Sunday, July 28, 2013

Petey's Most Awesome, Pretty Good Day





The freezers are full. In order to relieve some of the ‘congestion’ I grabbed the few chicken carcasses left from when I parted out meaties and tossed them in the stock pot, along with some onion, peppercorns, carrots, a couple ribs of celery, fresh from the garden thyme and parsley, a little rosemary and some garlic. I added a couple of necks and of course, the feet, which had been cleaned. Chicken feet make the best kind of stock because they are mostly cartilage and supply all the glucosamine and chondroitin you could want. I let it simmer all day and the smell is heavenly. Once it is done and everything has been pretty much leached into the broth, I let it cool down some, then strain it into another large stockpot. That goes to the walk in to chill, while I pick through the solids that remain, putting bones in one bag, the veggies in a bucket to throw on the compost and the meat into a bowl. I gleaned enough meat off of the 3 carcasses to make  Chinese Chicken Salad, with more than half a bowl left over. This is one of my favorite summer salads so I was tickled to have it readily accessible. The only things I don't always have on hand are fresh celery, bean sprouts and the chinese noodles, but I grabbed some last trip to town. The dry noodles will keep a pretty long time so I’ll be picking up extra next trip and I have ordered mung beans to make our own sprouts, as they don’t last long and often, I can’t find them in the stores I go to. Green onions are always available in my back yard, winter and summer. I always have dry celery on hand, but not fresh, so that is something that is always on the grocery list and I always make something that requires it when we get it home. Then whatever is left over, goes in the dehydrator for soups and stews later on.









Uncharacteristically, I awoke before dawn one morning and not from being in any pain. In fact, I felt like a million bucks, so I quietly snuck outside in the dark under what was left of the moon and headed to the back pasture. I’d heard Cletus barking so I figured something was out of place back there, although he was quiet again so whatever it had been, had already been handled. I snuk up to the alley fence and peeked over to see all the sheep had been huddled together out in the open at the top of the pasture. Both Maremmas were trotting toward them so apparently it had been an encounter of the sheeple-threatening kind. The pups suddenly became aware of me and seconds later I was met in the corral by 200+ lb of highly enthusiastic, wagging polar bodies. After establishing that our infatuation for each other had not dimmed, we watched the sun rise together. It was a wonderful beginning to the day.



EmmaLouMoo has been out back with the bull and about a dozen cows for the past several weeks. SushiMoo has been isolated as she is too young to breed, and we were using the opportunity of her being lonely to get her to bond with us and become a bit more social. She was able to come and go from the corrals and out to the horse pasture as she pleased. Unfortunately, she found a way thru the fences and was loose out with the rest. I was able to capture Wimpy and saddle him (something I had not been able to do in months) and rode down to bring all the cows up from the bottom of the pasture and separate Em and Sushi out into the corral. They tried to pull a sneaky by racing back around the octopus tree and trying to double back on me while we were caught up in the wet, mucky ground, but Wimpy was a good boy and we managed to head them off and accomplish our objective. It made me a very happy camper.



A couple of days later Sushi came in heat which was a relief because #1 she for sure didn’t get bred over night and #2 it means she can go back out there for a couple of weeks until she is due to come in again, at which time I will bring her up and separate her again until her heat is over and turn her loose again. It makes her a much happier little cow.

The Red Rangers are STILL not ready to butcher. We definitely won’t be buying anymore of them as they don’t hold a candle to the cornishX as far as being economical and quick to finish. I know a lot of folks like them because they are hardier, but as we’ve not had problems with the CX, we’ll happily stick with them. 



When I had gone to visit Wimpy and Mister, Thomas followed me into the big corral and waited at the gate. When I returned, he wouldn’t let me pass. The next thing I knew, he began attacking me. He was running at me and jumping up, flapping his wings and kicking at me with his feet. I was using a foot to kick him back each time but he continued. I finally hollered for Bruno, who rescued me by body blocking Thomas and keeping him from getting too close to me. The heavy socialization and bonding I did with the Maremmas, once again paid off. It looks like Thomas might grace our Thanksgiving table, after all. He’s happily residing beneath the raspberry bushes with the Rangers for now.

It’s been unusually hot this summer and the garden has suffered for it. The flowers and hidden veggies have been making a valiant effort to survive and compete with the weeds.





I love sneaking stuff like cabbage and squash into the flower gardens



Hopefully, next year I will be more successful in my battle with weeds and dirt. For now, I'll just settle for what we have and plan on starting more perennials next spring to fill in the spots that need it.

Going out with Randyman to feed the other night, Cletus roared and took off out of the corral toward the orchard. He was upset because THIS guy and his co hort were parked in the trees. Apparently, Cletapotamus has not forgotten that they killed a bunch of his meaties and he was unable to stop them.



As for the rest, he's been fairly vigilant so I've got no worries.



Yesterday I pulled the stockpot out of the walk in, skimmed the fat off the top and canned  2 gallons of chicken broth as well as 7 qts of mixed veggies-carrots, potatoes, corn, peas and butter beans. The plan is to be able to grab a jar of veggies and a jar of chicken I have canned, dump them in a pie crust with some gravy and have a quick chicken pot pie. I tested the theory last night and it was a GOOD plan!! I think I will can more veggies and perhaps a couple different mixes with mushrooms and such as this would be good for sheperds pie, beef pot pies and some other stuff too. It's been a pretty good week for me and I'm looking forward to August!
 Hope you are too.

16 comments:

  1. Petey, this was such a happy post today! I am so glad you are having good days now. You deserve them! Loved your story about the early morning "date" with the polar bears! It is so obvious they adore you and the feeling is mutual! Poor ole Tom, he better start minding his p's and q's and behave himself. He sure does look pretty with his white plumage! Praying for your continued good days. Love reading about your life!...........Ginny in Texas

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    1. Thanks Ginny. Isn't it funny how if your day starts out on a good note, it tends to flavor the whole rest of the day that way?

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  2. Oh that is great news Petey! Yaay! Not only riding but going on your own private roundup too! That there is heady stuff
    my friend. :) . I love your Wimpy, he's a good boy. And your bears are spectacular as usual. Sorry, I know I should say something nice about Thomas,,, but golly he's ugly! I was attacked by a tom when i was a teen and it has sort of soured me on trying to see past those naked wrinkly heads...Your garden is lovely, I like the cabbage amidst the flowers, might try that next year. This year I loosened up and put a few extra tomatoes in the beds.
    Just so you know, chicken pot pie is my most favorite comfort food. That info may come in handy some day...;)

    I am so very happy that you had a wonderful day. I've been praying for you when I wake in the night.
    Kristi

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    1. Wimpy IS a good boy, and he is wide, which is really helpful for my balance challenges. But alas, alack, I need someone to ride with so whoever that may be, will get Wimpy because MIster is a bit of a problem lately and its up to me to handle it, personal issues or not. Hopefully I will be able to ride enough to get him straightened out so I can trade back horses again! :) It worked out great to do the pot pie this way. It doesn't take any time at all. I have home canned stock, chicken and veggies on the shelves at all times so I just make a quick pie crust and 3 minutes for gravy and heat it up. IT was sooooo good! It'll be there and the light will be on..just in case...thank you for your prayers!

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  3. I love reading about your days out there on your beautiful ranch. This was indeed, a happy post and I loved the photos. Hoping your days continue to be pain-free and that you are able to get ready for your visitors, and for the winter ahead! May God bless you, Randy and all your critters, too! Fondly, Elizabeth

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  4. Yea-Haw a day to ride! That was a wonderful post. I am so happy for you when you have good days. Tom is just being a MALE of the poultry kind. I find most of them to be a bit naughty (or downright nasty.) Too often I have been come at spurs 1st by a rooster. *shudder* So good that you have your guardians about. :) Love those dogs. ;) Your salad looks yummy. We have been eating lots of fresh garden produce. It has been weeks since I bought any canned veg. Hugs to all....

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    1. I think he is "THAT AGE". There are no ladies to stroke his ego so he is one big unhappy bird and is taking it out on me...because I'm sure it's not his way of wooing me. LOL I love that these dogs DO protect me, but don't harm the stock in the process. The animals (except for cows) all respect the dogs and back off when they do so and the dogs escort me to the house. If it's cows, they have to be a bit more aggressive, but they do what it takes, and no more. I'm so grateful for them. My garden isn't producing much yet, but it's usually august here before much happens. Short season!

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  5. Well that turkey! I'd say he is decidedly plotting a path to the table as the main course.

    So glad to hear you're having some good days - and able to go riding! :-) Great stuff!

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    1. Thaks SBD! It was a very, very good day :)

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  6. What an awesome post Petey! I hope that you have to use this title over and over and over! Sounds like you had a pretty amazing week! Enjoy the blessings, Staci

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    1. Thanks Staci! Things are lookin' up!

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  7. Happy to hear of your great day. Boy, that turkey, I'll bet he'll taste good come Thanksgiving!! What a great idea for the chicken pot pie. I've got my meaties in the freezer, and have plans on canning meat and broth again this year. I'm down to almost half of the meat and broth I had last winter in the pantry. Since it's just my youngest son and I, we don't go through much food at all, but it's such a comfort to even open the door, step inside, and just look to see what I've canned for the upcoming meals. Kinda like giving myself a hug. Sometimes I just like to window shop in my pantry, I guess!!
    Tremendous post. Glad you got to do some riding. Always nice to be able to outsmart the animals, too!
    ~~Lori

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    1. I'm thinking I have some future plans for having Thomas over for dinner...bwahahaha

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  8. I'm not sure what the turkey was thinking. My brother takes care of all animal behavior so we don't have many incidents of poor behavior. Amy's garden is a bounty this year because of the high altitude rain and extra ordinary heat. We are used to the rain but the heat is new. I like that sign but I'm not sure I agree, but it's my odd ball definition of time. Riding must have been a particular joy and I salute you on that. I won't be here after Sunday for awhile and I'm both excited and apprehensive. My coach thinks its a bummer but he should be happy and feel lucky, he has me at all. Take care Petey and God bless you. X-boy

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