Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm alive!!

I survived my Queso Blanco adventure.

The stuff is like tofu! It basically has very little flavor of it's own, and is a tad rubbery. I salted it but should have used a little more salt. I'm going to try using it in a few dishes to extend the amount of ground meat I use or maybe even as meat replacement in a few recipes. Next batch I am going to have some garlic salt and chives to mix in before I hang it to form into a lump. I think I got around 2 pounds out of it, and I saved the whey to use for making bread. I heard it makes for a nice rich moist loaf. And the Queso Blanco freezes well, so once the goats are milking if I have no other use for the extra I can whip up some of this and freeze it to use later.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh dear, what have I done?

I ran to the store and bought a gallon of whole milk, then spent the last hour doing this:

Queso Blanco

It's currently dripping out whey into a pan inside the cold oven (to keep the cats away from it). If i don't ever post again it is because i died after eating it. Wish me luck. If it turns out and i decide to make it again I'll document the whole process for a post. If it doesn't turn out and is disgusting I will never mention it again. lol.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Some times being observant sucks.

I spend a lot of time with my animals, and watching them. I pick up pretty quick they are not being themselves, usually before they do anything that I can even pinpoint as "wrong". This can be frustrating because sometimes I know they are NQR (Not Quite Right) but it is hours before it gets to the point where i can figure out exactly what is NQR about them.

When I was working at the second horse farm I worked at for pay we had a back paddock that was a full half mile from the barn. There was hill back there with a tree and when the horses stood under the tree you could see them pretty well. One day I looked back and saw three horses dozing peacefully under the tree. I think it was Cubby, Colt and Stonewall... all solid bay thoroughbreds. I could tell which was which even from that distance (not at all impressive, their body shapes were SOOO different. Stonewall's face was the longest face i have ever seen on a horse and his neck was like a pencil. lol) and one of them (Colt) looked NQR.

I asked my friend, "Do you see the horses out back? Colt looks like something is wrong." She looked and said, "Seriously? I don't even know which is which from this distance. And they all look fine to me, but what the heck, let's go say hello to them anyway."

When we got back there Colt was standing in a puddle of his own blood while a fine spray shot out of his pastern at every heart beat. He wasn't messing with it, or fussing at it or anything. He was not walking off on it or favoring it in any way, he was not standing with it out as if he was doing the pointy toe "this hurts' stance some horses do. he just didn't look "right". Even from a half mile away he didn't look right. there was nothing i could pin point as wrong, just that something wasn't normal for HIM.

Well, yesterday I had Sparrow in the stall getting extra feed because i want more weight on him (he isn't skinny but I'd like to see him with a little more weight while I work on getting more muscle in his top line). Brego went out on the pasture for a few hours and Mary stood around in the barn lot looking pissy once her hay ran out. Brego alternated between running around because he was alone and grazing. He was only out there for 2 hours or so, but in order to keep him from sharing his evening meal with Mary I gave him his feed in the feed pan before moving him back over.

When I went back out to move him back in with Mary he was just standing over his feed pan making Elvis lip. Something about the way he was standing, which is not obviously different from how he stands almost all the time, made me feel sick to my stomach. When I went out to put his halter on he had fussed with his feed but not eaten much of it. *sigh*

OK, being NQR is one thing, but not eating his dinner? *swear word*

So for the next, oh, 2 or 3 hours he was lethargic, no appetite, just looked depressed. Guts sounds seemed normal, pulse/respiration/capillary refill all good. He laid down for a while but didn't roll or look at his belly or paw like it was belly pain. He wasn't standing camped out or otherwise like he was in obvious pain. He didn't do his normal run to the water tank to fill up on water, either. Even though they always have a bucket of water in the pasture area they still always run right to the tank for a top off when I move them back.

So of course I ran in the house to post on FaceBook because i needed emotional support, then ran immediately back outside to just sit and watch him in case he started to show an obvious sign of what was bothering him. Every half hour or so I would go and check his pulse/respiration/capillary refill. The last time he did this it turned out to be a sore foot. Go figure. he acted fussy about his off forefoot, but nothing big. Today is trim day so if there is anything going on there I'll know. After a bit he started to drink quite a bit, and the Elvis lip stopped but he still just stood in the barn doorway and looked generally blah. I started just going to check on him during every commercial break while I watched tv and tried to not worry myself into an ulcer.

Then around dark he was out there stuffing his face and generally being a jerk to Sparrow over who got what hay pile.

Every hour or so I managed to drag my carcass out to the barn to check on him. No more signs of discomfort or distress.

I feel like I could just sleep all day but I have a whole day of stuff to do which includes checking on him every hour to hour and a half.

I've had other horses act off. It always worries me. With Brego it is like when Jamie would be NQR. I literally tremble inside until they have been ok for a day or so. I mean i worry about them all, but with Brego... I can't even explain it.

But I have decided that I need to make and market a "Horseman's Clock". It could also be used for people with other livestock and such, like goats. When you turn on the alarm it goes off every hour all night long to make sure you get up at regular intervals to check on your sick/recovering/due to foal/calve/kid critter. It would save having to reset your alarm clock every time you come back in from the barn from checking on them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Worms and goat pee and broken hearts...

It's been a bad week. I mean... a monumentally bad week. I won't go into details, since the issues are not mine, but that of some of my friends. But Tsu and I have been sucked into it kicking and screaming and it has me feeling gutted and heartbroken and otherwise miserable.

I don't usually talk about it when I am down. That is why so few people were aware of my issues with Seasonal Affective Disorder. But I thought it needed to be said to put the following into perspective.

I had two things happen today that lifted my spirits far out of proportion to what they should have.

The first is the goat pee referenced in the title. Parsley was not the least bit bucky when I got him. he showed no buck like behaviours at all. Since my goal this year was to breed him to my girls (even though he would give us very little in the way of meaty babies) this concerned me. A few months ago he started to act a little like he was interested in the girls, but not enough to put much effort in to romancing them. Today he gave a full fledged buck display with all the bells and whistles. If you don't know what that means... trust me, you probably don't want to. Suffice it to say he smells a little bit more like a billy goat, and the girls find him a bit more interesting than they used to... and that made me smile.

The weird looking bump under his jaw? He is growing a beard! I was a bit freaked out when I first noticed it thinking maybe it was an abcess... I went to palpate it and it is nothing but hair! lol.



The second was that decided to build a worm farm. Multi-purpose: indoor kitchen compost bin, fishing bait, salamander feed... I started with ripped up news paper on the bottom, some dried out but used rabbit bedding, and some dirt. I'd had a plastic container of worms for the salamanders in the fridge (I keep such gross stuff in there). I dug a little hole in the fresh dirt of the worm farm, dumped in my kitchen compost (coffee grounds and onion peels and bread crust) and dumped the plastic container full of chilled worms into the new worm farm. There were a lot more worms in there than I had thought. As they warmed up and wriggled their way into the soil i was overcome with delight. "I hope you guys enjoy your new worm habitat!!" yes, I said it out loud.

Look, happy worms in their new worm habitat!


and just for good measure, more goats and a horse:





Monday, June 14, 2010

Part 4: See this tattoo that says 'sucker' on my forehead?

OK, stop and think: a stray cat shows up on your door step. It's cute and sweet and you absolutely can not keep it no matter what. What do you do?

Do you:

A) take it inside, feed it, worm it, treat it for fleas and ticks, makes sure it is well behaved indoors and has good litter box skills then start calling around/placing ads to find it a home?

B) do you pick up the phone and call someone you know takes in strays and does all of the above?

C) do you call animal control and have them pick it up?

If you do A, you ARE the sucker. If you do B the person you call is the sucker. If you do C it is probably just because you don't B, yet. :-P

Who are these suckers? I call them private rescuers, in home rescuers, small scale rescuers, unofficial rescuers...

We are all over the country and i assume all over the world. We get no help. no money, and we often place for no adoption fee. We just can't stand to see an animal in need and not help it.

This post will not be long, I just want to make one point. We suckers will help you when we can. We will eat Ramen noodles to fund caring for animals that other people abandoned. But we have our limits. We WANT to be able to help you if you need to rehome a pet, help a stray or even if you are one of those twits from the last post who just get sick of a pet and don't want it anymore. But we have our limits. if you call us and we can't help, it isn't because we don't want to help. Don't be mad at US when we have to say no or when we send you the numbers of the shelter and local rescues and leave it at that. We have to know when to say no. We have to know when we have extended ourselves as far as we can. Otherwise we just end up as crazy hoarder people on the news. We get no financial help for cleaning up the messes other people make, and we get very little support of thanks or even understanding for what we do. It is exhausting expensive heartbreaking work.

Having to say no to you hurts. It's heartbreaking having to admit we can't help them all. If you try to guilt trip us or get pissy because we are not able to help you it just makes it that much harder. Please, if all the help we can give you is to say "here are a few phone numbers, maybe they can help you." be grateful for that little bit and don't try to make us help by implying we are too good or too lazy to help you.

I no longer take in cats, dogs, horses or small animals. I may have room for a goat rescue or two. I can't afford to take in any more and I don't have room for any more and virtually everyone I know already has animals they got from me so my built in list of possible homes is full. Every cat I have came to me that way, most of the ones I have now either were not suitable to rehome or were bottle babies and I couldn't stand the thought of parting with them. Do I still WANT to help? Of course. Does it pain me and make me feel guilty to say that i can not? YES! Please, don't make it worse for us suckers by making us feel more guilt when we can't fix everything for you. Just try to understand and be grateful for when we ARE able to help. maybe then not so many of us will end up angry, bitter and jaded about it all.