Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Warm Toes and Wellingtons

Like many other nights, we went out to get the mail. It was one of those cold damp winter nights, and the snow was just starting to fall creating a slushy drive.  We don't have mail delivery to the end of our driveway, as the road is too steep for Canada Post.  Instead, we drive to the end of the road where our mailbox sits with it's comrades.

I sat huddled in the car, nursing my oncoming cold while my dear sweet  fireman braved the weather and went to get the contents of our mailbox.

He came back sporting what looked like a magazine, so I was quite excited.  And then, with a flourish he produced a package.

Like a child at Christmas I became very intrigued. Who was it from? What did it contain? It was addressed to the sheep farmers, and I giggled as I opened it wondering what could be inside.

The most gorgeous socks! A gift from Auntie Bonnie in Vancouver.  Two pairs slid from the envelope - a his and hers in rich colours.  We both sat in awe of the love that poured out of the envelope along with the socks.  There is something so wonderful about a homemade gift.  I was so incredibly touched by this surprise.  In my mind, I pictured her choosing the yarn for us, and smiling as she made us matching pairs.

We arrived home and tried them on. Then, like two 5 year olds, we danced around the house kicking up our heels and singing "I love my new socks! Thank you Auntie Bonnie!" There was something so wonderfully fun about these new striped socks!

Her card said that they would keep our toes warm as we lambed for the first time. I don't think she realized that they also managed to make our hearts warm as well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pass it Forward

Well @cookswithtofu has inspired me to do an act of kindness. @idahogayle admired my burlap lampshade, and since I have a whole lot of burlap I offered to mail her some. I will pop it into the post this weekend.

I challenge each of you dear readers, to do one kind thing this week for no reason other than the great feeling it provides to that cavity in the centre of your chest.

Monday, February 20, 2012

TV or Social Media?

I am often asked why I prefer social media to television, and I think I have finally determined the answer. Social media is a dialogue. It is the connecting of people, the sharing of stories, the discussion of ideas, the arguments that arise from those ideas, and ultimately - the ability to expand your everyday network.

Television on the other hand is more of a monologue. You sit, you watch, and your mind becomes numb. You don't need to think, or be two steps ahead of it. There is no need to be witty, or kind. No need to rationalize your point of view, or perhaps consider the point of view of others. There is no opportunity to ask questions. It is a one way dialogue.

I suppose a book is a one way dialogue as well, but at least with a book my mind has the opportunity to imagine pictures, to think about concepts, and perhaps to understand new ideas.  It's been several years since I last tuned in to TV, and I really don't miss it.  My only exception is Ellen, which I watch clips of on YouTube.  Who can resist the opportunity for a good cry?

One of my tweeps @cookswithtofu often posted about dreamy cupcakes on Twitter. I would drool and comment on how lovely they were. Imagine my surprise when she suggested she drop some off at the farm as she would be in our area. I was astounded! Here was a total stranger, with a gift.  In return, I promised some farm fresh eggs and deal was struck. My dear sweet fireman (@myfordsucks) was home to receive the cupcakes. (Some of us poor sods have to work)  And he sent me this lovely photo of them.

YUM! I had my eye on that lemony one in the corner, and the double dark chocolate.  But then, several moments later, I received a second image.

He swore he saved me the lemon one - and true to his word he did! Thank you @cookswithtofu for your kindness, and for reaching out to connect with a stranger through social media. I hope we meet many more times. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bathroom Renos

Well, the drywall is roughed in, and the plumbing and electrical is roughed in. It doesn't look like much at this point, but this is where the magic starts to happen!

I have finally picked the floor tile, and the paint colour. Behr Pebblestone... appropriate really! The sink is a lovely burnished copper and should age well.  I am in love with the floor tiles, they are going to look fantastic with the barn board trim.

The granite counter is a grey tone, with flecks of warm brown which should work well with the oak cabinet and the sink.

Stay tuned to see how things fall together!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hop Hop Hop

As we venture down this agricultural path, it is becoming very apparent that my soft spot for animals conflicts with my omnivore tastes.  I suppose it has made me a very aware omnivore, one who not only wants to know where the food comes from - but how it was treated.

If I am going to eat meat, then I told myself that I would have to come to terms with death.  The meat birds last summer were my first experience with raising my own food, and it truly did make me appreciate the food on my table.  Putting your own sweat and effort into raising your food makes you appreciate it!  I also know that the birds enjoyed the freedom of the pasture, and were able to act like natural poultry - their existence while short was pleasant.

So I find myself wondering if I could make the jump into rabbits. (No pun intended..ok, well maybe - but that was just too easy!)  Raising chickens for the table is one thing, but rabbits...I have read that their meat is low fat, and high in protein. It is easily digestible and very good for you. People pasture rabbits much the way they do chickens, so the effort would be similar. 

Our chef friend is excited about the idea, but I am still researching. (That's my way of telling him that I am wrapping my head and heart around the idea!)

I worry that I will end up with a hutch full of bunnies, and won't have the heart to send them to market.

You know, it's funny. As a child when I heard this refrain I always envisioned the first pig skipping along to the grocers with a basket and a grocery list.  Funny how things change.

This little pig went to market
This little pig stayed at home
This little pig had roast beef
This little pig had none
And this little pig went wee wee wee! All the way home.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Reverse Chip Cookies

There are times when you want to appear like a culinary genius, but like me you are dashing from your day job to the barn to feed sheep. Okay, perhaps not quite like me - but you get the idea.  You need something quick, easy and wonderful to impress folks and have them believe you have been in the kitchen for ages.

This is my favorite cookie to make when pressed for time!

Cake Mix Cookies

1 box of double fudge cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix it all together (it will be a bit thick and sticky!)  Throw in about a cup of white chocolate chips.  Drop by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet and cook for about 12 minutes.  You might have to grease your cookie sheet if it is older, I don't as I only use mine for cookies so they are in good shape. (Lord help the person that uses one of my "cookie" sheets for something else. lol!)

If you want them crisper, bake them a bit longer.

These freeze really well!

Monday, February 6, 2012

This is not what I meant...

When I suggested we get another washroom in the house!

I came home from work to find the toilet on the back porch, and the tub is in rough shape. Well...what was left of the tub.  My dear sweet fireman has finally begun our bathroom renovation. It's quite exciting to come home each day and see how far along he managed to get.  The black mold issue was not as bad as we thought it would be, it was primarily surface mold which we have treated.  Erring on the side of caution, we replaced the floors and any of the wall joists that looked "moldish".  The new copper water lines are in, and there is now a vent for the sink. No wonder the old one didn't drain that well!

We pick up the copper sink tomorrow, and our granite counter won't be in for another few weeks. So it looks like my "temporary" shower in the laundry room will be more permanent than I thought. Hopefully things get wrapped up before the sheep come!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Donkey hugs

It doesn't matter how tiresome your day was, there is nothing more uplifting than a donkey hug.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Dobby Update

I could swear his fat roll on his neck is smaller. It could be my imagination, perhaps I am simply adjusting to it - but I can now get one hand around it and I am quite certain that used to be impossible. Don't get me wrong, he is still a portly mister - but I do think that the walks and romps with Radar, along with the right diet are starting to have an effect.  We have also ensured that he has a mineral block, I did some reading and obesity in donkeys can often be a result of poor minerals.  Regardless, he has a ways to go, but Chubby Dobby and I are on our way to a leaner spring!  Truth be told, he is doing much better than I am. You would think all of the barn chores would burn up some calories.  I swear my neck roll got a few inches larger...