Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Raw Deal

Lately I haven’t been doing much. The title of this blog was originally Range to Range, because I was sick and spending less time out on the ranch riding and helping move cattle to being instead in the kitchen, cooking meals.

homemade fettucini pasta

homegrown chicken


from the garden

homemade pepper jack cheese

butter pats

fresh eggs

fresh milk with heavy cream


homemade sour cream and butter

making cream cheese

making mozzarella

That went pretty well for a long time as I learned many, many, many new dishes, acquired some wonderful gadgets that made it all worthwhile and thoroughly enjoyed making bread, homemade dairy and cheese, and processing our own meats. I have always missed riding though, I guess that will never go away.

Anyway, as things have progressed, I am now doing less cooking as well. Not to say we have given up completely…I am still hoping and praying for deliverance from this condition, even if it is only in the form of some much needed assistance.
Hopefully, from some folks in particular.

Meanwhile, the biggest change we have gone through lately has been changing Heath (and the other dogs as I am able) over from store bought kibble (which often has recalls and deaths due to bad ingredients usually from China) to raw food. Raising extra chickens, rabbits and an occasional lamb, deer or whatever may become available makes it possible. Heath however is a bit of a critic. (His breeder calls him “the Prince” bahaha) We’ve had to suffer a few fasts until he decided that eating chicken is not beneath him…or duck. Now that he is enjoying his meals with gusto (which he never, ever did on any kind of kibble) I am making his treats as well.

Because originally feeding him chicken parts, such as a drumstick or thigh, he would actually remove the meat and eat only the bones (raw bones are ok for dogs to eat, but never, ever, ever bones that have been cooked or smoked as they will splinter and damage their intestines) we had to buy a heavy duty meat grinder and feed him ground meat, with the bone ground in as well. Rule of thumb, as I understand it, is a raw fed dog needs percentages of meat, bone and organ in order to eat a balanced diet. There is a lot of information on the internet if you need more detail.

The grinder easily grinds up all the chicken, duck and rabbit meat with bones so that problem is solved. Heath doesn’t like liver though. So making use of the food processor and dehydrator, we solved that problem. He loves dried liver treats!! I also dehydrated some of his duck to make treats, so now instead of ordering expensive dog food rolls to cut up and use for training, I can use healthy food for him which is much less expensive and has no additives.
I dried some sweet potatoes for him as well, but Heath is not a fan.

Since we have the grinder, and the grinder came with a sausage stuffing attachment, we decided to pull the 18 lb. pork shoulder out of the freezer and make some sausage. With a “kit” that had all the spices and casings, we made 5 lb of Italian, 5 lb of cheddar bratwurst and 5 lb of brat. It was a little bit of a learning process to stuff the casings, but we nailed it and it all came out pretty well. So well, in fact, that we just purchased a large bucket of casings and plan to make some other sausages from scratch, saving more money and having more flavor. It ought to be fun.

IN between, I keep trying to get stronger, Heath keeps trying to keep me going. He wakes me up daily between 6:30 and 7, by first gently touching his nose to my face, then softly placing a paw on my arm. He waits patiently until I either get up, or turn away from him. He knows if I turn away, I absolutely, positively need more rest and he gives me another hour or so. On the days I am very poor, he stays close enough to always be touching me, sleeping against my legs or alongside me. Other days, he engages me with play, bringing me toys to throw, or tug for him. If that isn't enough, he brings me his treat bucket for either a free treat or a game of “click”.

He is there for me daily, handing me things I drop, or cannot reach on the ground, putting away his own toys, helping with laundry, opening the back door, dragging me a blanket or pillow and various other little things I used to take for granted. He is my only company and companion each long day while TheMan is at work, 7 days a week. I’m not sure I could do without him. We’ve been working lately on getting him to accept riding on the 4 wheeler. Being trapped in a house all the time starts to feel pretty awful, especially when there is so much beauty outside here. Being able to take the 4 wheeler on my better days would be a huge relief but Heath has to agree to ride with me, as he can’t run all the way or we’d never get anywhere. He’s getting there slowly, but surely.

And we keep on….