought me the squirrel with victory in his eyes.  “Look Mom, look what I caught!”  I’m thinking, disease, poor squirrel, get that out of your mouth, disease, maybe it is still alive, disease.

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It turned out the squirrel was still alive, but clearly in shock.  I got it to shift where it was evident it’s little back had been broken.  It’s back legs wouldn’t move as it tried to drag itself to safety.  My heart broke, the poor little thing was suffering and I knew I had to finish the job.  I couldn’t bring myself to use the shovel, which the husband suggested I use, so I went and got the shotgun.  I felt that a quick, somewhat clean death would be the best way for this small creature.  I had to put the dogs in the house, they still would not leave this animal alone.  I loaded a shell into my Beretta, took aim and fired.  As soon as I pulled the trigger, the squirrel moved, or it could have been my nerves I’m not sure.  The shot rang out and it hit the squirrel in the back end.  It was still attempting to run off and I am sure now it could not feel the wound.  Quickly I loaded the second shell and fired, hitting it in the head.

The first thing that came to mind after ending this animal’s life, was a quote by Miss Kay, “Squirrel brains make you smart”, she says.  I am not sure how smart this made me.  I got a shovel, put the squirrel in a bag and threw it in the trash.

Living out in the country means seeing and dealing with death, but that doesn’t mean it ever gets easier.  I have had several animals die and more often then not I find dead, decaying animals around the property.  I handle it, and life moves forward.

On a happier note, I want to show you the rest of my day through pictures.  I originally saw this on the Juniper Moon Farm blog. Instead of writing lengthy blog post about her day on the farm, Susan would show her day through pictures.  If you ever get a chance to check out her blog and website, you should.  She has an amazing story of fiber and farming life in Virginia.  One I for sure and envious of and hope to achieve one day.

I would like to begin a similar project of explaining my days through pictures.  Pictures capture something different then what you can describe in words, a glimpse into the deeper soul of the homestead.  And with that, here is my day through pictures.

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Cheers!

A Squirl & My Day Through Pictures