“Free” Wood Chips

March 29, 2014

So Thursday I get a call from the owner of a local landscape company telling me they have a load of really clean wood chips – would I like them?

This is the same company that dumped a load about 8 months ago.  Now, I haven’t finished moving all those, but who am I to say no to free wood chips?  Besides, we really do need them to finish the yard.

So I said yes.  I tell the owner that my mom will be home and direct the guys where to dump the chips.

Two hours later I get a call from mom – “the men didn’t listen to me when I told them to stop dumping so the chips are in the drive way and I can’t close the gate.  Oh, and they tore part of the gate off the fence”.

I called the owner who didn’t answer the phone and hasn’t responded to my voice message – yes it was polite.

The fence repairman came out and it’s going to cost just under $200 to fix the gate.

So much for free wood chips, eh?

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Bread Dough Toxicosis

February 17, 2014

Bread Dough Toxicosis

Did you know that you can kill your dog if you let them eat uncooked bread dough?  I didn’t – and almost learned the hard way.

I’m in my mid-40’s, so sleeping through the night is a thing of the past.  I woke up around 4:30 and headed to the bathroom.  I came out a few minutes later to discover there was something wrong with Grace, my blue-headed white collie.  I don’t function too well at 4:30 in the morning so it took me a few moments to figured out she couldn’t get up.  I picked her up and she had no control over her body – she flopped like a fish.  I laid her out on the bed and started assessing her for an injury – her back had to be broken, right?

There were no injuries – her capillary recovery in her gums was good, but her pupils were blown wide open.  I cried (bawled) – I’m not the richest person in the world, so going to the ER vet is not something I can do lightly.  Then Grace burped.

Oh crap…

Yes, I knew the dogs had eaten a loaf of bread dough, but I thought it had been the puppies – the two 14 month old terrorists that I desperately need to spend some time training.  They’re whom I caught with the bowl as the oven was heating up.  Mavis’ no knead Dutch oven crusty bread dough had been sitting in the microwave doing its thing for the day and I’d pulled it out, formed the dough ball to rise one last time before going into my pre-heated, brand new 5-quart Dutch oven purchased just for this occasion.  But no, Grace is the counter surfer extraordinaire – she ate the dough and I didn’t know about it until her idiot daughters started banging the bowl around.

Double crap…

Okay, now I know what’s wrong – so I googled “raw bread dough dogs”.  Google it if you have dogs.  IT.WILL.SCARE.THE.HELL.OUT.OF.YOU…  I’d texted my veterinarian friend earlier, but she hadn’t responded so I knew she was asleep – it was 5:00 in the bloody morning by then – she should have been asleep.  I called her –  I told her what was going on with Grace. She said take her to the ER Vet now and told me where it was (I’ve never been, I have her!).  I said something else – she said GO NOW.  When your friend who has been a veterinarian for forever and a day says go NOW – you go.

We went – that’s another story, but essentially she had a very expensive blood test which told us her kidneys were normal and liver was slightly elevated (and a bunch of other things were slightly out of whack).  They gave her IV fluids and then she started burping and farting.  I’ve never been happier to have a burping and farting dog.

The vet said bloat was not an issue as the dough had already moved through her stomach into her lower GI tract.  We were allowed to go home and she puked in the car.  I don’t care – My dog didn’t die – thank you, God.

However, at 5:00 in the afternoon she was still drunk as a skunk.  Now, at almost 9:00 PM, she’s still buzzed but able to stumble around like a respectable drunk instead of being unable to move.  I’ll take it.

The moral of the story

If you’re going to make your own bread and you have dogs, ALWAYS put it back into the microwave to rise.  The counter ISN’T safe.  I think the top of the fridge would be, but there’s no room on mine.

Please, save yourself and your beloved doggie the trauma we went through this morning.   I don’t know how long it’s going to take Grace to sober up, but she’s going to have one hell of a hangover…

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A Drunk Grace, BUT An Alive Grace

100 Things About Me

  1. I believe Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord
  2. I spent the first 38 years of my life in Washington State
  3. I now live in Florida
  4. I moved here to be with family
  5. I’m in love with my collies
  6. I breed them occasionally
  7. I show them in conformation, obedience, agility and herding
  8. I love to garden
  9. Gardening in Florida ISN’T EASY
  10. I hate weeding (who doesn’t!)
  11. I love reading
  12. I’ve spent way too much money on gardening books in the last two years
  13. I’m a member of Audible and have over 300 books in my collection
  14. I also belong to Amazon Prime – and I love it!
  15. I have three first cousins, two aunts, two uncles and I adore them all
  16. I have one sister that I love dearly
  17. I tried to kill my sister when my mom brought her home (I was 2!)
  18. I fractured my skull when I was 6 months old by jumping out of my crib
  19. I got a concussion when I was 12 by falling off a horse
  20. Two weeks later I got a contusion when I fell off another horse
  21. No, I’m not brain damaged J
  22. I’ve earned two Master’s degrees with a 4.0 GPA (see above)
  23. I essentially didn’t have a social life for the four years I was studying
  24. I’m hoping to be able to earn a Ph.D. someday (If I can afford it!)
  25. I work as an Academic Advisor for an online university (they don’t have Ph.D. programs… yet!)
  26. I’ve recently started teaching the orientation classes and I LOVE IT
  27. I want to be a full-time online teacher – and I WILL be
  28. I’m a caffeinated human being 😦
  29. I have brown eyes, but according to my sister they turn bright green when I cry (it freaks her out)
  30. I love taking pictures
  31. …of my collies
  32. …of my family
  33. …of my garden
  34. …of wildlife
  35. …of plants
  36. …of anything interesting
  37. I missed the shot of a lifetime when the dang crocodile didn’t wait for me to get my camera up before bolting into the water – how rude!
  38. I’ve driven across the United States… Twice
  39. The first time was fun
  40. The second time wasn’t so much fun
  41. Both trips were incredible
  42. I’m trying to live a healthier lifestyle
  43. … It’s really hard to do!
  44. I love to scrapbook
  45. I own all the AKC Studbook Collie pages from 1884 to 1990 something
  46. I’ve spent 100’s of hours researching collie pedigrees
  47. I can trace my collie’s pedigrees back to the first registered collie
  48. I want to visit Israel
  49. I want to go to Crufts
  50. I want to go to the Westminster Dog Show
  51. Stupid people irritate me (sorry!)
  52. I believe there’s a difference between ignorant people and being stupid – the ignorant can learn, stupid people don’t want to
  53. I’m a conservative Republican and proud of it
  54. I love my Mom
  55. I love my Sister
  56. I love my Nieces & Nephew
  57. I’d like to spend more time with my nieces (and nephew when he’s housebroken!)
  58. I love my Brother-In-Law (the current one!)
  59. I’m not going to talk about the previous one 🙂
  60. My momma taught me to say nothing if you can’t say something nice
    …Yes, my momma is a smart, smart woman
  61. I can make my point in just a few words
    …My mom can take an hour to say something I could say in one minute
  62. Yes, it drives me nuts, but I love her anyway!
  63. My mom is a walking dictionary (ok, not about me, but relevant)
    …A walking dictionary comes in handy when you’re studying
  64. I started life as a compulsion based dog trainer
  65. I’m learning to be a reward based trainer (I don’t know how Leanne puts up with me!)
    …Thank you, Leanne, for putting up with me!
  66. My collies like the reward based me better than the compulsion based me
  67. I try to remember this, but it’s difficult
  68. I used to breed Ragdoll cats, but owning an intact male cat is 1000 times worse than owning an intact male dog
  69. I don’t breed cats anymore
  70. I’ll never breed cats again
  71. I’d like to own a Blue Russian cat someday
  72. I was a cheerleader my senior year of high school
  73. I miss my dad, especially when something goes wrong in the house or with the car – those times when daddy made everything right
  74. I’m very creative
  75. I bought a knitting loom, but haven’t used it yet
  76. I want to learn to spin yarn
  77. I took a pottery class – I loved it
  78. I want to be a beekeeper someday
  79. I want to own chickens again
  80. I’d like to try owning a milk goat, maybe…
  81. I tend to trust people completely
  82. If you break that trust, it’s almost impossible to regain
  83. I made mango jam for the first time last year
  84. I bought a pressure canner last year and I still haven’t used it
  85. I’d like to declutter, but it’s very, very hard to do
  86. It’s especially hard when you live in a 930 square foot house (we bought the house for the huge yard for the dogs)
  87. I really hate living in 930 square feet – the next house will be at least 1400
  88. I might run a CSA someday
  89. I’m interested in permaculture
  90. I’m interested in aquaponics
  91. I’m not interested in hydroponics, but I might be if they come up with organic nutrient solutions that are reasonably priced
  92. I worked on lookout towers in the mountains of eastern Washington state for two summers
  93. I almost went over a cliff driving up to one of the towers
  94. It was so close that my dad actually winced when he talked to the guy who pulled the truck to safety – my dad didn’t wince…
  95. I sold vacuum cleaners one summer – it sucked
  96. My first job was in the deli at Safeway – it sucked
  97. My favorite color is purple
  98. My second favorite color is green
  99. My kennel name is Shoshannah
  100. This exercise was much more difficult than I thought it would be!

 

Go ahead and share some things that I don’t know about you!

Until next time…

Go ahead and share some things that I don’t know about you!
Until next time…

Finally Finished…

June 14, 2013

Sorry I’ve been absent for the last couple months.  I’ve been finishing up my last two classes for my Master of Higher Education with an emphasis in Online Teaching and Learning.  I just finished up my last class on Tuesday.  Grades are posted, and I finished with a 4.0 GPA!  I’m proud of myself and grateful to be finished.  I’ll have some extra time for me, the dogs, the birds, the garden and especially family. 

Honestly, I’m a little lost at the moment with all this “free” time.  I’ve been studying for four years (this is my second MS). I’m sure I’ll get past that lost feeling soon.

I’m going to try to post five things I’m grateful each Friday.  This week, my mom for putting up with school madness. My sister for listening when I need to vent.  The collies for loving unconditionally.  My job – it’s as secure as one can be in this day and age. And last but not least, my garden, for the food and enjoyment that it gives.

What are you grateful this week?

~Caroline

Butchering Quail

April 21, 2013

In my quest for additional food self-reliance, besides the garden I decided I needed to breed some sort of meat animal. We can’t have chickens here, so I thought quail would be the perfect compromise. I was right. They’re small, but they lay an egg almost every day. The boys aren’t obnoxiously loud – Mom actually likes their little mini crow call. I find it annoying at 3:00 AM – but at least it isn’t loud enough to wake up the neighbors. So, I purchased my first set of quail back at the end of January.

For my first batch, I purchased 8 adult birds. The next weekend, I went back to the farm and purchased 12 two-week old chicks. From those first two batches, I ended up with four quads (1 boy and 3 girls). The “spare” boys were put into a separate cage. I didn’t think there were enough of them to be worthwhile to butcher.

So, I went back to the bird place and purchased 23 day old babies (well, 20, but I got 23). I’m proud to say I didn’t kill a single one of them until today – and it was on purpose! I really didn’t think I’d be able to butcher them myself – I can clean a bird, I’ve done it before, but killing them? I did it once myself when a chicken was dying after a dog attack and once when I was house sitting, but it’s not something that I thought I could do to put meat on the table. I was wrong – I’ve come to the conclusion I can do pretty much anything once I set my mind to it…

What triggered this change? I’m frankly tired of cleaning up after the pooping buggers. I don’t mind taking care of the quads that are providing me eggs, but I was just done with the extra boys. My brother in law was planning to come over to kill them for me next weekend, but I got up this morning and decided I was done. I had watched a few YouTube videos on butchering quail during the week just so I’d know how to dress them – the BIL agreed to kill, not dress 🙂 – so I just did it. Turns out the killing part is actually easier than the dressing part…

As an aside, the one thing I can’t complain about is that their poop makes absolutely incredible compost for the garden…

So, how do you kill a quail? Seriously – you just cut its head off with a really good pair of kitchen shears. That’s it! No muss, no fuss, just hold the bird over a bowl. Voila! I was as surprised as most of my city friends probably are…

I did not sit there and pluck all the feathers – forget it. I skinned them then cut out their back bone and stripped out the guts. Quite easy, and the collies ate everything that had any meat on it – including the wings, skin and heads – feathers and all!!! The puppies turned into little vultures when I walked outside the first time. Grandma Monet wasn’t too sure about it at first, but decided it was pretty yummy by the end of the process. Great Grandma Connie was licking the blood out of the bowl as it was coming out of the bird! Clean up is a breeze when you have dogs around!

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The dressed quail

Ok, so total birds butchered – 19. Total pounds after being dressed – 3.4. Total cost for the 19 birds with feed? Around $50. That’s about $15.00 a pound. Luckily, the rest of the birds (sorta) make up for the cost with their eggs! And it’ll get less expensive when I start hatching my own birds. Eventually, I’d like to get to the point where I can process about 40 to 60 birds at a time – but that’s going to take awhile. Once I’m there, and assuming I’m processing birds I hatched from eggs laid, not chicks bought, I figure I should be able to bring the cost down to $2 to $2.50 a pound. Buying the birds and keeping them for so long really drove the cost up.

I packed 6 birds into two 1 pint freezer baggies and set 7 aside for dinner tomorrow.

0023.4 pounds of quail meat

I’ve been trying to purchase eggs from a quail breeder who advertises jumbo quail, but she’s proving to be a difficult person to deal with. If I ever do get the eggs, I’ll have quail about twice the size of the ones I currently have. Hopefully, it’ll happen! If you know of a reputable breeder of Jumbo Coturnix quail, please let me know.

Hot Spots, Fleas & Ticks

April 18, 2013

Hot Spots, Fleas & Ticks.