Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Feathers and Strokes









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...



 Little spuds



















Orphaned newborns




Big....



and small....


He's usually pretty relaxed and laid back...






















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?





24 comments:

  1. Oh, so glad he is better. He is gorgeous. How old is he? That is the problem with animals, especially dogs, they steal your heart and don't give it back.

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    1. Thanks Catherine. Cider is 12 now, but being a Golden, he's still at that 2 year old puppy stage :)

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  2. I love happy endings!
    Hope that you get more time to spend loving on Cider - he's obviously another quality animal - you're surrounded by them :-)

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    1. I am absolutely surrounded by them, and treasure every moment!

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  3. Love all those pics. So adorable. saying a prayer down here in the willamette valley for your sweet 4 legged baby.

    erika

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    1. Thank you erika. It's nice to meet you and thanks from the SE corner!

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  4. Oh Thank Goodness Cider is O.K. (Please Cider continue to recover and give everyone the joy of your being for awhile longer.)I too love a happy ending.
    The lasagna looks heavenly. Guess Randy thought so too! YUM.
    big hugs to all, especially Cider. :)

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    1. He's made a remarkable recovery. I'm so glad to have him with me awhile longer

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  5. Oh, so glad you didn't have to deal with the inevitable right now. I have an old lab on seizure meds and Rimadyl, too. Not looking forward to saying goodbye to him, either. Was just saying yesterday that I wish I could freeze time for him. He's just perfect.
    Awesome job on the lasagna! Pretty cool that you could have everything you need. Besides, you know it was much better than anything that you could've bought!
    Nice pics. Thanks for sharing.
    ~~Lori

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    1. I've never been good at saying goodbye. I hope your guy is able to buy time as well. They are so special

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  6. So glad to hear that Cider is doing much better... and glad that your feeling better also...

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  7. Sharing my life with two 'oldsters', I always hold my breath when something goes wrong. I'm so glad he made a recovery - they are the best friends ever, and so hard to say goodbye to.

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    1. It is so hard.to.even.think.about...

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  8. Animals bring such joy to our lives and they leave us too fast. I'm really glad you have more time with Cider.

    Your lasagna looks awesome! I just bought a book on amazon on how to make pasta. I bought a pasta machine a year ago and I have semolina flour but I still haven't made any! Maybe this recipe book will give me the kick in the pants that I need! Since you only go to the store every few months what do you do about fresh produce?

    It sounds like Burns is growing. My oldest sister-in-law used to live there and we visited 20 years ago. There wasn't much of anything there then.

    On a side note. My husband had surgery on Friday and as we were driving to the surgery center he tells me "I really like that new soap you're buying. The homemade looking stuff. It makes me smell like a cinnamon roll"! I hope you have a good, pain free day!

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    1. We have a garden in the summer, I 'can' lettuce so it lasts a bit over a month, and we eat frozen veggies.
      There still isn't anything in Burns. I went to safeway there once and they had no lettuce or green onions. We drive into Nampa/Boise to do all our shopping.
      I'm glad you husband likes the soap, I hope he is recovering well from his surgery!
      I highly recommend trying homemade pasta. It is ridiculously easy to make. The hardest part it setting it somewhere to dry out.

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  9. Oh Petey, I was so afraid you were leading up to telling us that Cider had crossed the Rainbow Bridge and I was holding my breath! I am so relieved that he is so much better! He is a beautiful dog and I know what it is treasure a pet. I love your pictures and your writing. I envy your lifestyle also! I grew up on a working farm and it is the best life ever. (((hugs)))) from Texas.
    Ginny

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    1. Thanks Ginny. I know I can't have him forever, but am very grateful for this reprieve

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  10. Glad cider is recovering well. Having a 12 year old black lab, I know too well that feeling of "what am I going to find" when I wake up or come home. I'm glad you were pleasantly surprised, even though you had to take him to the vet. I am sure he loved the idea of getting a new toy while you were out. A waggin tail is all we need for payback isn't it? Be blessed, Staci

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    1. He collects toys, so it was a BIG deal to him. He is also the only dog I have ever owned who loves vets.

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  11. I'm glad to hear that Cider is doing better! What a sweet boy! :)
    That lasagna looks awesome and you are right, there's nuthin' like made from scratch!!

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    1. I have to admit I was pretty happy with it :)

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  12. I'm glad too that your Cider will be with you longer. And it's nice of you to share him with us.
    Love the pic of Emma the laughing cow, or is she singing? And her attendant is pretty cute too.
    I gained 3 pounds just looking at your lasagna, you'd have to roll me out the door if I actually ate it! I'm so impressed with your ingredients, that you had a real presence in the creation of it all. You should be very proud of that!
    Kristi

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    1. Cider is doing fantastic. I am so grateful! Em and her mama were both 'singers'...I'm pretty sure if we did a genealogy they'd be related to Dolly Parton in there somewhere. The lasagna was awfully good. It's a pretty good feeling to know I did it all. I don't imagine folks in the past quite appreciated what they did or what they had at the time.

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