Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hail, Fair, Grand Champion Steers...

Not much has been going on in our neck of the woods... other than our big Midwestern trip and gearing up for our wine-o vacation.

Our hay lady called. I think I've mentioned that out here in CO, we get three cuttings of hay. Some people can eek out a fourth cutting if they have good irrigation and we don't get a killing frost.

Well, we got a heck of a hail storm about two weeks ago and it completely demolished her second cutting hay. She hadn't cut it yet cuz of the County Fair and her children were showing animals and her husband was out of town and all of a sudden - BLAM-O! A hail storm wiped out the hay leaving a few measly sticks with no leafy greens sticking up outta the soil. We were supposed to get 225 bales from her second cutting. Not anymore! She baled it anyway to get it out of the field and will sell it as cow hay.

Cows have all these little microscopic bugs that live in their gut... when the bugs eat the food the cow chews and swallows, they poo (cuz everybody poos)...and the microscopic poo is filled with nutrients and protiens for the cow to digest. Yeah, that is over simplification but this is a blog and not a lecture.

Interesting eh? This means cows can eat lower quality feed cuz as long as the bugs in their gut will chow down and poo, the cows get the nutrition they need. Sometimes people will feed them a grain or pelleted feed with high protien but they have to special coat it so the bugs can't get it and it gets absorbed by the cow further on down the digestive tract.

Dairy animals are a little different. You still feed them high quality food cuz whatever they eat comes through the milk and you want animals making clean, sweet tasting milk.

Cows, goats, deer and antelope are ruminants...meaning they have 4 chambers to their stomach and not just one like us. Tho' it's been a loooooong time since I've attended an animal nutrition or anatomy class.

In one of my Animal Science classes, we walked into a building in summer for a lab and there was a cow digestive tract laying on the concrete floor. Complete with flies and stench. I don't gross out easily at all. I am proud to say I have been known to gross out grown men that say they are IMPOSSIBLE to gross out. I see it as a challenge and happily rise to the occasion.

However, on that day, I was grossed out. It was hot in the building, there were many people crowded around me, people were sweating, there were lots o' flies, there were digestive enzymes, there was poo, there was a lot of STANK. Maybe I was hung-over that day...I don't know.

The digestive tract in any creature is full of food being turned into either nutrients or into poo. So given that it was hot, and all "meat" rots, and who knows how many other classes had been through before I got there... and I'm sayin the WHOLE tract was there from tongue to a perfectly cut-out asshole.

Anyway - I digress. Alls I really wanted to say was that we ain't gettin' our second cutting hay from our hay lady. She will supply us half of what we need for the year with her third cutting (if nothing happens to it) and she gave us the number of another hay guy. I called him and put my name on his list IF he has any third cutting to give us. His second cutting got wet with rain - it was baled but not covered. Wet bales = mold. Lots o' mold. Not good for our horses or dairy goats.

Keep your fingers crossed for third cutting!

Our small animal vet called. I called her a month ago to let her know we were getting low on a perscription for one of our dogs. He gets propalin to help his bladder muscles stay strong. Some dogs have a weak bladder once they are neutered or spayed. If Sammy gets his "pee pill" every other day, we don't have problems. If not, well occasionally he has accidents...nothing deliberate but the pee sorta drips out and he doesn't notice... like a leaky faucet. Not fun for anyone.

We hadn't heard hide nor hair from her in forever and started thinking maybe we made her mad some how. She said naw, she had been busy campaigning her steers and bulls at the local fairs and hadn't had a chance to catch up on calls. She has one bull that is placing Grand Champion in any fair they enter him in so they are thinking about taking him to MT and seeing how he does up there. It will be good for her cattle sales if he can keep winning Grand Champion.

I'm gonna have to find a back-up veterinarian cuz if something serious happens to one of our dogs or cats while it's fair season, they won't stand a chance!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Part III, Children OF the corn....

We left Illinois Ma's house and headed to Omaha, NE for my high school reunion.

Oh, our pet sitter called to say that Sammy was sick - he had explosive diarrhea - and does this happen often when we travel? Not only did she have to deal with skunk smell from the dogs' little run in before we left, but now one of the dogs is exploding outta his back passage. Nice. Bet we'll never see THAT pet sitter again!

The drive was full o' corn and decorated water towers... you've pretty much seen it all before. YAWN...

We arrived at the hotel and relaxed for a while before heading to the reunion. I was NERVOUS. I dunno why. It's not like there is anyone mean from my school. We are all adults. Not as if I will walk in the room and everyone will stop what they are doing to stare and point at my additional 20lbs and budda belly. No one is going to throw rocks at me. No one is going to call me names.... I was nervous anyway.

We got to the brew pub early and had a pint of confidence at the bar before heading in. We decended to the basement and into "the function".

It was very nice! People were friendly - people looked the same - it was all chatting and laughing and finding out what everyone was up to.

Furry Husband hit it off with the other husbands while all us girls gabbed. He really liked Julie's husband (which is a good thing since Julie's boob is in Furry Husband's hand!) I don't think I need to mention Furry Husband was also enjoying himself - there was alcohol, food... and lots o' pictures. I think about half showed up? There were 60 in our graduating class. Fun times, fun times.
Well, well, well. Turn about is only fair isn't it?

We got up early the next day and Colorado never looked so good. Can I say how much I love our home?? The horses, goats, dogs and cats were all alive and very happy to see us.
I got up early the next day to go to a horse show in Cheyenne, WY.
I braided Sera's mane and groomed her at home, loaded her in the trailer and drove 45 min. to the Laramie County Community College (LCCC). I rode Dressage tests First Level 1 and 3 - I got my first 60% scores with her and was very, very happy with my red-headed mare! The next day I rode First Level test 1 and 4 - again I got 60% scores. I have 2 blue ribbons (first), a red (second) and a yellow (third) from my weekend.
I came to work on Monday, happy to be back in the office, so I could finally RELAX!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Thought I'd share with you what Furry Husband and I do on our weekend mornings when the weather is nice. We like to sit outside at our picnic table, drink our coffee and read the paper. Split Pea, the cat, when not sprawed out all over the paper is on my shoulders.... and yup, there I am complete with bed head.... and our lawn mower in the back ground jus' so's we don't look overly sophisticated and citi-fied. You know yer a redneck when....We were doing our thang and I noticed Spot doing hers. It is so funny when she does this. She cannot get up on the spools. We saw her doing this a while back and we both went in the pen to try to help hoist her up on a spool - yeah - didn't go over so well and to this day, she has still never been up on a spool.

Sometimes while she's standing like this one of her back legs will go up like she's trying to climb aboard. It is HILARIOUS! Maybe you have to be there? Or maybe we've been living rural just a wee bit too long?

Chocolate Chaud has no idea why we find this so funny.... she can climb up on the spools and the houses fully preggers or with an udder full o' milk! Can you see Spot's little legs behind Chocolate's head?

Monday, August 18, 2008

More cheese please....

It is 9:48pm. I am not a night person. I like to be in bed by 9 reading a book and falling asleep by 9:30pm.

Why am I not in bed? Why am I blogging at this "late" hour throwing off my circadian rhythms?


I decided to make parmesean cheese tonight. Good grief. I am my own worst enemy!

It rained all weekend and it's still too wet outside to do much else. I had a gallon of milk from "the girls" and I bought a gallon of 2% cows milk (cuz that is what the recipie calls fer) this weekend to make parmesean for the first time. Figured I'd be inside a lot with the rain and cheese making would give me something to do.

Well, our weekend got busy. We ran errands most of the day Saturday and went to dinner with our fabulous friends who will accompany us to Sonoma/Napa in only TWO WEEKS! Have I mentioned that vacation? Furry Husband has set us UP in wine country. VIP tours, complimentary guest accomodations at wineries, free fancy pants wine lunches. We are all super excited to go!

Sunday we had breakfast with the divine Ms. K cuz she is leaving for Laramie, WY to get her PhD in molecular sciences. Can you say -- brainiac? She is very smart and we are happy for her but we will miss her cheerful smile and who else is crazy enough to come running when we call to say goat babies are imminent?

Then we had lunch with my Ma and Step-Pa and right after that, off I went to a bridal shower! So yeah - the weekend sorta got away from us when it was supposed to be long, lazy and indoors, listening to the rain.

Anyway. I have this milk in my fridge with parmesean written all over it and I had plans to make cheese. I'm nothing if not stubborn and I started it tonight thinking I'd be done by 9pm.

Next time Furry Husband is doin' the time calc-u-la-men-ta-tion cuz I is NOT math oriented.

A lot of people ask me what makes cheddar cheese, cheddar vs. colby vs. brick vs. whatever kind of cheese. I don't really know the answer to that. I know it is all science and someone could break it all out for you but to me it's like what makes a brownie a brownie vs. a cookie vs. a cake. It's all in the way you stir it and cook it and the ingredients you use when you follow the recipie.

Here's what I'm doing to make parmesean tonight (grumble, grumble - I'm sleepy - grumble)

Heated the milk to 90 degrees F, let it rest for 30 minutes, added lipase powder, stirred for 2 minutes, added the rennet, let it rest for 30 minutes. Cut the curd and let it rest for 5 minutes. Heated the curds to 100. Continually stirred slowly and VERY slowly kept on heating until the curd reached 120F. (this is where I am overly optimistic about how quick it will go...you heat cheese curds slowly... did I say slow? cuz I mean S-L-O-W, SLOW and about this time I start to realize what time I'll be going to bed. My mood begins headin' South)

Stirred for 25 MORE minutes. Drained the curd for 20 minutes in a colander. (now I'm gettin' downright snippy and Furry Husband quietly avoids me) Put curd in cheese press for 10 minutes at 5lbs pressure. Turned it over and pressed again for 10 min at 5lbs pressure. (I am cursing under my breath) Turned cheese over and pressed for an hour at 15lbs pressure. (YOU are here)

In a few minutes I will repeat and then finally I will turn the damn cheese over yet again and press for 12 - 15 hrs at whatever amt of pressure - I forget cuz I'm only on the first damn hour and my instructions are in the kitchen.

I'm tired and cranky.

During the latest turn and press, Furry Husband says, "huh. so this is why cheese is so expensive." Yeah. Not to mention the parmesean will age for 10 months. So if I've done something wrong tonight, August 18 2008, I won't know until June of 2009 when we taste it. How is that for delayed gratification?

The types of cheese I've been making - cheddar, colby and now parmesean have not been exactly hard to make but they are time consuming. And when you've reached this point - you've put so much time into whatever god forsaken cheese you are making - you don't want to scrap it and wait for the weekend to start over.

So I'm up. And I will be up until 11pm and hell if I'm gonna make cheese on a "school night" again any time soon!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Part II of Corn, Corn and MORE Corn!

There is an ice cream chain in Rock Island, IL called Whitey's. Furry Husband LOVES Whitey's and it was our goal to eat Whitey's ice cream at least once if not more each day we were in Rock Island visiting Illinois Ma.
Now that I think of it - it's kind of a funny name for an ice cream chain. Where I grew up in Omaha, we went to either Goodrich or Dairy Queen. In Ft. Collins there are a couple chains - Cold Stone Creamery, a local place called Walrus Ice Cream... so Whitey's? Is it cuz the cream you use to make ice cream is white? Or are there other social implications going on here??

Reguardless - not much gets in the way of me and food, especially ice cream. We did manage to eat Whitey's each day we were in IL. We even gots the pictures to prove it. We met Furry Husband's buddy Uncle Mikey, Uncle Mickey's wife Diane and their son Zach - otherwise known as Zach-Bob one day for ice cream.

Uncle Mikey - Furry Husband has called him Uncle Mikey since high school, even tho' he is not Furry Husband's Uncle, cuz, well, Mikey's sister had a baby! geez. Isn't it obvious??

Zach-Bob looking really thrilled to be there will all us geezers, Furry Husband, Illinois Ma and Diane.

We LOVE Zach-Bob!!Furry Husband and Illinois Ma

MMMMM - Whitey's Ice cream!!!

We asked Illinois Ma to tell us what she'd like to do while we were there - things she wouldn't normally do or things we could help her do while we were around. She wanted to go to cemetaries to visit family. Furry Husband's 11 yr old niece wanted to tag a long. (An ll yr old WANTING to be stuck in a car with 3 old people to go visit cemetaries?? Is that child right in the head?? Seriously.) While at the cemetary, we did see family.... but Illinois Ma also pointed out old boyfriends. "Oh, I dated that guy over there!" "And I think I dated this guy here..."

There were really old headstones from 1800s. Many in German or Dutch (shhhh - don't tell anyone, I don't really know the difference)

The 11 yr old neice, Tia, who just can't be right in the head to want to hang with us in cemetaries.

We also visited Furry Husband's buddy, Jeff. Jeff is the program manager at a local t.v. station where he directs the 5 pm and 10 pm news programs. We got a behind the scenes tour - got some pix taken on the set and sat in the program room to watch it all go down. It was pretty cool - all the "mic 1 - now open mic 2" "cut to camera 3" "watch the lead in..." "run the clip" It is VERY busy behind the scenes of your local news!

We told Illinois Ma to stay up and watch cuz she might see us - Jeff had them pan to the production room on the credits where we all waved. We called to ask if she'd seen us - she had gone to BED! Wha?? Illinois Ma! We had our 2 seconds of fame and you WENT TO BED???

Me sitting on the set for "The Paula Sands Show". Furry husband told me Illinois Ma would LOVE this picture cuz she simply LOVES Paula Sands. Right. Shows you how much Furry Husband knows. We showed Illinois Ma this picture, first of all had to tell her it was the Paula Sands set only to be told she hates that woman and finds her completely annoying!

The funny thing to me about this news set? The chairs we are sitting on are regular office chairs that roll around. There are 2 steps leading up to the stage where these chairs and this desk are. There is a lip all the way around the stage to prevent chairs from rolling backward off the stage and down the 2 steps. You know that had to have happened to someone at some point and they had to build a lip to prevent it from happening again....that makes me laugh!

Jeff's fists clenched in rage - "the next person who misses the cue for camera 3 dammit is gonna meet my fists o' fury!"

After the news cast, we went to an angry hippie brew pub. I didn't see any angry hippies personally, but one of the camera guys plays drums in a band. His band had played last weekend and he said the place was crawling with angry hippies. I'll take his word for it. The beer was cold and tasty and we talked it up with the graphics, camera and field reporter people.

I told Jeff our next stop when we left IL was my high school reunion. It came up that I'd gone to an all girls catholic school called Mercy. He asked me if there would be any girls there that Furry Husband would go gaga over.

Uhhhh - hello? Jeff? He is with ME. He goes gaga over ME. S'ok. No offense taken. I'm sure Jeff has some warped image of an all girls school filled with giggling, scantily clad girls having pillow fights in the halls.

I spent one morning with Illinois Ma while Furry Husband played disc golf with Jeff. Illinois Ma and I pulled all her family quilts out of the closet. I heard the stories behind the quilts, who made them, the quilts her Mom made that she helped with, the quilt she got on her wedding day from her Grandmother... the quilts she's made. They were all beautiful - the time and effort going into them and the people who made them - not to mention the different fabrics and patterns. Then we laid out the quilt squares she and I have been making, (we are making a mom-in-law, daughter-in-law quilt) we decided on the border/sashes and went to a fabric store to buy what will make up the rest of the quilt top. I told her that I'd keep it a few months and then send it to her for a few months so we can both use it and admire it.

It was a short visit but a good one. She was really happy we came and we both enjoyed our time with her as well. And I did not see another ga-zillapede the entire time, so yeah, that one from our first night MUST'VE followed us in!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Corn, corn and more corn....

The Blue Angels started our trip across the Midwest to see Furry Husband's Ma and my Ma-In-Law. I realized 30 minutes into our trip that I forgot tennis shoes and all I had for shoes were the flip flops on my feet. We stopped at Sierra Trading Post to see if I could pick up a cheap pair o' shoes and maybe Furry Husband could score some shorts. We pull in and there are cops all over the place directing traffic with their flashers going.

Cars were pulled over EVERYWHERE. People were in lawn chairs in the back of their pick-up trucks - whole families in lawn chairs - baby lawn chair - mama lawn chair - poppa lawn chair - in the back of their truck - along the side of the highway. People lined up all over the place. We are looking around thinking wtf?? I asked in the store.... oooohhhhhhh.

It was Cheyenne Frontier Days week and on one of those days the Blue Angels do an air show and fly over. We were ringing up our purchase when you heard this increasingly loud rumble/scream over the building... I guess they were starting! We went outside and spent a good 5 minutes watching. Looked at each other - "you ready?" "I'm ready" "K - lets get goin'"
Then there was corn..... And more corn.
I noticed that many of the towns in Nebraska and Iowa decorated their water towers. I remember water towers growing up in NE, but I guess I don't know what their purpose is. Well - duh - to hold water...but why?? One town we passed through at night and their water tower was all lit up... if I squinched my eyes and thought REAL hard, I could almost liken it to the Eiffel Tower at night! (riiiiggghhhht. and this is when you know you've seen wayyy too much corn)
Oh - there is this monument they built in Kearny (pronounced carny - as in "that bearded lady is a carny" or maybe like carnie - as in "change the radio station, I don't like that Carnie Wilson song")Our friend Al in Denver tells us that people from all over stop to view this monument. I can tell you it was not around in the 17 yrs I lived in NE. I don't know why they built this monument over "beautiful" I-80, but there you have it folks! Uh, we did not stop to go in the monument.

This picture is Furry Husband's and is for any person with testosterone that might be reading this blog.
This struck me as funny. Really? THE cleanest? How do they quality control that? Do they have people posted up and down I-80 in EVERY bathroom? Every fast food joint? Every rest area? Every gas station? How do they know they are the CLEANEST??? It could send you into the corn fields for days - weeks - months... well at least until harvest time meditating on the answer.
And again. This is probably more quantifiable... you could probably run some financials, or look at property deeds to see who has the biggest.... but we did not stop to take in this great wonder along I-80 as we needed to be on our way....
This also struck me as funny. I don't know why. Even cross road truckers need haircuts and I expect most hairdressers or stylists don't have parking lots equipped for your average 18 wheeler....

Did you know that Hastings, NE claims to be the town where Kool-Aid was invented? There is a museum there.
And there is a really big Dutch museum somewhere in Iowa and many little Dutch/German shops along I-80 in that state. Why did so many Dutch people make their home in the Midwest? They come into a major port on the East Coast and head to the middle of the country to set camp. Interesting...and yet, not interesting enough that I will lose sleep or begin an in depth study of it.
We travelled for 14 hours. We started in CO, went through WY, NE, IA and finally into IL. 5 states in 1 day. Yowza.

We made it to Rock Island, Illinois at about 11:30 pm central time. We called Illinois Ma several times to let her know of our progress. The first call I made and she said, "oh! It's so quiet. There are no honking horns or anything." Furry Husband and I laughed a while about that one. I guess I wouldn't expect to hear honking horns as you were headed down a major Interstate at 85 mph?
When we got to her house, we pulled into the garage, brought in our things and I went right to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth.
There was a GA-ZILLAPEDE in the bathroom sink. It had a gazillion legs and was running laps unable to get out. I ran to Furry Husband, my face dripping wet and covered in soap.... I am whispering in my most quiet "emergency" voice - "YOU MUST KILL IT! GO TO THE BATHROOM! THE SINK.... IN THE BATHROOM .... GET SOMETHING .... THE SINK!"
At this point Illinois Ma comes out of her bedroom and Furry Husband tells her about the ga-zillapede. This woman's house is spotless. She exclaims, "Oh! Well it wasn't there when I went to bed! It must've followed you in."
She was absolutely serious.
Yes. The ga-zillapede followed us in. I'm sure you are right. It followed us in, was faster than our long human legs - cuz it has a ga-zillon compared to our measly two and it beat me to the bathroom sink.

Big Wave and Thank-you!

This morning while Furry Husband and I were up and being oh so healthy by going for a 3 mile walk with the dogs - 5 hearts, 3 leashes, 1 goal.

An older man with a full white beard like Santa Claus passed us in his car with his window rolled down giving us a big, friendly wave. We of course waved back and then talked about all the different waves we get out in the country.

Everyone acknowledges you out here. Sometimes you get the barely imperceptible head nod. Other times as someone drives by, their hand is on the 12:00 position of the steering wheel and they will raise their index finger to "wave". The more friendly people will raise all 4 fingers. If someone actually lifts their other hand to raise up - not wave it - but hold it up much like you would imagine someone in court swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - well that is just downright outgoing!

So today to get a big, friendly, wave - actual movement of the wrist and hand as they drove past ... and now that I think of it, he also had a big grin on his face ... well, it was really an odd sight to behold at 6am on our little dirt road!

There is a house on our way into town - right off of the paved 2 lane highway where many a car fly by. It is a great big house that someone had built and we watched it going up every day on the way to work for at least a year. There are even columns in front of this house it is so huge and they painted it light peach. Remember that color combo back in the 80's - peach and black? It's that color. The people that live there are slowly landscaping their front "lawn". We have no idea who they are.

Furry Husband has taken to honking his horn and waving enthusiatically out his window every time those people are out in front of their house.... they always wave back, stop what they are doing to watch our car head down the hwy and look more than a little perplexed. This makes me giggle. Furry Husband cracks me up on a daily basis. You know those people are wondering - "who IS that?!?"

And for the 9 people who read my posts... I am jumping up and down and giving you all a big wave hello with both hands! You see, I added this little map to the side of my post that will put red dots wherever someone is reading my blog. I thought it would stay this lonely, empty map devoid of red dots and I was posting to the black hole of the internet - it's not as if the things I write about are important, earth-shattering events after all.

Furry Husband came into the bedroom this morning before I had hauled myself outta bed to tell me there was another red dot. My eyes opened right up .... "for reals?! you aren't making it up?"

It's like Christmas getting up and opening my blog to see red dots on my map! Thank-you!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

FOCO Girls Gone Derby....

This morning Pansy and Barista, our favorite neighbors, called to tell us they were going to a ROLLER DERBY tonight at the Budweiser Events Center. I've read roller derby write ups in the Denver paper and had no idea Ft. Collins had a team!

We are so in. We went to dinner at the Rio Grande for Mexican food and they have KILLER margaritas. Then we headed over to the event center to watch girls skate and fight. How cool is that?

The rink was cement with an oval track taped out. There is a jammer - a player with a star on her helmet and they are the only ones who can score in a jam. There is a pack consisting of pivots who set the pace of the jam and blockers who protect their team jammer and try to destroy the opposing team's jammer.

The girls all wore different bottoms...tights, short skirts, short shorts, fishnet stockings, funky striped socks ...they all had team t-shirts on with killer names. Things like "Iona Switchblade" or "Pepper Slay". My personal favorite was " The Panty Christ "

There were people of all ages - and I do mean ALL ages. We sat next to some sweet looking little ol' grammas. There were like 8 yr old girls holding up signs on poster board that said: MANGLE 'EM LAURA. No lie. They played music during the hour long bout consisting of several 2 minute jams. Music like Billy Idol, Salt N' Peppa, Pat Benatar - Hit me with your best shot, Kung Fu Fighting , Groove is in the Heart , Pump Up the Jam ... it was great! There was a lot of checking and blocking and dang - them girls go down hard! And sometimes there are multi-girl pile ups. It really was good humor.
The derby gals and many fans had a lot of tatoos - I felt woefully uninked. I bought a FOCO Derby Girls sticker and on the way home we thought of kewl derby names. I think mine would be Meet E. B. Ver --- there is a story behind that but maybe another time.

The next bout is set for October 25 at a skate rink in Ft. Collins. I am so marking my calendar!

Another one bites the dust...

I am sad to say that Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy is selling out. They will continue to make delicious goat cheese, however, they will be using a milk supplier vs. their own dairy goat herd.

I know farms that sold does to Haystack. I've heard of other goat dairies going under, but this is a dairy I've been to. Walked through. Learned from. They are only an hour away from me. It hits me much more personally. I was thinking of them while I was online ordering some more cheese making supplies for my feta, cheddar, fromage blanc... all my home made cheeses that I share with my friends and enjoy myself.

When we began learning about dairy goats, we'd go on weekend goat outings. One of our adventures led us to Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy owned by Jim Schott in Niwot, CO. We called Haystack and spoke to the herd manager about wanting to own dairy goats. She was very kind and professional and arranged a tour for us. She gave us a lot of great information about starting our own micro herd.

Haystack has been in business for at least 16 years and were one of the truly unique and interesting local agricultural businesses in Northern Colorado. Thousands have walked through their doors for tours and to buy delicious cheeses.

Dairies are a hard business. Feeding, vet care, housing, milking, breeding and caring for the dairy goats requires a lot of time, specific equipment and money. Haystack is yet another story of a small, local business having to cut back with bad economic times.

I know they will still be making their cheeses.... but somehow selling thier herd of 108 milking does seems like an awful big loss. Less grassroots... less real. People visiting Haystack could see the animals making milk for the delicious cheese they bought. They could SEE where their food was coming from. So many people go to the store never thinking about where their food really comes from. Everything is so sterilized and packaged and merchandised....

Now when people go to Longmont Creamery for a tour - they will see a large stainless steel milk tanker pull up, lots of tubes and holding tanks and equipment in a large sterile building. They'll never see the very beginning of the cheese making process....they won't see the animal whether it is a cow, sheep or goat.

To me, that is a very, very sad thing.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

To tide you over...

Until I can get the pix of our whirlwind trip to the Midwest in order and uploaded, I'll let you in on the story behind our little cattle dog mix's name. Bequia - pronounced beck-way and no, we do not call her Beck or Becky for short...we say her full name Bequia.

You do not even want to know how Bequia scored these Mardi Gras beads....oh the horror and shame of it all!

When Furry Husband and I were going to get married - it was maybe a month or two before we said "I Do" to each other when my very first dog, Osti - an aussie shepherd/bloodhound mix, died at age 10. A few weeks later, Furry Husband's very first dog, Conan - an akita, died at age 10. We were both just absolutely devastated. I was so heartbroken that I never wanted another dog ever. I didn't want to go through that pain ever again.

Furry Husband was different. He was like a ghost of a person without a dog. He just looked so lost without man's best friend in his life.

We knew there would be another dog in our lives but the timing wasn't so good. We didn't want to get a dog right before a wedding when we would be so busy and there would be so many different people in and out of our house and then we'd be gone for a 2 week honeymoon.

We got hitched and went on our honeymoon - a Windjammer cruise in the Caribbean...we started in Grenada and went to these little Caribbean islands - Carriacou, Bequia, Mayreau, Union, St. Vincent and then back to Grenada to fly home.
Bequia was our favorite island. It is a traditional whaling island - people who lived there made their living by whaling using little man made boats back in the day. It was a very pretty island and for whatever reason - we just loved it. It "clicked" with us. However, there were a lot of poor island dogs on Bequia.... skinny, scroungy, afraid of people and probably LOADED with parasites of every shape and size.

We had lunch somewhere that day and I gave 1/2 of my sandwhich to a uniquely friendly, red dog with upright bat like ears, medium size, no tail and on the thin side. I didn't touch him cuz I figured I'd get mange or a flea infestation or ringworm or lord knows what. We were supposed to bring back 1 bottle of wine per person from a local Bequia store for a wine and cheese night festivity on the boat so we left the restaurant in search of wine...

The evening started with wine and cheese. After an hour or so, we were supposed to have dinner. Well by that time, I was drinking straight from whatever bottle of wine I had grabbed and I was leading our dinner table in a loud chorus of "two foot, six foot, eight foot - BUNCH, daylight come and me wanna go hoooooome"

Now that I am completely plowed - they herd all us wobbly, drunk, stupid tourists onto a small boat going to shore for dancing at a club. Outside of the club is this friendly island dog hanging around hoping for some food. It's the same dog I fed at lunch. Now that I am uninhibited by ANY kind of common sense, I promptly pick up the dog and I am carrying it around like a baby and calling it Fluff.

Uh oh. I get a severe case of drunk tunnel vision.

I won't go into the club but stay outside with Fluff. I don't want to leave the island and leave Fluff. I am trying to talk our very stately, German captain who is retired from the German version of Navy Seals into letting me take Fluff on the ship - pleading and promising that I'd clean up after Fluff and I'd take good care of him and I'd pay extra money to just save this one dog.

I'm sure you can all see where this is going.

I ended up back on the ship without my beloved Fluff. I stormed into our little cabin and yelled at Furry Husband, "YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT THE ISLAND DOGS!". Crawled into this little upper bunk bed and passed out.


This IS our honeymoon after all.

I woke up the next day wondering what animal might have actually shit IN my mouth. I put a hand to my aching head and try not to vomit. A vivid picture of what happened the night before flooded my brain.....

Oh man. Oh.... Oh geez!

After I brushed my teeth, I apologized to my sweetie pateetie who was wondering what exactly did he get himself into by marrying me. While he was figuring THAT out, I went to see the captain. I was very sheepish and apologized for my behavior.

All was forgiven. Both by the captain and more importantly by my sweetie pateetie!

When we returned home, we immediately went to our local animal shelter, the Denver Dumb Friends League. We looked around and made a list of the dogs we wanted to see. The first dog we met was being called Angel by the staff. She was a young female cattle dog mix. She was perfect. We fell in love with her immediately and threw away the list of other dogs to "interview". Once she was spayed by the shelter, we picked her up, brought her home and named her Bequia in honor of all the poor island dogs we could not save.