Friday, December 27, 2013

New On My Mp3

Okay, never mind the name of this music group; their songs are *awesome*!!! If you're into soundtracks, medieval style music, thriller music and basically all around awesome songs, then here's the motherload  for you. This is basically all I've been listening to for the last three days. No lyrics, just a symphony doing an incredible job at creating inspiring songs. :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Horse Girl

  Today I had the immense pleasure of being back in the saddle. ^_^ And not only merely being "back in the saddle" but getting to go as fast as my little mount could carry the two of us, and together we did some crazy, topsy patterns through the pasture. It was interesting, I'll say that much. My mount's name was Benton; he's a fat, short, palomino-colored boy who seems to be a Quarter Horse cross of sorts. He and I were on five days acquaintance, he hadn't been ridden in months upon months, and I hadn't been on a horse since I was seventeen. Four years ago. I won't mention the fact that my safety head gear was a camo hunting cap, 'cause that would freak my parents out. So we just won't go over that... Continue on, folks.

  So! Benton and I were up for a crazy ride! Ha. He was as good as gold *except* for one thing: the silly boy doesn't seem to remember how to turn. Once upon a time he knew that a gentle pull on the right rein meant he needed to turn right. Apparently that info got lost in his spam folder somewheres. More than once today I found myself scolding him, "Benton! That's an electric fence!! Turn you moron! TURN!!! No, don't run me into that tree! TURN!!!"

   But other than that minor glitch (hehe), it was awesome. This little guy can move fast! Riding a horse is a lot like riding a bike; once you learn, you don't forget. So I was pleased to find that I hadn't forgotten any of my riding knowledge, but could instead pretty much go on auto-pilot and simply enjoy the sensation of flying. Being on a galloping horse is such an incredible experience... I feel bad for all those who have never gotten to try it.

 And now I shall stop my chattering and let y'all scroll down and see what's next. ;)

  First we have a picture of chubby Benton himself! Isn't he CUTE!?!? He so squishy looking that you just want to hug him! That, and I'm always tempted to do something to his fuzzy little ears. ;) He's such an adorable character. Even if he does have a grudge against all canines. LOL.

  Second up is Nick. He's a coal black Standardbred gelding; a buggy horse that was trained by the Amish. He's not saddle broke though, which is a pity... He looks like he would have some amazing gaits on him! I like Nick; don't tell Benton this, but I think I like Nick the best. And it's not just because he doesn't mind dogs (although that's a plus). He's just a calm, laid-back fellow that seems wise beyond his years... That, and I have a thing for black horses. *cough, cough*

   And now, ze' crazy video of Yours Truly, riding madly around on a lovely Mississippi winter day. :) 

P.S. All that yipping and yapping you hear in the background of the video? That's Gyp going bananas over the fact that I've obviously been taken captive by an evil horse and no one will let him come rescue me. Once he saw me get off the horse he was fine! But he wasn't keen on the idea of trusting Benton with his master. 

It was crazy fun though. I'm a horse girl through and through... 

I Want One

  Being down here in Mississippi has been an absolute blast so far! Goodness, it's been so nice to be around people who talk the same way I do (i.e. say "y'all" and "Bless your heart"), have that gorgeous Southern drawl, and know what real sweet tea is. *Happy sigh* Today I got to ride one of the horses here (pictures and video coming right up!), and gloried in galloping every which way in the pasture. This girl has a need for speed, and that's the gospel truth.

 And speaking of a need for speed... I done got a crush this afternoon on my Papaw's four-wheeler. ;) Hot dawg, that thing is more fun than you can shake a stick at! I kept it at 35-40mph on my first go-'round with it, and then Papaw took over the steering and we scooted on up to 60 mph. So. Much. Fun!!

  After putting that baby away, I came to a conclusion: I want one. It's on my birthday wishlist now. ;) 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Kind of Christmas

My Christmas was spent a bit differently from most folks... Sure, I still opened presents and had a special meal. But the highlight of the day was sitting in a deer stand; silent and motionless. Hoping and praying for a buck to cross my path and become a target. The hoped-for buck didn't appear today, but maybe tomorrow he will. It was fun though, gettin' to spend some time with my Papaw (grandpa) here in Mississippi. My kind of Christmas, really. :) 

My Papaw and I!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Everything. (I don't want to think up a title right now, so this is what you get)

 I miss having a camera. I so, so badly miss having one. I keep having these moments of wanting to share a moment with y'all; wanting to share the beauty of the countryside here in MO... Like the gorgeous snowfall that we had (which is now gone) or the stunning sunsets/moon rises that we have a clear view of, the awesome folks I'm staying with, or even Ellie's (cow) funny half of an ear (no idea what happened to the missing half; frostbite, maybe???). And then I remember that I have no camera! Aargh! I'm gonna' have to do something about this soon; we just gotta' keep prayin', folks. Sooner or later this girl will have a camera again. I just hope that it's "sooner" rather than "later". 

  I've been here for fifteen days now; it feels like it's been a month already! But I think it's safe to say that I'm finally settled here. I've settled into a routine, know how things are done, and I'm comfortable with everyone here. Even Penny, the boss cow, has gotten used to me and will let her milk down for me! I didn't think that cow would EVER decide accept me as the new milker... She would be a pill and hold her milk back so that no matter how hard I tried, I could only get a quart out of her. Yesterday morning was the first time that she let her milk down all the way, and I had her milked out beautifully before too long. 

  Of course, right when I feel I'm finally settled, I find myself leaving for a week! LOL. I'm headed down to Mississippi to spend Christmas with family, which I'm uber excited for! But then there's still that little bit that wonders if I'll have to "re-settle" when I come back. I doubt it, but then, I'm a rather strange character... Anything is possible. 

 On a note of randomness, has anyone else here gone to see The Hobbit 2 in theaters!?!?!?! I went on Monday with two friends, and *LOVED* the movie! ^_^ And the popcorn; that stuff was pretty darn good too. Although, I will admit that I covered my eyes during almost the entire scene with the giant spiders (to the amusement of my companions on either side of me). I can handle many things in life, but spiders are not one of them. And most definitely not giant ones. Nope, not me. Tauriel was okay, but I didn't care for her too much; I suppose I like her about as much as Arwen (which isn't much. Let's go back to the Hobbits and Dwarves!). Aaaaaand Kili was as cute awesome as ever. I really hope they don't kill him off in the third movie... But I have my suspicions. I'm gonna' bawl my eyeballs out if they do.

  Today's been a fairly slow day; I did morning barn chores, hacked brush away from the beehives, made lunch... Then hung out at the neighboring family's house for a couple hours. Truth be told, I have a cold right now. A whopping good one, at that! Sore throat, cough, runny nose... The whole shebang. I had it coming though, seeing as the 17 year old lad (yeah, yeah, I keep forgetting to ask him if I can publicly share his name) got the bug on Sunday, and then he shared his popcorn during the movie on Monday (it was theater popcorn! I wasn't about to turn down an offer like that!). It was good popcorn though... Worth this abominable cold.

  So while my daily routine is fairly settled, I'm still trying to get back into my writing groove! I was doing so well before I left, and now... Not so much. Sigh. It's coming back though; the more I get settled here, the more brain space I have to get back into the state of perpetually obsessing about what to write next. 

 And now I suppose I should run and find some tissues... Colds are such a high maintenance thing to deal with.

 It was good popcorn though. ;) 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snow Day!

  I. Am. Sore.

  Like, Ridiculously sore. 

  Like, I-can-hardly-raise-my-arms kind of sore. 

  No, I did not get into a fight. 'Nor did a cow trample me. And no, I didn't not get clipped by a moving vehicle. 

  Reason behind the soreness? I played in the snow yesterday. For almost 9 hours. Yep, you read that right. Snow. Nine hours.

  Oregon doesn't get a whole lot of snow. Or at least the part that I'm from, doesn't get much. We might get a couple inches and it sticks around for a day or two, but I've always wanted to experience a good, deep snow. I've always wanted to make a BIG snowman that didn't take up every snowflake on the property, and right along with the territory of making a snowman, I wanted to have a grand snowball fight, go sledding, make a bunch of snow angels... You know, the classic stuff that people do with snow! But there was never enough snow in Oregon to do that. 

  Yesterday morning dawned here in Missouri and what do you suppose I saw outside my window? SNOW!! It was only 7am, and already there was eight inches, and still more piling up. Praise the Lord that it's Saturday!! I got to skip chores and go straight to playing in the snow! Now, to be honest, I did suit up and head to the barn, and had every intention to stick to routine and help with the milking. Honest to goodness. I was right there in the barn and had just put Penny in the stanchion. Then the resident seventeen year old lad (brother to the wife of my host family) showed up with sleds. Sigh. A girl can only be so mature for so long. At the sight of sleds, I was relieved of my barn duties and I felt like a little kid as I almost rocketed out of the barn. IT'S A SNOW DAY!!!! I even got to ride in the sled as the two of us (plus Gyp) headed down to the hilly driveway. 

  What followed was probably one of the funnest, most glorious days I've had in a long time. We had snowball fights, made snow angels, we sledded down the driveway over and over, and we built TWO snowmen. One was a proper snowman, and the other was a comical looking snow-dalek. Yeah, we made a dalek. So for the record, I had no idea what a dalek was two weeks ago. My hosts have been introducing me to the 'Dr. Who' shows, and it's becoming a good way to spend our evenings. LOL. So yes... I'm learning about farming and Dr. Who all at once. David Tennant is awesome. ;) I'm so glad to find out that I'm not the only human being with such dramatic facial expressions. Hehehe

  We finished up our afternoon with a round of what is called the "tracking game", and then a loooooong game of 'Capture the flag'. The tracking game is basically a warped version of 'hide and seek'. One person runs helter skelter through the 40 acres of land before hiding, and then after about fifteen minutes everyone else has to track that person down through the snow. It can get challenging if the runner decides to be sneaky and hide their tracks. I always feel like Aragorn when I play this. 

  I was zonked by the time Capture The Flag ended, but thankfully so was everyone else. So we all took a two hour break and waited for the sun do go down and the place to get dark. What were we planning on doing once all light was gone? Why, sledding in the dark, down a huge hill, of course! I have to admit that the idea of sledding at night at never occurred to me... But I was game for it! Uphill and downhill we trudged to get to said epic hill, and oh was the long walk worth it. It was big, long, and boy howdy did you get some speed going!! The snow lit the night up just enough that you could see about three feet in front of you while sledding down, but no more than that. A couple of us (code for "me and the seventeen year old") had to attempt snowboarding our way down the hill on the small, flat sleds; it would have worked fabulously, except for the fact that you eventually got up so much speed that your feet slipped forward on the slick plastic and the sled would flip. I ended up in the snow three times before finally admitting defeat. I could keep my balance beautifully, and even steer the silly thing! But you really need a proper snowboard for that trick; somethin' that you can strap your feet to. I now want to learn snowboarding. ;) 

  By the time we were done, everyone was ready to crash and burn with a movie. So we all sledded our way home, looking like a flock of giant penguins going down a country road. Pretty much everyone stayed down at the main house to watch 'Dr. Who', while the seventeen year old (good heavens, I need to ask permission to use names on here!) and I trekked up to his house to watch 'White House Down' and eat entirely too much popcorn.

  So today I am sore. Ridiculously sore. But it was worth it. Oh boy was it worth it...

 And I promise I'm learning about farming stuff. Pinky promise. But sometimes you just gotta' have a snow day. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Makin' Monterey

The thermometer still reads 92 degrees Fahrenheit, so I'm content to leave the scene and find something to keep me busy. Thirty minutes later, the thermometer still reads the same. Ninety-Two degrees. This is both good and bad. Good, because it means I don't have to do anything. Bad, because it should really be two degrees lower.

  I'm watching a pot.

  A pot of cheese curds, to be precise. I started this batch earlier in the day, starting with frozen milk. Working over the steady, purring heat of a wood powered cook stove (these are popular here), I warmed the milk up, added a culture, gave the milk time to ripen, added some rennet, let the milk solidify, then I cut the curds into rice-sized pieces, and now it's ripening a wee bit more. Thus the waiting now. It needs to sit for 40 minutes (and I'm having a momentary panic attack right at this moment; what time did I start this round of waiting!?!?!? Ack! Hang on, gotta' run and see what time it is...).


 Okay. Panic attack is over. I'm such a great cheesemaker... *much sarcasm* I ran and checked the time, curds, gave the pot a stir, checked the temp on it, and now I'm back here. Now, where was I? Right, the curds need to sit quietly for 40 minutes, and stay at 90 degrees. Right now it's at 91F. We dropped a digit. :) In thirty minutes I'll put the pot back on the woodstove and get everything warmed up to 120F in a thirty minute period. If I warm it too fast then the cheese will be rubbery. Too slow, and it won't set right. This is my first time, so it'll be interesting to see how I do. When all that is done, then I'll press the cheese in a mold, and store it. In thirty days it will be ready to eat and will be a Monterey Jack. Good heavens, I'm making a for-real Monterey Jack cheese!?!? Will wonders never cease? Tomorrow I'll make a Parmesan too! Looking forward to it. :) The milk comes directly from the Jersey cows here at the farm, who are named Ellie and Penny. Yep, only two lactating girls this winter. The third was just sold. The other bovines around here are Onyx, who is a Jersey/beef cross steer who will be going into the freezer in just a couple weeks (looking forward to that!!), and then two ADORABLE Jersey/Belted Galloway bull calves (Ellie and Penny's babies). These calves are the cutest things I have *ever* seen. Seriously. No kidding. I'm gonna' have to steal a camera, er, ahem, borrow a camera from someone just so I can take some pictures of these darlings and show y'all. They're fat, fuzzy (uber fuzzy), and look like Oreo cookies that moo. And did I mention that they're fat and fuzzy? Oh gosh they're cute... I want to hug them so stinkin' bad. 

Besides the Monterey Jack that's in the works, there's also some homemade yogurt that's culturing on the counter, and freshly made butter that's just been put in the freezer. I'm a tiny bit proud of myself; I made a proper batch of butter, all by myself! And yeah, it turned out to be ridonkulously easy (brownie points if you know what movie that word is from). Last time I tried it, which was back in Oregon, I did something wrong... And every time you heated that butter up, it turned right back into milk! It was weird. After that attempt, I never did try again. But now I know what I'm doing! Aha! I'm going to start up a batch of kefir soon, too. Lots and lots of dairy products around here, that's for sure!

I'm slowly getting the hang of things around here... Still making mistakes though. LOL. And while my hands are getting used to milking, the cows are still not getting used to me. Penny stubbornly held her milk back this morning, and wouldn't let down until the wife (hmm, she needs a title, or code name. I'll have to think about that) took over. Cows. Picky creatures. Hehehe. Oh its been glorious to be working around dairy cows again. If we could just get our act together though, things would be fabulous. I need to get used to them, and they need to get used to me. I will however, admit that I am really missing my milking machine. I'll hand milk for the time that I'm here, but I could never do this long term. I love my machine too much. I miss its humming noise, the speed that it works, and the routine of washing the equipment. Ah well... Hand milking will suffice for now. 

 Making the Jack cheese will be the end of my work day today... Since it's cold and snowy outside, we're only doing 3-4 hours of work each day (yeah, it's really rough! These people work ya' hard! LOL.). Not sure what I'll do once I'm done with the cheese. Read? Write? Go bug the extended family? Hmm. Part of me wishes that I had longer work days, but then the other part of me doesn't mind that I'm not out in the cold for very long. 

  Anywho, the clock says 1:49pm, so that's my cue. I need to go get those cheese curds warming up to 120F now! 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

By The Way...

  You may have noticed the severe lack of pictures by now... To confess, I have no camera. Sorry! I honestly tried my best to buy one before leaving, but there was some crazy run on cameras, apparently. Poof! They were all gone! And now I can't afford one. Phooey. So I don't know what's going to happen. But I'm trying my best to get the problem righted.

  Bear with me. I don't like the lack of pictures either. :-/ 

My Kind Of Crazy

  During my free time here, I've tried to stay out of the way, keep to myself, not be a nuisance, and give my hosts and their extended family some of their family time back. You know, just try to be a considerate person who isn't always in the way? Hasn't worked. There is a lot of family in this area. And they've decided that since I'm staying here long term, I shall be family too. So now I'm a "cousin". ;) These people are great; without so much as asking my permission (hehe), they pulled me into the center of their family activity and made me a part of everything. I wasn't sure how I would fit in here, but now I have no worries. Today I went to church with some of them, and had the chance to meet yet MORE of their extended family! Good grief, right when I think I've met all the people there are to meet, more show up. LOL. It's been pretty neat to find that a lot of the family is right around my age, and it's definitely been fun interacting with them all. I'm presently hearing rumors about two plots in the making... One being a family adventure to the theater this Saturday to watch The Hobbit (eeek!!), and then the second rumor is a possible gathering of the younger folks to all go bowling (can I say "eeek!" again??). I've got my fingers crossed for both plots to succeed.

 One thing is for sure though. These folks are my kind of crazy.

 Don't tell them I said that. ;) 

Friday, December 6, 2013

The First Few Days

  Ta da! I'm resurfacing from the depths of silence! Was I missed? Eh, probably not... LOL.

 So. Missouri. Getting here was a long, long day that I don't care to repeat any time soon, but it was at least fairly uneventful and smooth (in comparison to when I went to Joel Salatin's farm last year and had horrible turbulence the whole way... Oy vey.). It was weird though; leaving Portland (OR), it was about 25-30 degrees. Then I got to Texas. Ha. Okay, does Texas EVER get cold!?!?!? It was 80F and HUMID!!!! I was absolutely broiling as I walked through the airport sporting my heavy Carhartt coat and toting a 20 lb. backpack. Hot, hot, hot. Then I got to Missouri and we were back down to 25-30F. It was kind of a strange shock to the system; first it's freezing, then it's frying, then it's freezing again. Huh. Oh well. Like I said, at least it was a smooth ride and there was no turbulence. Although, I still get "see-sick" from "seein'" too much out the plane windows. ;) High altitudes and I don't get along very well. 

  Gyp did awesome the whole way through; he was calm and quiet in his kennel, and then he sat curled up on my lap during the 1+ hour drive from St. Louis to where I am now. 

  My first night was hysterical. I didn't get to bed until about 1am, and my living quarters (known as the "loft" around here) were freezing. My heat source was the coolest looking wood cookstove. How cool is that!? It's an honest-to-goodness, pioneer-looking cook stove that runs on wood! I'm well versed in working woodstoves, as that's our heat source back home, so I figured I had this whole heat thing down pat... I'd be toasty warm all night, right? Heh. Yeah, whatever...

  I couldn't for the life of me figure the damper and vent out. I know, I know, how does one not understand something as simple as that??? On this behemoth though, it's got knobs instead of just a lever that goes one way or the other. You can fine tune the temperature on the stove by knowing how many times to turn the knobs. This, I did not know. So there I am; cold, tired, 1,900 miles from home, and glaring at a stove that just wouldn't get HOT. I did my best, loaded it up good, turned the knobs four times to the left, which I thought would work to get some heat going, and then gathered up every single blanket I could get my hands on. It was hilarious. I've been bested by a hunk of metal. That kinda' hurts the ego. Anyway, in the end I found about six wool blankets, and I had a double layer of wool socks on. It wasn't so bad at first... I fell asleep pretty much instantly. Until 2:30-3am when I awoke to the sensation of a freezing nose. And then I realized that the rest of me was cold too. After some pondering, I dug out my hooded fleece sweater, zipped it all the way up, felt ridiculous, and then tried to go back to sleep. They (whoever "they" are) say that the best way to stay warm is to keep something on your feet and head, so I figured between my hoodie and my socks, this oughta' work. But my nose was still cold. Darn it. There really wasn't any cure for that, so I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep.

Three hours later, I gave up and decided to start my day. The sun was juuuuuuuust beginning to rise, and I was eagerly waiting to see what the landscape looked like. Before heading out though, I was determined to figure this stove out. I had a total "Duh" moment two minutes later when I realized the simplicity of this thing. To open the flu/vent, you turn the knobs 6-8 times to the left (depending on how hot you want it). To get a good, slow bed of coals, then you would only turn it 2-4 times. So my problem on the first night was simply that I had the flu closed too much to ever get a good fire going in the first place. And for the record, I learned the trick to how many times to turn it by seeing when smoke would finally stop billowing out when I took the lid off. Yep, I smelled like wood smoke pretty bad for awhile. LOL.

  My first thought of this area in MO is that it looks a LOT like Oregon. A lot. It's beautiful here! The hills are rolling as far as the eye can see, and they're good sized hills. Lots of trees too; although they're almost all deciduous, whereas OR has mostly coniferous. The first owner of this farm planted a lot of pines though, so the place has the feel of the Willamette.

  The work here has been enjoyable, although I feel awkward and clumsy right now seeing as I don't know where anything is, anyone's routine, or how they do things around here. Even milking the cows has been a challenge; it's been months and months (in fact, almost a year!) since I've hand milked and I've lost all that muscle tone that's required for the job. I used to have the hand strength to milk 4-5 gallons without stopping, but right now I'm finding that I can barely do 1 gallon before I have to stop. With luck, that strength will be back in about two weeks. I can hardly wait.

  Since it's winter, there'a not a huge amount of work to do. We milk and feed the cows in the morning, clean the barn stalls out, take care of the milk and equipment, and then comes whatever the day's projects are. Today we made butter, and reseeded a pasture. And then we played outside in the snow... *cough, cough* Yes, we have snow here!!! Eeek! I was so excited to see it coming down as I walked back to the loft last night; there was hardly a light to be seen as I walked the dark, forest lined, gravel road with two new friends (part of the family here, and only a stone's throw away from the loft!); it was just pure white snowflakes contrasting with the inky darkness. It accumulated fairly quickly, but we only got an inch before it stopped. Sigh. I still want to make my snowman... Maybe soon though.

  Last night was another cold night. I fired up the second wood stove in the loft (yep, two of them!), and then played the martyr's part in keeping both of them going all night. This time around, I ditched the hoodie and got a seventh blanket. Ahem. I like to be warm, okay? All total, I got about four hours of sleep. Ouch. Woke up feeling nauseous, and had a splitting headache that felt more like a migraine. I caved there and then. Call me a wimp, but I was going to be a snow bird from now on, and spend the winter in the main house. If I'm going to be of any use around here, then I really need my full night's sleep, which means 6-8 hours. Not 3-4. I also missed having my internet connection, seeing as there'a deplorable lack of wi-fi up at the Loft. So down I've migrated, and now I'm in a WARM house, where I don't have to even think about keeping a wood stove going (still love those things, but I like them better when they're used in houses that have insulated flooring and not so many drafts everywhere), and I have internet access!! Yay! I can write on my blog now! I want to move back up to the Loft, but I think I'll wait until Spring, when the nights are warmer and I won't have to work so hard to keep the temperature above 40F.

 So that's the latest scoop for y'all! So far I really like it here in Missouri. :) In a couple hours I'm heading out with my host family to have a game night at a neighboring family's house, which I'm looking forward to. I think I'm also going to try going with my host family to church on Sunday (I was delighted to find that they go to the same kind of church that I'm used to!), and I'm hoping to start getting to know some of the folks around here.

 Right at this very moment though, I think I might take a cat nap. I've got some shuteye to catch up on... ;)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stories Coming!

Hey guys! I'm writing this from Missouri! I've got tales to tell, but I can't share them just yet; breakfast will be ready in about 2 minutes, and then I have to go milk the cows. :)

 But no worries, I've got stories coming... Lots of 'em. Missouri is proving to be a pretty place, Gyp and I are settling in quickly, and the wood stove and I finally found a compromise in life; I feed it wood in a nice manner, and it in turn keeps me WARM (without being grumpy) so that I don't have a repeat of last night where I was sleeping with five blankets, and a fleece sweater with the hood pulled up. ;) Yep, it was cold and comical. 

  So toodle pip and cheerio! I'll catch y'all later! Right now I need to go eat something... I'm feeling positively famished!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I Want YOU. (yeah, you.)

  Hear ye', hear ye! I'm looking for a Hobbit to share in an adventure! Oh wait, that's a movie line... Not what I meant to say. Scratch that. I'm not looking for a Hobbit (but if you find one, let me know!), I'm looking for a human. Specifically YOU. Yep. You.

  If we want to get even more specific, I'm looking for some writers. And yes, that still means you; even if you say you haven't written anything since your college days. 

  Folks, I want to do some knowledge sharing around this place. I want some guest writers. And shucks, what better way to do this than to ask my very own readers!? So I'm putting this out here for your consideration: I would love to hear from you. I know for a fact that you know enough about something to write up a post; so why not share that knowledge with the rest of us? Pretty please? I sincerely want to hear from you! We're talking all kinds of subjects; small farming topics, homesteading, DIY, gardening, animals, wildcrafting, beekeeping, soap making, elephant hunting (hehe), training herding dogs or horses, creating straw bale houses, predator control, what it's like to run a 10,000 hog CAFO,... You get the idea. 

 Your posts would be shared once a week, and if you have a website or blog, then yes you may give yourself a shout-out in your post. 

 So who wants to be the first? C'mon guys... Don't make me beg, m'kay? I don't do so well with the begging. And you know you want to write on here... Stop listening to the voices in your head that say you don't know what to write, or how to write, or that you're too busy to do it. That's an order from The Caitlyn herself. ;) 

 I'll even make life easy for you. Right HERE is the link that you send your post idea to, or attach that Word document to. Wow. How delightfully easy. Write it up, send it in, and I do all the hard grunt work of posting it for you. 

  And let me know when you find that Hobbit.

Monday, December 2, 2013

She Chose Well

 I found this old image during a web search and was thrilled to see it! You know who that is in the picture? It's Beatrix Potter. And that dog next to her? It's an English Shepherd/Scotch Collie!

  I will be the first to admit that I'm a fan of Beatrix Potter. She was an amazing woman who did way more than write children's books; she was a naturalist, botanist, and farmer who raised the rare Herdwick sheep. She was independent, resourceful, and knew how to go after what she wanted. She's one of my heroes in life. ;) And seeing a picture of her with her farm dog has only increased my appreciation for this author. An English Shepherd!! Back in the late 1800's and early 1900's the Scotch Collie and ES tended to be grouped as one breed; neither one was completely established (whereas they are now. The Scotch Collies are bee-yew-tee-ful! They're like flat-coated, smaller sized, Rough Collies; the original "Lassie"), so it's possible that some Beatrix Potter historian/nerd/fan may argue with me saying that this would be more of a Collie rather than a Shepherd. But I'm sticking with the guess of it as a Shepherd. I know that canine face well enough to think that that isn't a Collie. 

   Either way though, That Beatrix Potter chose well when it came to a canine companion. Very well indeed...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Please Hold

  You may have already noticed this, but posts are getting slightly erratic these past few days. I used to be so regular! A post a day! So here's a warning for y'all: It's probably going to stay fairly erratic until the weekend, when I'm settled in MO. I'll be doing my best to keep you updated and all that jazz, but tomorrow and Tuesday will be spent packing, packing, and - uh - packing. *rolls eyes* I doubt I'll have time to think up any blog posts during those two days. And then come Wednesday I'm leaving! So I probably ain't gonna' do any blog posts then either!

 Please hold. I'll be back shortly, and you may still see me here and there. :)