Friday, July 30, 2010

Wild Kingdom

When I was little it was a big deal to watch Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins. It came on every Sunday at 6pm I think... I loved that show.

I still watch Discovery, PBS and National Geographic channel documentaries on nature and animals. I'm just weird like that.

I was scooping string algae out of my little pond with a net the other night and I scooped up a little tadpole. It had all it's legs and still had it's tail... very cute! I called Furry Husband over to see and we were gazing into the pond to see if we could spot more.

That is when this garter snake began to emerge from the side of the pond. It was wriggling and moving and seemed to come right out of nowhere.... and as it emerged, little tiny froggies jumped out of the water onto the sides of the pond and onto lilly pads.

The snake was most definitely not drowning but hunting and the froggies knew it. It was if Marlin Perkins stepped into my back yard. Wild Kingdom right there in my pond!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


About this time of the year, we have flies.

We put up those sticky fly trap things, we hang the fly trap bags. They are covered and filled with flies... it's all really disgusting.

And it doesn't really control the flies because when I'm milking goats, there are still flies everywhere. And when I ride, there are flies, flies and more flies and the little suckers bite!

Last year we tried fly predators for the first time. What are fly predators? They are these teeny, tiny little insects smaller than gnats. The predators don't kill existing flies; they lay their eggs in fly larvae killing any flies to be. We bought them at the height of fly season last year.

This year, before the flies were able to multiply, I bought some fly predators from the feed store. They come in a sealed bag, stored in the fridge. The bag rests at room temperature for 2-7 days until you see tiny, widdle, bugs in there. That's when you cut the bag open and sprinkle the predators around your place. You should spread new fly predators once a month during fly season... for us, that is 3 maybe 4 mos. of the year.

Today, I have 2 or 3 flies keeping me company while I milk goats. We haven't had to put out any fly traps and the outdoors are so much nicer without flies!

I decided to check out the company that sells these wonderful little bugs on-line. Sometimes our feed store keeps the predators too long in the fridge, they get old and don't hatch. Figured if I went directly to the source I wouldn't run into that problem.

Spaulding Labs are cheaper than the feedstore even with shipping... check 'em out!

I placed an order and I ordered some for my sister.

I never did hear back from her about a time she was free for me to treat her to a birthday lunch or outing. I remembered her commenting how many flies were around her yard.... so happy birthday sis! Enjoy your fly predators!

What do you think? A little too unconventional? grin.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Greek yogurt and nipplage

I put a tank top on the other morning cuz it was hot out. This particular tank top has this built in "bra" which is really more of a pain in the arse than anything, but I'm too stubborn to toss this tank top out and even tho' I don't like it because of the weird bra thingy I still wear it.

I was brushing my teeth and I noticed in my bathroom mirror reflection something that looked like my nipple. Only it was sort of on the bottom of my breast and it was pointing straight down.

I had this flash of, "Oh. Geez. Oh. Wow. I really AM old cuz look at my nipple. It's on the bottom of my boob and it's staring at the floor!" and then I reached up to feel because it was so bizzare looking and I really thought it was my nipple.

Nope. It was that stupid built in bra thing.... there was some bunchy material there.

Oh. Well. SHEW!

I'm NOT that old ..... yet.

And now the recipe for Greek yogurt:

*1 quart of whole goat/sheep/cow/yak/water buffalo (whichever you may own) milk. We doubled the recipie because: go large or go home!

*Spoon 2 Tbl of said milk into a bowl and stir in 2 Tbl of full fat yogurt with live active cultures. Set aside for now.

*Bring the milk into a boil. (be careful with this step! we let milk boil for an ice cream recipe and it boiled right over onto the stove top in the blink of an eye... HUGE mess.) We were a little too chicken to bring the milk to boil (see italics) but it was hot and moving around like it was breathing in the pot.

*Take milk off the heat, and let it stand without stirring until it reaches 100. (I forgot and stirred... and I also put it in an ice bath so I wouldn't have to wait very long because I am impatient that way...)

*A skin will form on the top (this did not happen with mine but like I said... I stirred it and I am impatient), using a table knife, make a slit in the skin and pour the milk/yogurt mixture in. Cover the milk with a kitchen towel and move the yogurt into your oven.

*Turn your oven light on (oh, Furry Husband laughed and laughed at the "turn your oven light on" step) and let it stand for 16 hours.

*Using a skimmer/slotted spoon, lift the skin off the top of the yogurt and discard (or feed to the dog(s)). Carefully ladle the yogurt into a sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth and refrigerate until much of the whey is drained and the yogurt is thick - at least 4 hours.

*Transfer to a bowl and serve.

We added honey to taste as a sweetner and strawberries for fruit to ours.

It was definitely thicker than previous yogurt attempts and if I had been patient.... it may have gotten thicker...but I didn't let it drain long enough. It was at least 4 hrs, but I think there was still a lot of whey to drain. I should have scraped the sides of the cheese cloth to take away the thick yogurt and let the thin drain more whey....

Give it a whirl and let me know how yours turns out! It was pretty easy schmeasy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Keep Norman in your thoughts...

This is Norman. He doesn't belong to us, but we babysit him when his parents go out of town. He is a big, sweet lug and he's only 4 1/2 yrs old.
His Mom called me last night crying. He's been diagnosed with Wobblers Disease. The options aren't good. Not good at all.
Norman is her first dog. She waited all through college and after until she and her sweetie had a house, the time, the money to get her first dog. She had always wanted a German Shepherd Dog and Norman has been loved and pampered. He goes everywhere with them... camping, hiking, he goes to work each day with his Dad.
My friend is completely devoted to him. She has some hard choices ahead of her, none of them with a very rosy outcome.
Her heart is breaking.
My heart is breaking for her.
Keep Norman and my friends in your thoughts, would you please? Now go have a good weekend and give all your dogs a big ol' hug and a kiss from me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dairy, Dairy, Dairy....

(Udders, udders and more udders. This is THE money shot in the dairy goat world. These are Marilou Webb of SouthFork Lamanchas spectactular girls and where my does come from... these are probably their cousins...)

I LOVE me sum dairy products! Reason numero uno why I wanted dairy goats.

Before we brought them home, we went on goat adventures every weekend. Non-goat people told us how disgusting goat milk would be. "You are gonna DRINK that crap?! Ewwwwwww!"

Hoo boy, if I had a nickle for every time someone told me how gross goat milk was, I'd be a rich goat-milkin' woman.

We tried us some goat milk at one stop of a goat adventure weekend. It was ice cold. It was pasteurized. It came served in a cold glass complete with condensation running down the sides like a Coke commercial...

Furry Husband and I looked at each other...

"You try it."

"No. YOU try it"

"YOU try it!"

I closed my eyes and wrinkled my nose... I sniffed it....

Didn't smell any different than regular ol' milk. Huh.

I took a deep breath and I took a sip.

My eyes opened in surprise. A grin spread across my face. Milk! It tastes just like milk! It's wonderful and cold and creamy and sweet and milky. There was NO goat flavor AT ALL.

I have NO idea what those other people are talkin' 'bout. Maybe they found a half dead dairy goat and sucked right off of it's shrivelled, dirty, dying teat?

Now it's my secret mission to spread the goat love one person at a time. We let people try our milk in blind taste tests next to whole cow's milk from the store. All but ONE person in six years points to the store bought cow milk with a superior gleam in their eye, "THAT one! That is the goat milk!"


Gotta love the goat. Pay homage to the goat milk, suckah.

I found a recipe for Greek yogurt from our July Food & Wine magazine issue. I have half a gallon of it in our oven ripening as I type. It should be ready to drain around lunch time and ready to eat tonight. I have strawberries at the ready to chop and mix in...

I'll share the recipe if it turns out.

Tonight we make chocolate ice cream....

Over the weekend we made glorious chevre cheese flavored several ways..... honey & cinnamon, basil & sun dried tomatoes, garlic & dill, Sriracha hot sauce & green chilies, herbs de provance....I took the cheese to our feed store. The fellas wanted to try a bunch. Ben, the head feed store dude asked me what I recommended to go with the cheese.

I told him

"Crackers, chips, bread, veggies... anything that gets the cheese to your mouth! "

Oh how I do love those wunnerful, delightful, milk-giving goaties!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Susan and Toe

Last year was THE year for planting. Our yard was very much hard pack red clay soil, bind weed, kocia weed and grasshoppers.

Can you say Deliverance?

A neighbor had a tree taken out... she had mulch coming out her ears and had the tree guys dump a truck load of mulch in our driveway.

A friend sent me an e-mail about her perennial garden needing to be thinned. I brought home a zillion garbage bags full of dirt and plants. Literally a zillion. I counted. 1.... 2..... 3..... 4.....

I worked like a crazy person with buggy eyes, a slick sheen of sweat on my skin, ropey veins pulsing in time to every shovel full o' dirt I dug in order to get everything in the ground and mulch all around.

Now it looks pretty nice at our little place. Things other than weeds are growing and I don't have to worry so much about learning to play the banjo. Fine instrument that it is.

One area I planted Black Eyed Susans... the Susans did not appear this spring. I was disappointed but kept watch.

Lo and behold... ONE scraggly, very sick looking Black Eyed Susan emerged. It developed a bud and was trying it's hardest to blossom.

I pointed it out to Furry Husband. Just then Toe, our dog, came into the picture. He promptly squatted over the single, struggling Susan and pooped squarely on top of it.

Furry Husband burst into gales of laughter.

I dug up the poor, valiant, albiet stinky, Susan and moved it to another spot.

Let's hope Toe isn't drawn to it's new home to lay waste.... fingers crossed my little forlorn looking Black Eyed Susan is much happier in her new home.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Horses and pool parties...

Mrs. Kravitz invited me and another gal that rides at the barn to her house to go swimming. She has an above ground pool... she made margaritas and had some chips with dip.

It was a 100 degree day and a pool party sounded purty good to me!

The other gal invited is 28, with long, long legs, rides well, and looks amazing in a bikini.


Hope no one minded my bulges! Grin.

While we were swimming, Mrs. Kravitz told us that she told Mr. Kravitz he could NOT come into the pool while we were swimming. She told us that she was always really grossed out when she was a little girl by old, hairy men in the pool.

I looked at her open mouthed, "Mrs. Kravitz, he is your HUSBAND! It is so NOT the same thing!"

"Yes, it is. He has a hairy chest and it's turning grey just like those gross, disgusting, old men when I was a little girl!" she replied in a smug and justified way.

"NO! That is not the same thing - YOU are MARRIED to him and you SLEEP with him every night. You are the same age!"

I almost drowned laughing.

Just then Mrs. Kravitz looks over and sees Mr. Kravitz standing near the chips and dip on the back patio. She gets this panicky look in her eye and hisses "Look! Look at him! He's eating all our food! Look at his mouth! Look how busy his mouth is!"

Sure 'nuff. There is Mr. Kravitz, mouth chewing, marg in one hand, waving at us with a chip in the other....

Poor Mr. Kravitz.

Lucky for him, Furry stopped by on his way home from work and the boys were "allowed" poolside.

Hilarious. I guess you have to know them.... Mr. Kravitz wears hearing aids (years spent rocking out in a band ruined his ears) and simply takes them out when Mrs. Kravitz really gets going.

Constant entertainment. Really. Bless their hearts.


I had another great weekend of horse lessons. Poor Furry Husband. I was taking lessons on ONE horse regularly. My costs have doubled, because I'm taking lessons each week on TWO horses. Yikes.

I don't wanna stop taking lessons with Rosso since my comfort level is coming back. I don't want the fear of him to return. And while my comfort is coming back, I'm still not totally comfortable yet if that makes sense.

I'm beginning to enjoy Rosso and my lessons are good - leg yielding, we introduced shoulder fore and we are cantering 20 meter circles. He's been floppy eared and perfectly willing to work.

I still don't look forward to his lesson like I do with my mare, Sera. I guess I'm waiting to have an argument with him and see who comes out on top. (Hopefully ME!) Rex thinks that it may never happen. It really might have been pain and now that he is comfy he is willing.

Me? I'm not so sure just yet. But hey, I'm on him and I'm riding him.

Sera is doing great... my sitting trot is coming along. Rex gave me some pointers.... push my forehead out a little like I'm pressing it against an imaginary wall to keep my neck more stable and shock absorbing. Push my feet into my stirrups and use my ankles in a way that they absorb the bounce so my feet move more up and down vs. bouncing out and sideways. Keep my elbows tight against my torso. It's working. I'm sitting much better.

Tho', to be honest when I post Sera seems to fly!

Would be nice if I could sit THAT trot.

Practice makes perfect.

Or so I hear.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Made it!

I made it through my first week back from vacation... *sniffle* I'm not crying anymore. (much)

The weekend looks good... lessons Sat and Sun on both red-headed horses, Sera and Rosso.

Barn cleaning... always a nice introspective couple o' hours with horses, shavings and stalls. (and a minor work out as well - bonus!)

Swimming over at Mrs. Kravitz's house.

Helping a friend put together a drip irrigation system so I get a preview of what to install at our house.

My sister is hosting a birthday party this weekend for herself and her daughter. Baby is 2 this year. She invited about a million people and while I went last year I am really uncomfortable around large crowds of her friends. I feel "on display" and defensive.

I get introduced and people's eyes widen and they say, "YOU'RE her sister?" Yeah, yeah. We were estranged for a couple years and I absolutely know there are two sides to every story. I don't want to know how I was portrayed. I made the monumental effort last year to attend and this year decided I don't want to.

I responded to her invite by saying I was uncomfortable in the larger party scene and if she would give me other dates she was available, I'd love to come to Denver and spend some time with her on a much smaller, more intimate level. Maybe we could do lunch or take the baby to a park to play?

She never responded.

I'm not going to fret about it. The ball is in her court and if she chooses to blow me off? It's totally fine with me and I don't have any hard feelings. I have plenty o' things to keep me occupied, content and happy.

Just sayin' my first reaction was to chase after her and get a response or to come to the party anyway to show I was still making an effort for our relationship. Meh. Takes two people.

And really - I'm not at all upset or miffed. I guess my point is that I was able to step back, look at the situation in an unemotional way and decide it was now her responsibility to respond and my responsibility to get on with my life over here. In other words, "Let it go."

Ha! Lookit me actin' all grow'd up! Yay! We'll see if I can keep it goin'. grin.

Now y'all go off and have yourselves a most fabulous weekend! Tell me what mischief or fun you found when we all get back on Monday! Deal?

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I had a good ride on Sera last night. I read over the Second Level Dressage tests and we can do all the movements but I worry about my brain retaining the tests! Especially learning four tests that all have similar movements in different orders... they can jumble up together in my brain.

Showing is friggin' spendy. It's giving me a little heart burn to tell you the truth.

I will enter the Cheyenne WY show August 7 & 8 for sure. Not positive we can swing the Estes Park show... that show nickles and dimes ya to death! It closes August 8th which gives me time to think on it.

Anyway, with three weeks til Cheyenne, Sera and I practiced the downward transition from medium canter back to collected... sometimes she likes to keep going strong and the downward transition is u-g-l-y. She was good last night tho!

We worked on our simple changes (canter to walk and from the walk back to canter). We did them down the long side, through diagnonals and serpentines, in figure 8's. She is pretty solid there.

Practiced our backing... she can come up above the bit, shuffle without clear footfalls or go crooked.

And I practiced sitting the medium trot. Hoo boy. That's a killer. Maybe the judge will be kind because she/he will be doubled over in laughter?

Now I'll begin to memorize tests and put it all together... a true test to see if she's on the aids and ready for whatever I ask of her!

After riding, I brought Toe out in the front pasture (near the chickens that he wants to eat... figure they are a good distraction!) and practiced our heeling, sits, downs, 3 and 5 minute stays, figure 8 heeling, swing, stand.... would be great to get his novice obedience title this fall/winter along with his tracking title! Then we can move on to rally ... agility.... and a hunt title.

After having our big ol' Booker dog and I got SO burned out with showing. The conformation ring wasn't my thing and the obedience work I was doing became less and less fun and more and more negative for me and Booker. When you aren't having fun anymore, what is the point? Too much time, money and work goes into it. No reason to be miserable!

I wanna have fun with Toe and experience a little bit of everything. Keep things light and positive. Whatever we really enjoy, we can pursue further. I know tracking is on my list of things to continue with.

Thought it might be fun to get basic titles on him in events I've never done before; see what they are all about.

What are you guys working on this summer? What do you hope to accomplish? Tell, tell!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Milk and vaccinations....

It was goat kid vaccination day yesterday. Furry Husband usually holds them and I stick 'em with the needle. They jump and I usually have to stick them more than once, always fearing I'm going to stab my finger...

I had a light bulb moment.

We only have 3 babies to vaccinate.

I pulled one out and while Furry Husband held the baby on his lap feeding said kid it's evening bottle o' milk... I snuck up and vaccinated. The kids didn't even flinch.

They were too busy slurping milk and snorting like piglets... nom nom nom....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Everything comes to an end....

Vacation is over.

Can you hear me sobbing?

It was a such wonderful week I wish I could have a summer break like when I was in school... 3 mos... heck, I'd even take 1 measly lil' month.

Ah well. Back to the bricks to earn my paycheck that affords me the horses, goats, chickens, dogs, cats etc. etc.

We headed to a Rockies game Thursday. Nuthin' says summer like beer and dogs in a ballpark. Our buddy got tix from his Coors rep so we had great seats 13 rows up from the field in foul ball territory. (yes, we drank Coors beer. I don't think you can drink any other kind when you are in the Coors seats. It's the law.) I told the fellas it was up to them to catch any foul balls and protect my face. heh.

Furry Husband left Friday morning to play in the Colorado Disc Golf Championships, leaving me to my own devices. (He came in 5th place - way to go Furry!)

The Colorado Chicken took her mare on another trail ride. Sera was holding her head funny and her ears were flat out sideways like helicopter propellers. She didn't feel like she was going to spook or like she was hurting but she was so funny with her head. ?? I would stop her, pull her face toward me and scratch it thinking she had a big horsefly or something on her nose.

Turns out it was the grasshoppers.

She was highly offended by them pinging off of her chest, legs and nostrils. Who can blame her? I hate bugs that jump out at you... and you all know that in grade school I went to Christ Child Camp (gag) where some poor girl in a neighboring cabin put on her panties with a giant friggin GRASSHOPPER in the crotch... sent her screaming and running around the camp grounds... and gives me the willies just to THINK about a grasshopper anywhere near my naughty bits.

I had a great lesson on Rosso - we are making strides on our partnership, trust and my fear issues with the giant red gelding... I'm beginning to LIKE him vs. looking at him like he might kill me.

I had a fantastic lesson on Sera the next day... she is coming back into work wonderfully. Maybe a show or two in August? Will we get 2 scores of 60% or better to get closer to my USDF Bronze medal? Fingers crossed!

Toe ate another damn mushroom... we tried to make him vomit with peroxide but he has a cast iron will and he is a complete food whore. He decided he would KEEP that mushroom in his guts. He was fine. Tho' we had our neighbor Mrs. Kravitz check on him (she is a top nurse at the CSU vet hospital so she knows her stuff)

She called to say, "There is something wrong with Toe. His tail keeps wagging and it won't stop. I think his tail is seizing."

Funny Mrs. Kravitz! See why we love her even tho' she watches us with binoculars?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Conifer Disc Golf

This is the first tee.... see the basket alllllll the way up there? Heckuva climb! 1/2 way up my legs said WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Such a beautiful day - mountains - blue sky - and lots of trees... so glad I don't actually play disc golf and can just hike and watch! (and of course ooooooo and ahhhhhh at Furry Husband's disc prowess like a good wife-y)

Another basket through all the pines... do you see it?
Me and The Toe....

Oh, the wildflowers were gorgeous...Colorado Bluebells, Indian Paintbrush, Penstemon, Yarrow, Alpine Daisies, Columbine... everywhere. Toe was hot but I made him lie in a sunny patch with Indian Paintbrush for a pix... I love that there are little pine cones scattered at his feet. Such a CO setting... Colorado Toe!

Furry Husband, disc golf bag and Toe-ster....

There was one little hole in the ground potty mid-way through the course and being who I am, I take every opportunity to pee when it presents itself!
I walked in and a little bird flew out a hole in the window. I stood on the box covering the hole in the ground because I suspected....
And lookit! How cute!

After 20 baskets of disc golf, we were all hot... Toe refreshed in a mountain stream ...

And it makes him have funny, skinny, chicken wing legs!

We packed a lunch and had a picnic before heading back down the mountain. Once home, a little storm blew in and by 7pm it was gone. I saddled up my mare and had a wonderful ride. I'd say it was a PERFECT start to our vacation!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Today is the first official day of my vacation! Furry Husband has 2 weeks a year and if he doesn't take them, he loses them. We are spending 1 week in September with his Mom in IL, and he took this week off. I thought... why not? I have the hours in my vacation bank, will be fun to have our little "stay-cation" and get some things done around here!

Yesterday we cleaned out our bunkhouse. We have this outbuilding with heat and electricity but no running water. Since our house is something like 800 sq ft, we use this outbuilding for storage...and it gets so full o' crap! So full in fact that I avoid going in there for fear I will never be seen again.

We pulled everything out and went through it.

We ended up with a station wagon FULL o' stuff to take to Goodwill, a giant trashcan full o' junk to toss out and some things I put on Craig's List or Ebay to see if we could make a little moola. (After all, I have my eye on 2 horse shows in August and Toe needs a portable, lightweight car kennel....)

2 book shelves

1 GIANT wire dog kennel (we have 2!)

1 telescope

1 set of small Toe size Utility obedience articles (I don't wanna take that many lessons or time to get to the Utility level!)

1 portable room swamp cooler

2 sets of snorkeling gear (let's face it, after the honeymoon, we are not ever going snorkeling again, we'd rather see wine country in Spain, France, Italy.... )

1 diecast collector model Ford Thunderbird 1955 car

1 chicken/bird egg incubator

1 weight bench

It felt great to clear stuff out AND find some things we'd forgotten.... like our SKY CHAIRS! Furry Husband hung them up and we literally hung out sippin' a cold one last night .... aahhhhhh.

Today we are headed up to Conifer and Bailey CO... Furry is gonna play a round or two of disc golf in prep for his state tournament this weekend and I'm taking Toe to hike around and enjoy the mountains.

Maybe we'll stop off in Pine at the beautiful open space park where we were married and head up to the ol' Buck Snort Saloon for a cold beer just like we did back in the days of yore....

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Old friends...

A friend from high school contacted me to let me know she'd be in CO for a family reunion thing and could we get together.

I haven't seen Becky since our 20 yr reunion and then it's so crowded and you want to talk to everyone, it's hard to get any 1 on 1 time to catch up. I was excited to have her come over!

We went to lunch at Beauregard's in Wellington. (named after the owner's dog... pictured) Furry Husband and I an Beau's...
Too bad Becky came when we had SO much rain... see the lake forming in the horse pens? Sera Sue looks quite disgruntled...

Becky is milking a goat! Bet she never thought that would happen in her lifetime. She woulda laughed me right outta the room in high school if I told her one day she'd milk a goat.

Bottle feeding babies... and evidently having more fun than would be considered "normal".

Whoa! Chocolate goat!

Ewww - another lake forming in the goat pen...

It was great to see Becky and catch up, she knows she's welcome at our house any time, such fun! She doesn't look much different to me than she did in high school but I know 20+ yrs have passed and while we are friends... now we are "old" friends!