2. Wif Daddy.
9. Words are all from this most amazing site by a new friend.
2. Wif Daddy.
9. Words are all from this most amazing site by a new friend.
Friends left town. They left me a Guinea Pig to care for. I'm not much for lil' animals in small cages. But. She's kinda cute. In a rodent sort of way. I sing to her because I think it makes her less self conscious about being in a cage. Brad walks by. Says: uh...are you...singing to the guinea pig?
Then I was worried she was bored. So I fed her more lettuce. Texted my friend, the owner. Asked about cleaning the cage. She said I didn't need to worry about it for a week. I told my friend it had lots of little poops in it, looks like it needs to be cleaned. Friend said: You're feeding her too much. I said: But I think she's depressed. Brad said: You're going to give her an emotional eating disorder.
Wow. I never thought caring for a Guinea Pig would be this tough.
I try to hold her as much as possible. Not sure she actually likes it. I'm telling you, it's really hard to tell with a Guinea Pig. I put her outside in her "outdoor corral." But she stays in her little igloo thingy cause I think she's afraid of the sounds of the chickens and ducks. Damn it! She really needs more exercise to work off that extra weight she's putting on! Plus, exercise is really good for depression, you know. But there's nothing I can do about it. It's her life. I guess you can lead a guinea pig to an outdoor corral but you can't make her work-out. Really pisses me off.
This Guinea Pig is really tiring me out. I will never get one of my own. You think babies are 24/7? Try a Guinea Pig! Only three more weeks to go til my friends get home. I have a feeling it's not quite going to fly by.
What is Summer without a peach pie? Well, I can ask the question like I know the answer oh so well. But the truth is, I've never made a peach pie. (Don't forget, this whole cooking and baking thing is still new to me at 40 years old.)
The other reason I may not have previously thought heartily about making a PP (peach pie, duh) is that the peaches are so darn expensive and you need 4 lbs of them. I actually did 3 lbs just cause 4 lbs sounded so darn crazy.
Pie was gone in 24 hours.
I feel so Summery and homesteader-y (Yes, it's a word. At least now it's a word) having made my own PP.
I'm a PP maker now. I couldn't be happier about it.
PLUS we grew a gosh darn cantaloupe. Of course I was getting all sorts of s*** from the The Brad about when to pick it off the vine and why it won't taste right. In fact, he told me NOT to plant the thing in the first place!!! Boy did it feel good to shove a delicious bite of ripe cantaloupe in his face. Wanna know my technique? I simply let the melon grow til one day it just fell of the vine. Delicious.
Note to Brad: Don't mess with my homesteadin' or you'll be getting NONE OF MY PEACH PIE OR CANTALOUPES!
We don't get away much, so when we do...we really appreciate it. This jaunt brought us up the coast for a family wedding. Our (only) nephew married and our little daughters were the flowergirls. The event was one of those dreamy ones. On the ocean. Beautiful people in strapless dresses and tuxedos. Open bar.
A wonderful visit to the magical Monterey Bay Aquarium. (Have you ever heard of a Leafy Dragon Seahorse? Did you know all male seahorses get pregnant and take care of the young? These are very important things!!!) The otters are always my favorite, but a close second are the jellyfish. If the universe can make a jellyfish, then I figure nothing is meaningless. I don't know how to explain my views on life more than that and gosh darnit, I'm not going to try.
A fantastic breakfast joint. We went there three mornings in a row. Very "Nor Cal," if you know what I mean. Yeah. They have their muffins displayed in the cast iron muffin pans they were baked in. That is FULLY Nor Cal, man!!!!
The beaches. Oh. I love the beaches. The kids love the beaches. The Brad loves the beaches. So clean and wild. In a few months we plan to go back. (This time with grandparents who will watch the kids while we go kayaking in the kelp forest. I really feel the need to get that close to a sea otter.) I really love nature so much it hurts.
All in all, I guess I wouldn't call it a vacation. Small children + family wedding (bookended by long drives) has left me and The Brad feeling a little drained. But gosh darnit if it wasn't so wonderful and beautiful and fantastic. Really, truly wonderful and fantastic!!!!
Looking forward to catching up with all your blogs in the next few days...
::Smoothies are always a good nutritional source in hot weather and I've added a recipe at the bottom of today's entry.
::My 6-year-old has taken to finger knitting and I couldn't be happier. She's made us all bracelets which we wear proudly. While picking out yarn for her, I found some leg warmers started last Winter with some yarn that I didn't really like. But, the girls don't mind a little acrylic so...waste not, want not I always say!! Gonna finish them.
::So very happy my chickens have been producing more eggs lately! They seemed to take a break for a while and we were just getting 1 or 2 a day. Back up to 4!!! Silly ol' hens, gosh darnit. (I know I am showing 3 eggs in the picture. You try holding four eggs in one hand and taking a photo with the other!)
:: The girls prettily strung shells on some smelly hemp string someone gave us. I took it when no one was looking at hung it in my (and Brad's) bathroom.
:: The four-year-old snuggles up with our labbie. What a nice old man. After what happened with Lulu, I'll never take this boy's sweetness for granted again. Might as well make that a "This Moment" of the week with Soulemama.
Lady C's Blueberry Millet Smoothie
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
1/4 cup millet (uncooked)
1 TBSP Bee Pollen
1TBSP Fish Oil (can't taste it in smoothie.)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or more)
1/2 cup filtered water (or less)
blend it up, baby!
This is Brad. This is sorta the look he made when he first found out that I made sauerkraut. I knew The Brad would really hate my making sauerkraut, make a big deal of it. Tell me there's "no good place to put it" while it ferments. Complain of the smell. Find it to be a "weird hippie thing." He came home on the night I made it, looked at the bowl. Here's the conversation that followed.
-See for yourself
-Why is there a rock in a plastic bag on top of smelly nastiness?
-The rock is keeping my homemade sauerkraut submerged in brine for the next week or so.
-Get it out of here.
-Your hippie days are long over. Get it out of here.
-Maybe I'm still a hippie.
-Hippies don't spend $7 on a bottle of milk.
-This one does.
-Get the rotting cabbage out of here. Go buy some! It comes in a jar and costs about $3. They sell it at the corner store. In case you haven't noticed, we are living in modern times.
-Oh, I've noticed. So you're not a caveman who can drag me around by the hair and tell me what I can or can not make in my own kitchen.
-Throw it out.
A few days later our four-year-old kept saying the kitchen "smelled like poop." And I have to admit, every time I came in the kitchen I would forget about the kraut and assume one of our dogs had a leaky anal gland. Anyhoo, I stood by my kraut for another day or so just to make my point, and then I put the kibash on it. MAN did it smell when I dumped it in the trash. The Brad won. This time. I'm going to try Kimchi next week.
By the way, I asked ol' Braddy if I could put a picture of him on my blog. He said NO.
As some of you may know by now, I'm an extreme animal lover. I irritated The Brad many years ago during our honeymoon in Hawaii because every time we would drive by a field of cows, I would want to stop and hang out with them for a few moments. "Do you really want to spend all of our honeymoon with cows?" he would ask. To which I would would answer, "not all of it!"
I was a vegetarian off and on as a young woman and also a vegan for a while. But, the truth was, unfortunately to me, I always felt stronger physically when I ate a little weekly portion of meat. When the organic bandwagon came along, I felt a little better about eating small servings of meat. But then I found out from a blogging friend that, apart from small feeding differences, and unless otherwise labeled: organic meat is raised and slaughtered in the same way as commercial meat. And I don't need to enlighten you there.
The dairy business is no better. Generic "organic" milk, butter and eggs from the local chain supermarket is hardly different than the commercial brand. The FDA definition of "free-range" is a bunch of crap (you can do your own research there). Even Trader Joes, whose organic line was my dairy brand for years, offers little improvement.
I now pay more bucks for organic milk, butter and cream that comes from pasture raised cows and I try to always get cheese from the local farmers market. While meat is something I can only take in small amounts, I do really appreciate fresh dairy products. I have this thing about cows. I'd love to share in the responsibility of a milking cow one day and let her roam in open green pastures. But until that dream comes true, I'll support farmers who do that very thing.
We have our own egg-laying hens and buy small weekly portions of chicken (and sometimes pasture-raised beef) at the local farmers market where it costs twice (and sometimes more) the price of commercial meat. I paid a nice price for a farmers market chicken yesterday. But, I know that chicken was raised in a way that I can tolerate and I get several meals out of it for a family of four. I make a roast chicken (which The Brad and the kids will eat during the week) and a delicious, highly nourishing broth from the carcass which we all drink throughout the week.
Every single ounce of wonderful nutrient and nourishment I can get from that chicken, I take. And I take it with love and appreciation. I take it with sadness too, knowing the chicken didn't choose to give its life but that it was taken anyway. We hope someday, when we have more land, to raise our own meat chickens. Because to me, that is what seems to be the only truly conscious way to eat meat.
So, yeah. I spend a little more on meat and dairy products. I guess it's my splurge. Maybe someday enough people will see the difference and green pastured farms will be the new "commercial." The Brad says never. But, a girl can dream. And in the meantime, I'm following my heart. Which is really all a girl can do.
Here's a link to a great dairy survey so that, if you are interested, you can find out how your dairy products are scoring. This is a few years old, but most of the companies are still in service. Happy to hear your comments and thoughts, ideas and discoveries on the subject if you feel like sharing.
Last week, as you know, we lost two pets. Your comments helped so much. Thank you! Normal life has pretty much resumed here...though our hearts will always remember those little ones.
So, let's move along and talk about yummy things to eat. Cause that's most usually a good thing. We eat well around here, but I'm not always interested in making meals. Luckily, The Brad is almost always interested in making meals! But. Guess what: when I first met The Brad I saw he had a boxes of "food stuffs" in his cupboard that I personally did not connect with. I was like: Ew. Let's just say his pantry wasn't in line with the fresh, organic, whole food diet I was used to. These days,while Brad still does have a taste for some down home Mid-Western cooking (which I have learned to appreciate a little bit too) he has gotten really excited about things like dehydrating food and making the worlds best and healthiest dessert in the Champion Juicer! And I love that about him.
But, let's start back at the beginning with that salad you see. That is what I call Cindy K. Salad. I was over at my friend Cindy's house the other day and she had picked a bunch of amazing veggies from her huge garden and was throwing them all in the Cuisinart. She essentially created a chopped salad this way- including things like: beets, carrots, kale, cabbage and zucchini in the Cuisinart and chopping up softer ingredients like cucumbers and tomatoes by hand.
When I tried it a few hours later for our dinner I added a few other things- roasted sunflower seeds and sprouts. And both Cindy and I LOVE this dressing. My kids are into this salad cause it's easy to eat with a fork and there are no big bites of boring ol' lettuce leaf. You could add virtually any veggie you wanted and it's super fast to make, eliminating lots of hand-chopping time.
Next up is that Champion Juicer Frozen Dessert I told you about. Our raw-foodie neighbor and friend has been telling us about this for years and we finally got into it last week. Now, I won't go into full detail because I want to do a whole post on it. But you need what is called the "blank" for the juicer which inserts where the screen would be. (The screen allows the juice to be extracted and separated from the pulp. The blank is a plastic sheath that ensures that nothing is extracted and everything comes out "whole.") So..when you push through a frozen apricot- you get ...creamy frozen apricot. Same with blueberries, bananas, peaches...the list goes on. Our neighbor told us to peel, quarter and freeze freshly picked oranges to push through. YUM!
You could push through nuts as well, frozen chocolate milk, anything you want! The result is not what you think...an icey sorbet type of dessert. NO! Stop thinking that way right now! Something about the way the Champion masticates the frozen fruit makes it creamy. I tried to explain it to a friend the other day who wasn't getting it...until she came over last night for dinner. Then she was fully shock-and-awed and I was saying...Seeeeee.....I told you! And her 11-year-old- went home begging for a Champion juicer.
So. there's that.
ALSO. My plans this week are to make two things from this book. I think I'm doing the sauerkraut and the toaster pastries. They won't be good together, of course. Silly you!
Ciao bella. Off to the Farmers Market to get a ton of fresh summer fruit to freeze!
This story is hard to tell. But, what's the use of writing if you can't tell it as it is. If you are not in the mood for a deep story right now, a long story that is a little sad, please don't read. I also ask that no comments be posted that are “debate provoking" and I thank you for your respect. Finally and importantly I want to add that this story is the exception and certainly not the rule when adopting shelter animals. I respect our no-kill animal shelter greatly and most all animals that leave their premises are happy and healthy and go on to live long lives with their adopted owners. You could say my luck was "bad" but I know in some way my life has been touched and deepened by the following events.
About 6 months ago, we adopted an adolescent mixed-breed dog from the local no-kill shelter. When she showed signs of aggression to the family cat, we returned her. She was quickly adopted again by another family (without a cat) and went on to bite her new owners. I was devastated to hear the news as I knew her chances of being adopted again were slim. They did not euthanize her but rather kept her in a limited confinement at the county shelter. I don't know more than that.
Despite my sadness, a month or so later, we adopted again. This time a much younger puppy, just 2 months. She had been dropped off at the shelter just a few days previous with a few other litter mates. The shelter didn't know much about where the litter had come from. She was teeny tiny and even The Brad agreed getting a dog this young was likely saving us from past-induced behavior issues.
We kept her shelter name: Lulu. She was your everyday puppy: cute, sweet, happy, submissive, chewed on stuff, needed training. I took on the task of training her and she was so smart. A terrier and shepherd or labrador mix was our best guess and she stayed much smaller than we expected. Puppies are a lot of work, and that is that. But it didn't bother me. I wanted to give a shelter doggie a good life- that was my impetus.
As Lulu got to be closer to 4 months old, she started to be less submissive around older dogs that were strangers to her. This was odd to us, as puppies look to older dogs for direction. We didn't think much of it as she was good with our older labs, especially the female who seemed to take Lulu on as her own pup. A little more time went by and out of nowhere one day in Home Depot, Lulu bared her teeth and growled at a little girl who was walking towards her. In the weeks that followed she did the same to several people and children who came over to our home. By that time I knew to leash her on our own property when guests came.
Sometimes she eventually warmed up to the visitors (meaning if they totally ignored her, she would ignore them) and there were a very select few she trusted and was happy to see (all the people who fit that bill had known her when we first brought her home. ) Most people she just did not like. Our friendly neighbor for instance, who wanted to be friends with Lulu again and again got only snarls. I sought a dog behaviorist and worked with Lulu everyday on a lesson plan. I continued to take her out on leashed walks. Sometimes she was “ok” on the walk and there would only be a few growls and lunges. Most times though, I came home almost in tears as she would have aggressed on every passerby. And when I mean "aggressing", I don't mean growling a little bit. I mean flying off the leash, barking and bearing her teeth like a police dog after a villain. People would jump back in horror. Brad started calling her "Killer."
I kept at it. I tried every tactic. I read every training book. I consulted training videos. I talked to experts. Weeks passed. I learned from my study that sometimes aggression can't be trained out of a dog. But Lulu was so sweet with me. She loved me in what seemed to be an abnormally huge way. She didn't mind the kids or Brad (though she certainly wasn't over the moon about them either- like most puppies would and should be.)
Then the other day I nervously took Lulu to the pet store to pick up some things, going with the school of thought that exposure to safe situations was the key to her coming out of her aggression. At this point though, I was nervous and it felt downright wrong to be exposing her in public. She flew off the handle once we were in the store, nearly biting 3 people in close proximity to her. She hid between my legs in shame when I tried to correct her. I left in tears and brought her home. I was never hard on her, I knew that would never work with a dog as painfully sensitive as she was- but I'll be anthropomorphic for a moment and say: she knew full well I was sadly disappointed with her behavior. And she seemed to say in response: "I can't help it."
Within an hour of that incident, she growled at our oldest lab- something she had never done before. And later still, she growled at our 4-year-old. And that was it. That was the line, the final straw. I took her back to the shelter at once. I had spoken to the shelter director the day previously and she was aware of the whole situation. (In fact, we had plans for her to check Lulu out herself later on in the week.) The director also happens to be the town's most respected dog trainer with 30 years of experience. She had seen her share of aggressive dogs and many of them were corrected after doing her program. That said, she could not believe it when she saw Lulu.
Lulu did her thing- all the things I've described before- when the director approached her. Several other shelter employees approached Lulu (in the mellow, no-eye contact way you approach an aggressive dog) and she became more wild and fearful than I had ever seen her. I held tight to her leash and tried to calm her down. She huddled at my legs. The director looked at me dead in the eye and told me: This is bad. She's just a puppy! She shocklingly informed me that she couldn't take Lulu back into the shelter, it would be a liability. It was also clear I couldn't take her back home- at this point she was a liability to me as well.
I asked for my options which were: I could try another behaviorist, but Lulu would then live with me. I could also send her away to be "hard-core" worked with for a period of weeks or months, but, there was no reputable person or company that was recommended in driving distance (also, such training is highly expensive and in extreme cases such as Lulu's, often not a fix.) Beyond all that, I knew damn straight that Lulu trusted no one but me. To leave her in the care of anyone else would have been so very confusing and stressful for her. The director told me what she felt was the “best option." I know you can guess it. I leaned into the director and cried on her shoulder and tears came to her eyes too. This was a person who spent her life giving troubled dogs another chance ...but Lulu just didn't fit the bill.
I left the shelter and took Lulu straight to the best vet in town for a second opinion. We muzzled her and he looked her over and found nothing physically wrong with her. And I already knew that to be true myself. This was a dog who could play in the yard all day long and not tire one single bit. We talked, the vet said what he thought. Just for the hell of it, the he tried to befriend Lulu with me in the room and then without me in the room. No chance in hell. If this were my dog, he said, I would put her down.
Oh. I cried. I cried. I cried. Not only for the dog, but for the world. The deepest cry for all the beings- animal or human who can't rightly be understood on this plane. I cried because I wanted so badly to save an animal. And in the end, I was being told to send her back to her source. And she loved me so much! Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. I wanted to kick the world. And the vet closed the door, leaving me to decide. I called Brad and then one of my best friends (who is a hardcore animal rights advocate) for last bits of advice. And then I went up to the front desk like a blubbering baby to let them know they could send the vet back in.
When they put an animal down, they tranquilize it first. He gave her the shot and told me I could leave if I wanted. I WOULD NEVER LEAVE HER!!! I said, loud enough for the whole office to hear. So he left us there, sitting on the floor, my arms holding Lulu as she went into a deep sleep. The florescent lights above us seemed so cold and harsh and there was this monotonous buzz in the room that I couldn't place. Her body became really heavy, her mouth fell open a little bit, and her eyes too. I tried to close them shut again but they wouldn't stay. I wanted to run out of the room or out of my skin. I can't explain how horrible I felt, how helpless ...and I can't believe I'm even trying to write about it on the blog. You may or may not understand, she was just a dog....but my heart chipped right then, seeing her fade away. Oh, how it stung.
The vet came back in with the nurse. The nurse put her arm around me. He gave Lulu the final shot, we all put our hands on her, petting her until her heartbeat stopped.
No dog is just a dog. No person just a person. No flower just a flower. Infinite grains of sand, snowflakes, none of them are the same. I will carry Lulu's unique imprint around with me always. When I walk out to the chicken coop now, I can still feel her trotting beside me. Looking up at me with so much joy and excitement. And if that had been the full extent of our world, just her and me, me and her, walking through this life with no one else around....how wonderful that would have been for her. And maybe it is that way now for Lulu. I like to think so, anyway.