Sunday, December 30, 2012

Everyone's ready for winter

The ponies have their blankets on. I waited till the second snow. Apache doesn't grow as much hair as Ben does. If I blanket them too early he stops growing. The first snow was mostly just a skiff. This second on he was wet and shivering just a little by mid afternoon.

The chickens got a heated waterer. I've been knocking the ice out of their bucket morning and evening, but I worry they don't get enough water in between. Scott gives them and Hello Bunny warmed water hoping it will take longer to freeze. So this morning he took me to Valley Co-Op and we got a heated waterer and a tarp. They don't care much for the snow. Two days ago I put the girls up in the top of the condo for the night. We'd had a stray cat take up residence in the bottom. Last evening I had to put their water up their with them as they weren't coming down the ramp. Again this morning I had to do the same.

We installed the waterer. Brought out an extension cord for power. Scott shoveled out the snow in the run. I spread out some oat hay to get them off the frozen ground and to give them something to scratch and peck in. Then Scott and I pulled the tarp over and tied it down. This will give them some protection from the snow. It took some coaching by Scott with some bread to get them to come down out of the top of the condo, but they scratched a round for a while, found the water, and huddled back up in the bottom of the condo. It's been snowing here since last night. A steady, gentle, non-stopping snow.

 Scott is building a box for me to store wood next to the fire place. It'll have the same cattail pattern to it as the bed he made me the first year we moved in.  Eventually all the furniture will be something Scott built with his own hands. We have plans for coffee table, end tables, shelves, a stand for the fish tank. All in iron with the same design. 

Pipe being heated to be hammered into cattails

Pat making cattails

Please people, remember to clean out your chimney!!! This is just the inside of the little topper that goes on top of the flue to the outside from out wood stove. It got cleaned out every other month last year. Scott got up on the roof before the first snow this year and cleaned everything out. We'd had a fire in the wood stove here and there over night, but it hadn't gotten to where we were running it all day and all night, and relying solely on the stove for heat.

As quoted from:
"Besides the raging blazes, slow burning fires can also take place within the chimney walls and you may never know these fires are going on. These fires may burn silently, but their silence is no indication of the harm they may cause, slow burning fires burn at incredibly high temperatures and can cause serious structural damage to the chimney as well as nearby walls of the home. "

Be safe this winter. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Garlic Ginger Chicken

I occasionally get lost on Pintrest. For hours. Really. Pintrest is like a mind sucking black hole that you don't even realize you've fallen into until you look up and realize hours have gone by, and you're looking at things three subjects removed from what you went on to look for in the first place. I did find a recipe I wanted to try the other day. Today I remembered finally to get some ginger while I was at the grocery store. 

Garlic Ginger Chicken

4 chicken breasts. (I cut these up when I buy them. I slice them horizontally to make them thin, and then in half to make them about palm size, and freeze. I just used two cut up into 8 pieces)
4 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 tablespoon grated ginger
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon oil
2 splashes soy sauce

Preheat oven to 500 (yes you read that right. I was kinda shocked at first too)
Lightly grease baking dish
Heat garlic in oil on med low heat till it just barely starts to brown
Add ginger and heat through
Add soy sauce and brown sugar
Remove from heat and stir until sugar mixes well
Salt and pepper chicken and place in baking dish
Spread garlic ginger mix evenly over chicken
Bake uncovered for 15-20 mins

I made rice with this. The pan juices were really good over the rice. I didn't season the chicken enough before adding the garlic ginger mix. Next time though I'll remember that chicken can take a lot of salt before tasting it. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Suasage balls, getting ready for the winter, calves are back, potato soup

I really like this picture. I'm not sure what appeals to me so much about it, but it does. It was taken quite a bit ago. I found it hiding on my camera. The camera has officially died. I'm so hard on them. I'm a clumsy clumsy girl, and I drop things. A lot. This is the camera Scott got for me two years ago for Christmas. It finally won't focus anymore. For a while it had a lens error show up on the screen, but if I turned it on and off a few times, it would resolve itself. No more. /sigh.  I'm stuck taking crappy pics with my phone for a while. I have a few to post today, and a recipe.

The title for this recipe is Sausage Balls. I didn't make it up. It's what they came with.
I pound any flavor you like sausage. I used the mild stuff from our Tasty Pig I had in the freezer
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 cups bisquick
2 shakes of red pepper flakes
2 shakes garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350
Smosh and mash cheese and sausage together with your hands. Add the a half cup or so of the Bisquick, the garlic salt, and the red pepper flakes and mash some more. Keep adding the Bisquick a half a cup or so at a time. Adding any more will make it a pain to mix in. As is, it's already tough to work in as you get to the last of the Bisquick. Once the ingredients are all mashed together well, spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray. Roll the mixture in your hands to form a ball a little smaller than a golf ball. I made mine a little bigger than that, but next time I would make them smaller.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 10 mins. My oven cooks a little hotter, so I set them at 340. Take the pan out and flip the balls over. They should have browned on the bottom by now. Back in the oven and bake for 15 more mins.
I liked them. Scott liked them. Next time I would not add garlic salt, and instead add just a clove or two of crushed garlic. They were salty enough without adding any. Scott says they are a keeper recipe.

These two shots were taken Oct 31st when Scott and I went up above Princess mine to go looking for a deer on the last day of hunting season. Mostly it was just to go for a ride, and see if the horses would behave while firing a big gun by them.

 Scott took a few days a little while back and on his days off, tore apart my, and his saddle, and gave them a deep, thorough cleaning. They both needed it terribly. 

The calves are back over and Andrea's next door. They spent some time over at BJ's mom's out on pasture, and just were over at our friend's, husband's, dad's pasture getting fat on grass. They are still little buggers, but they are Jersey steer, and those are dairy cows. They grow a lot slower, and have a lighter frame, and less meat than a beef cow. 

We had Lucas with us over the last weekend. We put a huge dent in the wood that needed to be cut, split, and stacked. The pile is a little over eight feet wide, a little over four foot tall, and I'm going to guess twelve foot long -ish. There is the two bottom shelves on the metal shelves by the back door in the garage filled as well. BJ next door let us use the wood splitter he had, and that made it go so much faster.  Lucas would put the eight foot logs up on the jig stand Scott built, Scott would wield the chainsaw cutting them into two foot lengths, and then I ran the splitter and threw them into the back of the bed. The guys stacked them while I pushed the pile out of the bed of the truck.

We fixed the plug on Andrea's trailer when we took the splitter back. The part that plugs into the back of the truck to power the lights on the trailer separated.  "We," meaning Scott.

After all that was done we finally took Uncle Mikes trailer back to him. We've had it all summer. It hauled two trips worth of wood, the tractor back and forth, our supply of hay for the horses for the winter, and my truck when the alternator went out. 
Hay all stacked and tarped for the winter.

 Today I'm making Potato Soup. Instead if using chicken stock I'm using turkey stock. I took the carcass from Thanksgiving's Day turkey, simmered it on the stove for 27 hours and used my pressure canner to make canned turkey stock for the first time.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Time to winterize our pets.

Winterizing your home? Getting the your sprinklers blown out, all the lawn equipment stored for the winter? Well now is the time to think about what winter means for your pets. A lot of people like to leave more hair on their furry friends in the cold weather to help keep them warm. Great idea, but that more hair means more maintenance. Our dogs and cats actually need More grooming during the winter than they do the rest of the year. That twice a year shave down whether they need it or not just isn't enough in the winter.

Both cats and dogs produce more and thicker hair in the winter. This means more brushing at home, and more hair they shed in your house. The longer the hair, the more prone it is to getting tangled and matted. Wet, wintry, weather doubles this problem. Any tangle or mat in the hair sticks to the hair around it when wet and makes a bigger mess. As this mat dries, it tightens up making it harder to brush out without having to shave your pet. Nobody want to take their pet in for grooming only to be told it's too matted to brush out and is going to require shaving to the skin to get rid of the only fur they have to keep warm in the winter.

Having them groomed doesn't have to mean taking them short. Your groomer can do just a bath and a light trim. This means bathing, brushing out the coat, shaving out the eye corners, pads, and sanitary area. Just a neaten all over can help keep your pet's coat the length you want it through the winter. Sometimes you might want to ask for the legs and belly to be taken short, but leaving a longer length on the top. This can help your pet stay warm, but cut down on the wet and mud they bring indoors with them. Shaving out the pads helps cut down on the ice, snow, and mud being trapped in the foot.

Barkley gets a longer fluffier cut than Lela's summer smoothie 

The more often we can get them just bathed and brushed, the less work for the groomer, and I bet the money you have to pay. The shop I work at has a program that if you get them done every two weeks, it's half price for the maintenance bath and brush. They still get their eye corners shaved out, feet and faces shaved on poodles or any other dog that needs clean feet, sani area shaved, pads shaved out, and any hairs that are sticking out get trimmed and neatened.  The full hair cut is still the regular price, but you know there won't be extra charges for a matted coat, and you can wait as long as you like for the full groom. It doesn't have to be done until you're ready for it.

Think your big dog needs to keep all that hair and doesn't need groomed in the winter? Think again. A dog's winter coat does keep him warm, but just like the insulation in your house, or the down lining in your jacket, there needs to be spaces in the hair to trap warmed air. All that undercoat your dog has needs to be washed, blown out, mats removed, and re-fluffed. Too much under coat or mats can trap water in the coat making it harder to stay warm, take longer for the dog to dry, and create a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. The mats in-tween the toes and in the pads, and around the back end are places your really want to pay attention to. Ice and snow can also pack into the bottoms of the feet, getting trapped in all that hair, and cause splits and cracks in the pads.

Call your groomer and see what kind of programs they offer for increased grooming. They may have a half priced maintenance program.  Getting a bath and the undercoat blown out every few weeks may be cheaper than that one giant session in the spring. They might have something where after so many grooms in a year, one is free. It doesn't hurt to ask, and in the end it helps your furry friend. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Horse Dentistry Acedemy

 Apache's turn at the Equine Dentist. We took him to a clinic in Glen's Ferry at the school. People come from all over the world to take the course offered here. Andrea brought Illusion and Minnesota as well.  The guys who did Apache came from the UK. I forget where the folks doing Illusion came from.  Sota got a guy from Germany. 

Pulling up in front of the Academy 

Holding pens for before and after 

Various tools for floating horse teeth

More tools

Horse skulls by age

horse skulls 

The guys working on Apache

Open up and let me see your teethies

Illusion after the sleepy juice


The donkey next to Sota

The view from the balcony

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Old Man went to the dentist

The Equine dentist that is. Benjamin Brown had an appt last Sunday with the equine dentist. A friend of ours turned us onto the man who was having a clinic at his ranch. I think we paid something like $175-ish to have Patches done a few years ago. This clinic was $75 no matter what he had to do. Ben's teeth were in surprisingly  good shape for his age and care level before we got him. Horses teeth continue to grow and are worn down by the grinding motion of chewing grass or hay. Sometimes they can wear unevenly, producing sharp edges, hooks, and such. This can cause pain when the bit is in the mouth, or cause them not to be able to process the food they eat very well and drop weight. I knew Ben wasn't having any of those issues, and I wanted to keep it that way. I also wondered his age. The horse trader we got him from said he was 18, and this was three years ago. I had him for sale last year to try and pay down some bills after my second surgery. A retired veterinarian came out to look at him for her husband, and she thought he was closer to 22 then. Going by the groove in his teeth, Galvayns Groove , as said by The Cowboy Way with pictures, is said to be all the way to the bottom of the tooth it resides in by the age of 20. This isn't totally always accurate though. I know Ben had a complete groove when we got him. The dentist pointed out to us that one set of molars actually gets to the end of it's continuous growth life at about 22-24 before it expires and falls out. You could see that Ben's set were still in there, but they were on the way to expiring. So he's somewhere between 21 and 24. He really is in good condition for a horse that old. Here's him all fit and sweaty after a ride we took before my surgery. He's always going to be a big boned horse. 

And a gratuitous shot of me and Apache

Both the boys got their feet trimmed yesterday. It'd been since before Sept 10th the last time they got done. This was looking like the last nice weekend left this fall, so I made sure I got it done before I was out there freezing. We went on a beautiful ride this last Wed. Up by Fairfield above Princess mine. I have a pic or two on my phone, but alas, it's out in the truck dead, and I'm just far too lazy to walk out there and get it right now. Instead here's a few tidbits I found hiding on Scott's computer. 

Mike and Teh Spawn at the lake-wood cutting trip

The Spawn, The Boy, Mike- wood cutting trip

Galinas summit- wood cutting trip

Dirty after a day of hauling wood

Flock of geese that landed in the pond out back over the summer


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