Sometimes things take planning and other times they just come together. I am sort of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl so planning, orderliness and organization really isn’t in my skill set. But I do try and accomplish a variety of things everyday, at least on the days when I am feeling bouncy-happy-almost-painfree. I milk my cow daily and that sort of sets a precedent for a bunch of other chores I have...such as processing the milk, skimming off the heavy cream to use in sour cream, whipped cream and other products or yummy heart attack on a plate sauces. (My alfredo sauce is literally to die for) Actually, it’s just not so that my whole milk is not good for you. It does pack a lot of calories drinking it this way tho. I digress. Sometimes I have little visitors that help with the milking chores.
With normally just me and the Randyman to consume, I have a LOT of excess milk. Em gives me 2-3 gallons a day on once a day milking. So some of it goes to making mozzarella, cream cheese, ice creams, ricotta, hard cheeses, etc. For someone who has never liked domestic type work, or cooking, I find that making our meals from scratch to be a lot of fun. I also hate running to the store for ingredients so it makes sense to me, to have the basic elements on hand to make whatever we need. One of these things is a grain mill and another is a pasta roller. Now a pasta roller would have been a TON of fun when my kids were little.
I had a hankering for lasagna. I had plenty of mozzarella and I also had ricotta that Is made from the leftover whey in making mozzarella. I went down the list of ingredients and lo and behold, I had all we needed, if I was just willing to take a little more time putting it together.
First off I needed meat, so grabbed some of the ranch beef out of the freezer and a bit of italian sausage I had made earlier from ground pork butt. (the pork butt was from the store). With the tomatoes I canned, I tossed all the stuff I needed to make the sauce into the pan. Meanwhile I grabbed some fresh eggs, the ricotta, parsley I had dried over the summer out of the garden and the cheese filling was ready to go.
I then grabbed a couple more eggs (warm them to room temp) and mixed them with a cup of freshly milled soft whole wheat flour to make my pasta. After it rested a bit, I ran It thru the pasta roller a few times, cut it to lengths I liked and hung it to dry for an hour. I then assembled the lasagna, put it in the oven to bake and stood with bated breath while Randyman tasted it. He went back for more so many times, half of the 9x13 casserole dish was empty! He made sure to ask me to make that dish again...and again...and again. It was a bit labor intensive but it was worth it.
Ain’t nuthin’ like the real thing, baby!
Meantime, drastic weather changes which affected me, I suspect they also affected my old Golden Retriever, Cider. I came in from milking to find Cider by the door, unable to rise. I thought maybe he'd had a seizure or injured himself. I petted him carefully and gave him some time to relax as he was very rigid. He's been getting skin tags and knots and I was worried about cancer as well. He's going gray and not able to catch just anything we throw like he used to. It's hard to see him slowing down.
Cider was a gift from my son and a friend one Christmas. He's been my constant companion and personal jester. He has helped bring laughter out of my tears through some very sorrowful times. He's just that kind of a guy.
He is also a champion babysitter to all things cute and small...
He's really quite simply, irresistible.
I was really concerned about him, and frankly, both Randyman and myself were afraid we would wake up in the morning to find him 'gone'. I had laid him down behind the chair I sleep in a lot. Next morning, I steeled myself for what I might find and when I arose, I turned to find an empty space where he had been. Assuming he had passed away and Randy had gone to bury him so I didn't have to see him that way, I burst into tears. I headed into the bathroom only to find Cider asleep on the papasan chair pillow Randy had put on the floor for him. I guess he had managed to get up in the middle of the night and stood by the bed for over an hour until Randy finally realized he needed help.
He spent a miserable night, in pain, unable to rise or lay down by himself. I filled him full of Rimadyl, a canine painkiller/anti inflammatory and we hauled him 2 hours to the vet the following day. She verified he had indeed had a stroke, but he was improving rapidly. The hours of rigidity threw his back out which caused all his major problems so he is on seizure watch and medications and doing really well. He's back to his old self already. Hopefully we will still have a couple of years before I have to say goodbye to him, my best of friends.
While in the booming metropolis of Burns, Oregon, which is so large, it even has a Dairy Queen, we went by the farm store to buy him a new toy. We also found turkey poults. So Cider got a new squeaky toy and the Maremmas got baby turkeys. I love happy endings. Don't you?