Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cap'n's Log- Stardate: Saturday. And Sunday.

Sweet Outsidey Goodness. I didn't care if it was 8 degrees. I needed to go outside. Badly. So I bundled up in my cold weather get-up and out I went. Firstly I brought the horses into the barn to give them the once over. Made sure they were still in one piece, coat was clean & fluffy, and picked their feet. I can tell Mark's been giving them extra grain for the cold because they were pretty juicy. Admiral was steaming up my camera lense and insisting that I take photos of him only. Nikki was getting in to everything. Mark makes fun of me for my patented Eyeball Shot:
Eh. Eyeballs say a lot. I read their eyeballs and they read mine. That's what I love about hanging out with them. Non-verbal communication. Everything is facial expressions, body posture. Just knowing that they can read the tension or lack thereof in my entire being helps me to relax. Relaxes me just thinking about it.
Anyway. Satisfied that they were doing quite well in the cold, I turned them out with a flake of the nice green hay from the barn as a treat. Next I turned my attention to Jill. She seems to be doing well in spite of the weather as well. At an given time of the day you can look out the window and see her hopping around, attacking her water bucket, and leaping from the top of her house for fun. I had a seat in the snow and bundled her up in my lap like a baby. Funny that a dog capable of frenzied tree climbs can be so calm and cuddly. I also discovered that she's in heat. Great.
Next order of business: make Jill a place to stay in the barn, locked away from prowling male dogs. This meant I had to take our one rickety box stall and try to make it escape proof. More importantly, I had to keep my barn cats out of it for their own safety. It turns out I have a natural master craftmanship ability to jerry-build with chicken wire. And catch my clothes on it. And get splinters. And assume incorrectly that the dog can't jump over the 4 foot door. Ya, she stayed in that stall for about 2 minutes. I guess Mark decided we'd just have to take our chances that no male dog in his right mind is horny enough to go out in this recent cold snap. So Jill's back outside in her house. She made sure to take a giant crap in the middle of the barn floor first though.
Enough playing with the dog. I checked on the chickens and chiseled 2 inches of ice out of their water. It freezes so fast! A couple of eggs had frozen in the nest and they'd been pecking at them little little egg popsicles. This is the messiest flock we've ever had, in my opinion, but at least the rooster doesn't flog.
I noticed the horses were up playing in the pasture and I ran through the snow trying to catch photos of them running and bucking and chasing the cows, but the damn camera batteries kept pooping out and I didn't get much. I sat out in the field watching them and snapping photos exactly one instant after they did something. It was still a beautiful day to sit out in the snow in the winter sunshine. I also tested out the ice on the pond to report back to my brother and sister, but I really don't think it's ever going to be frozen enough for skating. They blame me for this. That's how bad they want to go skating. The pond is too frozen however to allow me to push the Christmas tree in to the far end. Mark insists we have to put a couple evergreen trees in there as a hiding place for our fish babies. The nursery guy said so. I just hate the thought of brushing up against it when I'm swimming. Yuck.
Next it was time for the whole fam to bundle up to go cut firewood. We didn't have to all go, but I said we would. I also said that the girls needed to get out of the house since Lily hadn't put pants on all day. Time to get dressed. This load of firewood wasn't for us, it was to sell. Do we have to cut firewood for money? I guess not. But Mark and I both like to do it, we have all the equipment, the wood, and the able bodies to do it, so go for it! And we can certainly always find a use for the money as well. Like after we'd delivered the wood, after the fellow watched from the living room window as I chucked wood off the back of the truck grinning like a maniac ('Come on, Sam! It's a race!",) we ended up blowing most of it on broasted chicken and beers at Breezy Heights. We looked like a bunch of lunatics in our lumberjack clothes. I had my giant blaze orange hunting coat & bloody (literally, deer blood from deer season) carrhart overalls. The camera hanging around my neck was an extra confusing touch, I'm sure. The kids had every kind of mismatched gear we could pull together. We got a lot of bewildered stares, but the children were well behaved (they've always been a pleasure to take out) so that was all I could ask for. We had a fun supper together after our hard work in the cold. Public spectacle and all.
Sunday. Nesting. Susie Homemaker, at your service. While the kids played out in the snow, I baked 3 pies; 2 pumpkin, 1 black raspberry. Cooked and make stock from 2 chickens; 1 for the kids, 1 for the dog. Sad but true! Mark's been supplementing Jill's feed with twice daily additions of warm broth and she was all out of the pork broth. Plus I had to feed the kids. Broth and skin for the dog, meat and soup with homemade dumplings for the kids. And finally, our own homegrown pork spareribs with homemade sauce. Pie and pork: Mark must have told me he loved me 50 times that day! This family can do some serious damage to some pie.
Before:After:Uncle D. and his ladyfriend did have a couple small slices when they stopped by, too.
Tomorrow Mark, Pops, and Uncle D. will take the raccoon furs and deer hides from all the deer Mark butchered to the fur buyer. Probably Buddy's & CalfLac's too, to be honest. I've never been to this one, but Mark says it's quite an experience. It's run by a mountain woman who'll serve you coffee in a styrofoam cup with what is probably coon fat floating on top. She also complimented Mark on his fleshing & stretching technique (on the furs: scraping all the fat & flesh off and then putting them on metal stretchers. A gross job that he chose not to do this time. You get less for your furs this way however.), so he may have a little crush on her. Ha! I have orders from him to do a photo portrait of his coon dog and 'her furs.' I'm thinking I may send the camera with him to the fur shop in exchange for my services.
In other news, I'm not sure if it's the dry winter air or what, but my hair is doing this awful angora rabbit thing lately. Naturally curly had become soft and fuzzy. My sister said she wanted to take a nap in it. Not a good look. Not for me anyway.


Belle said...

Can I come and stay with you? I will bring my own anti-frizz.

Becky said...

OMG, love this post. Coon fat. Angora rabbit. Jill in heat. There is enough here for like a week of blog posting. You gotta pace yourself, lady! You're spoiling us.