Friday, December 31, 2010

Snowy Peaks

Coming back from our walk with the dogs on Wednesday, I snapped these photos.  The mountains are beautiful right now with fresh snow.  This is Mt. Robie Reid, looking north.  The Fraser river would be out of sight below the trees in the front of the photo.  The sun was just about to set.

Everyone refers to these peaks as Golden Ears, but actually the left peak is Golden Ears, the right one is Edge Peak

And then just before we got home, this is the view from our neighbours, a quarter mile up the road from us.  

On Thursday we met Jeff and Pippin out on Sumas Prairie and went for a walk on the dyke.  It was quite windy and cold. 

The scenery is beautiful though.
That's Mt. Cheam on the left, with Lady Peak or Dogface to the right of Cheam.  Apparently Lady was the name of the dog:)  So far I haven't been able to find out if the other peaks have names.

 I always find the ice crystals fascinating.  Too bad they weren't in better focus.

The crystals here are shaped like little leaves

We have this view of Mt. Robie Reid from the top of our back hayfield.  Unfortunately we can't see it from the house.  Golden Ears is off to the left (west), and is mostly hidden by trees.

And in that back hayfield, smart horses stand where it is most sheltered and soak up the warmth of the sun.

And all the animals appreciate a bucket of warm water put out for them.

We are enjoying this sunny frozen weather.  The mud is frozen, there are bits of snow here and there, and the dogs are much cleaner.  Well other than Luna, who rolled in something disgusting when we were at the dyke yesterday, and had to have a bath when she got home.

And here we are at the end of 2010.
May 2011 meet your hopes and expectations.
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mutton Busting

There certainly are times when you wish someone else was with you, and they were the one with the camera.

This morning I went outside on my own to let the chickens out.  When I went into the sheep field, this is what I saw, brought to you by the wonders of Paint.

A baling string had somehow been missed or had been dropped when the hay was put in the feeder, and this ewe tried to wear it as a necklace.  Unfortunately the necklace was too long and she stepped through it with a back foot, and every time she walked and the leg moved backwards, the string got tight.  You'd think she'd eventually step out of it, but it didn't happen.

So with the help of that amazing sheep dog Luna, (oops, my tongue is stuck in my cheek) we got them in a small pen in front of the chicken coop.  It wasn't really small enough, but I managed to snag the ewe as she went by.  I didn't get a very good grip, and I was wearing gloves, so that didn't help.  This is the biggest, youngest ewe, around 200 lbs.  
I was struggling to hang on to her and we end up going down the bit of a hill and she got me rammed between the tree and her head.  

The she got turned around and I was fighting to keep my grip on her, but was at the back end more or less sitting on her.  Since I didn't have control of her head and she was dragging me along for the ride, I ended up letting go.

So I ditched the gloves and nonchalantly sauntered past, and managed to grab the string.  Of course she lunged to get away, and I had flashbacks of my hands being all sawed up again like I did with the extending leash.  Somehow I managed to grab some fleece up by her head, got her nose shoved round to her shoulder, she went down on  her side and I got the string off.

Never a dull moment!

PS  We had turkey soup and cheese buns for supper tonight, the extra stock is in the freezer, the bits were dried for dog treats, and the carcass went in the woodstove to be burnt to ashes to be put on the garden.
Don't I feel smug!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the Fourth Day of Turkey.....

My true love said to me.... 'turkey...again....?'  Well not really, but now since most of the easily sliced turkey is gone, it's time to strip the carcass and see if there's enough to make a turkey pot pie.  Mmm, really good, but actually I thinks it's the pastry crust that we really love.
We only had a 12 lb turkey, and I have to confess it wasn't one we raised ourselves, or even an ethically or organically raised one.  It was just an on sale utility turkey.  This one didn't seem to be missing any body parts, but the skin was ripped across one breast.  A turkey style 'wardrobe malfunction'.
In the newspaper the Wednesday before Christmas there had been a recipe for brining a turkey.  I read it, thought about it, and did nothing more.  On Christmas Eve morning I was at the grocery store getting a few last minute items.  Well a few items had turned into a basketful.  As I was stood in the lineup at the checkout there was a younger couple behind me with just three items, so I said they could go ahead of me.  Then I noticed he had a box of Kosher salt in his hand, so I asked if he was going to brine his turkey, and he said yes.  So we had some discussion about that.  He had done it at Thanksgiving and apparently their guests said it was the best turkey they'd ever had.
To cut a long story short, I decided to brine ours.  I used the recipe in the newspaper, which said not to rinse the brine off, and the guy at the store said to rinse it, so I rinsed it very quickly.  Anyway, David said it was the best turkey he had had, Larry liked it but thought it a bit salty, but then he is really trying to watch his salt intake, so that might have something to do with it.  I thought it was really good also, so I think I'll do it again next time.  Moister, more flavourful, and cooked faster.
We aren't big meat eaters in this family, so that turkey fed us well for three days, and so did the rest of the leftovers.  All that prep for the Christmas meal pays off because no-one (well that would be me) has to cook for the next couple of days.

 David's lunch of leftovers on Monday

This year instead of making cranberry sauce with just water/juice, sugar and cranberries, I threw in an orange or equivalent (a can of mandarin segments) and an apple for each bag of cranberries.  It was a nice change.
The stuffing (which is what I always called it) or dressing (as Larry's family called it, and for some reason that always aggravated me) was a mixture of all sorts.  Sweet and wild rice, whole wheat bread, onions, carrots, celery, eggs, raisins, walnuts, seasonings, orange juice,  it was a meal on it's own.  I just read the other day that it is called stuffing if it is stuffed in the turkey, which I used to do, or dressing if it is cooked outside of the turkey, which I do now.  I don't care, it will always be stuffing to me.

A family tradition is to make this trifle, I've had it most Christmases since I was a teenager. Huh, really? That is one heck of a long time ago, I don't think I've eaten it that many times.  Whatever, it's a family tradition now, and it seems to have become Meredith's job.  We didn't even eat any on Christmas Day, as we were too full.  It's all gone now.

This was another highlight of Christmas.  It was given to us by one of our 'business partners'. It gave me a really good excuse to not do any Christmas baking.  I wish I had a really good excuse not to have to eat it all.  It's all gone now too.  So is all my chocolate.  Good thing, according to the pictures taken of me.

Here's supper tonight.  There were no leftovers

Tomorrow night will probably be turkey soup, and then the last bits of turkey that we don't want to eat will be dried for dog training treats.
I can feel all smug, because this time I've dealt with the turkey carcass appropriately, and not much will be wasted.
I won't tell you about the times I've left it in the fridge so long that it had to be thrown out, or the times I've actually boiled it up to make stock, and then haven't gone any further and that whole pot of stock and carcass had to be thrown out. 
Maybe I shouldn't feel so smug.  That soup isn't made yet, and the stock isn't strained.  I'll let you know when it is.  If you don't hear anything, you'll know I messed up once again.

Today is my 200th post.  I can't believe I could ramble on so much:)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Pippin Report

Pippin goes home later today.  Unfortunately I won't be able to see the reunion between Pippin and Jeff, and I'm not sure who is going to be the most excited, but I bet the house will be just rocking!  

Other than the little 'accident' on the first day, Pippin has been really good, and he can come back to stay with us anytime.  

Here's Pippin after he stole the Christmas Turkey off the counter.
He and Luna look like a couple of beached whales. 
That's the beluga whale at the front and the killer whale at the back.
And I'm just kidding about the turkey, really...
Actually this is what they were doing while we were eating that turkey, along with the rest of our Christmas dinner.

Sure Pippin did a bit of counter surfing, and we tried to put the fear of doG into him when he did it, but I don't think we were really successful.  We were good at keeping things out of his way, and I'm proud to report that he didn't get the opportunity to eat anything else that he shouldn't.

Here's me cleaning up some turkey after dinner.  Yes, they got a bits of turkey.  Notice where Pippin and Jake are looking, and notice where Luna is looking.  
She's got to make sure that Pippin behaves himself, and doesn't get something he shouldn't.
She tried to control Pippin somewhat, but a lot of the time he didn't get too bothered by the 'read my lips' message she was giving him. 
 Huh, I thought I was the one in charge here.  

I think I'm going to send this home with Pippin.
It got more action from him than it gets from our dogs.
Pippin is quite the tugger, and the poor bunny had to be rescued before it was totally eviscerated

And Pippin, it was fun having you here, and you are welcome back any time.
Now we've got to work on Jeff to get that weight off you!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas !!!!!

Hard to get a good Christmas photo in the pouring rain

And one for Jeff....

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Night Before Christmas at Wyndson Farm

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all round the farm
The coyotes were  sleeping and doing no harm

The hens were all nestled all snug in their coop
And they kept laying so they wouldn’t be soup

Pride ran to his shed, in a mad dash
He stood there waiting for his warm pellet mash

Smudge was asleep, all curled in her chair
Luna stood guard, not moving a hair

And Pippin he checked, under the tree
Surely there’s something there edible for me

Little red Jake, he looked for a toy
Can you throw it for me, I’ve been a good boy?

And Calli looked up from her old green mat
I heard a sound, she said, now what was that?

It must be Saint Nick, out on our roof
The noise of the reindeer, and each little hoof

He left a few gifts and then leapt in his sleigh, 
And waved an arm, and Pride gave a neigh

Did he really want to guide Santa that night?
I don’t think so Pride, your nose isn’t bright

The sheep were munching on hay in their shed
It really was time to head off to bed

But we were all happy and still full of good cheer
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dear Jeff.....

Pippin came to stay at our house last night.  Jeff, his 'dad', hasn't seen him since Tuesday morning, so he's really wanting to know how Pippin is doing.

Jeff, Pippin is doing just fine!!  There, you really don't need to read any further:)

Okay, if you really want to know, here you go. 
After the girls left here last night, Pippin seemed kind of lost.  He whined, and he barked, and he stood at the door and said please let me out, I'm sure I can find my way home.
He wandered around and checked things out, and a couple of times he even went downstairs and laid in his crate all on his own.  He seemed kind of sad.  Well sad until I tried shutting the door, and then it was bark, bark, bark.

We had brought his red blanket upstairs for him to lay on.  To distract him, Meredith, who Pippin knows the best, started to play with his blanket with him.  Next thing you know, there is one big game of tug going on, and Meredith is frantically trying to rescue the blanket, and... well... you can see for yourself.
Jeff, you can blame the vampire eyed Meredith!

So we found something more appropriate to play tug with

And then Pippin got some lovin'

It was all going well, until Meredith was heading to bed.  Pippin was laid in his crate.  Meredith was sure she had shut her bedroom door.  She was in the bathroom long enough to wash her face and brush her teeth, and when she got back to her room.... there was Pippin just finishing off a Terry's Chocolate Orange.  She couldn't believe it!  It was like he had already checked out her room and was waiting for his chance to sneak in there.  She was shocked he even found the chocolate.  Anyway, we googled and found this chart, so we put in Pippin's weight, which we didn't know, but he is kind of portly, so we guessed at 60 lbs.  He is the same height as Luna, but a lot rounder, and she is around 40 lbs, so I thought 60 lbs was a fair estimate.  Thankfully the chart showed that taking into account his weight and the weight of the milk (thank goodness it wasn't dark) chocolate he had eaten, he was still below the level of 'vomitting and diarrhea'.  We figured we would just keep an eye on him, knowing that he has probably eaten worse things in his lifetime.  Did I mention that Pippin is obsessed with food, and not much stops him from finding and getting anything edible?  

Pippin didn't have a very relaxing night, (not because of the chocolate) and neither did Meredith and I until I went back downstairs and changed his sleeping arrangments, and then it was much better.  And Larry of course slept through it all.

So far today Pippin hasn't eaten anything inappropriate, well that we know of anyway.  He didn't even seem to show any interest in the horse manure this morning.   He did get a smaller breakfast, considering all those calories he had downed the evening before, and wasn't impressed with the raw carrot I added to his dish to make it seem like there was more, but did like the turkey juice that I poured over it.  I even added a couple of bits of raw turkey from what I was feeding our dogs, and he picked them up and dropped them a few times before he ate them.   And for a dog that always seems to be on the hunt for food, he is a suprisingly delicate eater, taking his time.  Not like our three.  I wonder if that comes from being an only dog?

This afternoon we took a walk down on the dyke between rainstorms

I made sure Pippin knew I had good treats in my pocket.

Did I hear you say treats?  I'll be right there....

And here's Luna and Pippin having a good rip snorting run around.

They were having a great time!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time....

Monday night was our dog club Christmas Party, well the one the dogs were invited to:)  A week and a half ago we had our Christmas dinner, where we all get dressed up and get to see each other in something other than 'dog' clothes, and go to a restaurant to eat.

We took Calli with us on Monday, and she had the most wonderful time!  Old friends to greet, a few tummy rubs and lots of treats to collect, and the opportunity to scrounge around on the floor for dropped treats.  All the humans took food to share and it was a good time:)

Let the party begin!

 Larry and Dee contemplate what to sample next!

We played some games with the dogs, like Musical Mats
We had a small agility run out, and we ran some relays on a course that was jumps and a tunnel, so the flyball dogs could do it as well.  We timed our dogs whether they were flyball dogs or not, doing runbacks over the flyball jumps.  We had a tooney toss to raise money for the SPCA, so between a bottle of vodka and one of Baileys, $102 was raised.  We had also been collecting blankets and towels and other doggy stuff for the SPCA, so there was quite a pile of stuff to be dropped off there.

Musical Mats

Monica shows off the bottle that she got with her winning toss.

And Josee sneaks off with her bottle of Baileys.  The one who said 'I can't do this' and then proceeded to leave the tooney leaning up against the bottle. (For you non-Canadians, a tooney is a $2 coin.  The $1 coin has a loon on it, so is called a looney, so when the $2 coin came out, it seemed logical to call it a tooney)

And to go with the not very good pictures, here's a short, not very good video.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fresh Eggs Delivered Right to the Door

Remember that hen that had the two chicks in the summer?  Now that her kids are all grown up, she is laying eggs again.  After laying them in various places, except the chicken coop, she is now laying them right next to the door we go in and out of most of the time.  This is the door from the garage, and we go through that to head outside after getting our boots and coats on in the utility room.  This is under the back deck, just back of the retaining wall, about waist height.  That is the foundation wall behind her.  What would possess her to lay in that gravel spot....well who knows what goes on in the mind of a hen.  So each morning after the coop door is opened, she heads over to the house

And leaves us this

So yesterday morning I wanted to get a Christmas picture to send to our egg customers.  This hen is fairly tame, and you can usually get hold of her and pick her up.
As she was leaving the nest I put one of the dog's Christmas collars over her head.  Those are handy things.  I also used them on Saturday on my arms, to make fancy Christmas cuffs to go with the red sweater I was wearing at my last farmers market of the year.

The hen didn't seem to mind. 
 We did get a sprinkle of snow the evening before.

Then I got Luna in on the act.  She was more than willing to oblige, and seemed to find the hen extra fascinating because she was dressed up.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I've got that retching feeling.....

..sung to the tune of  You've Lost that Loving Feeling by the Righteous Brothers.  That tune is stuck in my head, in the process of coming up with a title for this post.

This started the other day when I commented on another blog that I read regularly.  You can read that here, when I talked about racing to the door when a dog starts that retching sound in in the middle of the night. Multiple dog owners can relate.  You are desperately trying to get the retching dog outside before the vomit hits the floor.  So as you are racing to the door, encouraging the retching dog to get there as fast as possible, the other dog(s) think something wildly exciting is happening, so are barking and racing around and generally getting in the way.  Quite often the result of this is that you get to the door, but before you can get the door open and the dogs through it, which usually involves having the dogs back up a bit so you actually have room to open it, the retching dog lets everything fly right onto the door mat.

 Notice how I had said it rarely happens, but I think I jinxed myself.  So that same afternoon, just before dark, we are walking around the block and Luna goes into the ditch, and proceeds to upchuck her cookies.  It was not just once, but four times.  I'm thinking, well at least she's done it now, and not in the middle of the night.  I wondered what caused it, but then she and Jake had spent a long time in the hayfield that morning, seeming to be hunting, so thought maybe it was something to do with that.  Other than that minute or two spent in the ditch, she seemed totally normal.   She ate her usual supper, was her usual crazy self.  Well I'm sure you can see where this is going.  So at some ungodly hour I wake up to that retching sound.  By the time I 'leap' out of bed she has deposited a pool on the floor at the end of the bed, and then she seemed to be over it.  I put her outside for a bit, turn on the hallway light and clean it up, leave the bedroom door open and go back to sleep.  About 6 in the morning I am woken again by that horrible sound coming from the other end of the house, and of course by the time I get there, it is too late.  There is a trail all the way down the stairs to the door.  I let Luna out, clean up the mess, and let her back in. Before going back to bed I quickly flip the bedroom light on to check that I hadn't missed any puddles on the floor by the end of the bed from the first episode.  When it was light and I was getting up for the last time, as I swung my legs over the side of the bed, I just about put them in this huge brown pool that was almost under the bed.  Gross!  I think that was from her first episode and I was so thankful that I had managed to miss stepping in it, both getting in and out of bed.  It didn't even stink.
Anyway, poor Luna got a very small breakfast of plain chicken, and seemed to keep everything down after that. Larry had slept through it all, even me turning on the bedroom light, and the first he knew of it was when I told him all the details.  Men!

And I have to wonder, do I have nothing better to blog about than this?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Tree Night

Earlier in the week we decided that Thursday night was going to be Christmas tree decorating night.
Gone are the days that we headed off to the Christmas 
tree farm, and either cut down a tree, or some years dug one up.  We have a few trees around planted around here that arrived as Christmas trees.  Some of them didn't survive.  One year we broke a shovel digging a tree up.  

Somewhere along the way we got older and lazier, and after Christmas one year bought a fake tree, already decorated in lights, for 75% off (about the same price as a cut tree) and that's what we've used ever since.  This tree is a bit blinding, so we try to drown a out a few lights by putting lots of decorations on.

We got out the eggnog, and I diluted mine with some milk, otherwise I find it way too sweet, and then added some Bailey's.  Not bad!

 The angel went on first, but someone said it should go on last, so there was a bit of an argument over that.

Finally it was done.

We forced some Christmas spirit onto Jake and Luna

Luna wasn't too impressed, and tried to push her nose between Larry's knees to rub the antlers off.

We have a few special ornaments.  In 2002 I started getting Meredith and David one each year. The soccer bear and the girl in pink were the first ones.  They were made out of Fimo clay, and they are only about an inch and a half tall, but the detail is amazing.

There was no theme, just what ever I could come up with each year.  If I could find an ornament that was related to something that happened that year, so much the better.

   I think the car was the year David got his driver's licence.  He did go on to own quite a variety of 

Last year I got a bit more creative. These are just dollar store ornaments that I painted on the back of.
This was Meredith's.  She took a ten day trip and drove herself down the Oregon Coast to San Fransisco.

David took a long trip to New Zealand

One year the elementary school had a Christmas craft night.  These were made from the tops of those cans of orange juice concentrate.  You took a hammer and pounded a nail through to make the designs.  We made some more at home, and glued the lace on.
I must have been feeling romantic when I made this one

There are a bunch of felt figures that used to be on a mobile I had made for over the crib.

We used to have a bunch of tacky garlands that the kids made at school.  Things like strings of wine corks alternating with wood beads and pieces of drinking straws.  Or how about the string made of those foam packing peanuts with tissue paper wrapped around them?  Or the alternating green and red strips of construction paper glued to make a loop, and then the next strip put through that loop and glued to make another loop.
A few years ago every one agreed that it was time for them to go.

We were going to put up some decorations around the house, but most of the family got distracted by the humour of a Top Gear video.  Couldn't they have at least picked a Christmas one?