Ike, an Anatolian Shepherd. Livestock Guardian Dog

Ike, an Anatolian Shepherd. Livestock Guardian Dog

Ike has guarded goats his entire life. He came to live with us when he was almost 2 years old. He had next to no socialization or training but had been a working livestock guardian dog. Read more…

Two go and One arrives- Tessa Jane, Domino, Llama cria

Two go and One arrives- Tessa Jane, Domino, Llama cria

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 was a sad day and a not so sad day.

 

Tessa Jane (December 31, 1999- September 22, 2015)

 

 

Tessa as a pup

Tessa was my first Border Collie ever.  Charlie and I had been married about 2 months and he had to go offshore for his very first trip offshore after we were married.  Being on my own was no big deal, however it was a bit different being that I was in Scotland and knew next to no one.  He was only gone for about five days that I recall but I got Tessa during that time.  She was just 8 weeks old.

Hector, Charlie’s Da, holding his Tessa

 

My sister Jessica came to visit later on when Tessa was a bit more grown and gave her the middle name of Jane, and Tessa Jane she was forever after know as.  Tessa was a blue smooth border collie.  She had blue eyes until she was about 5 months old when they finally settled to the darker color that they were the rest of her life.  We never got our next border collie, Abbey, until Tessa was 18 months old.  So she had Charlie and I all to herself for that time.

Hector, Charlie’s Da, adored Tessa.  He never really forgave us when we got Abbey our second border collie until we got our third border collie, Prue.  Than it was not so much that he forgave us, but that he gave us for lost.  Apparently we were crazy.  Charlie never figured out why he was so stand offish with Abbey until he saw a photo of Teddy, Hector’s child hood Border collie.  Abbey was the image of Hector’s Teddy.  Abbey of course is an intelligent border collie so she eventually won Hector over by bonding with him watching Aberdeen and Celtic footie game.  We had made a VCR tape for Abbey of bits of the game and bits of Animal Planet and she and Hector watched that tape for hours together.  The TV would be off and Abbey would find Hector in the sitting room.  She would go and sit pretty in front of the TV.  Pause and wait.  Turn and look at Hector.  Turn and look at the TV and repeat until he turned on the TV and popped her tape in.  Abbey trained Hector to turn on her tape and all was well between them.

Tessa at Aden Park, Mintlaw Scotland

 

Tessa never did watch Footie with Hector and Abbey.  She did have Hector wrapped around her paw equally but in a different area.  Tessa was afraid of heights, specifically bridges and horribly so with bridges she could see through.  When she stayed with Hector, they went for walks daily.  Upon coming to a bridge in Buckie on their walk, Hector would pick her up and carry her across so her paws didn’t have to touch that scary old bridge at all.

Charlie and I took Tessa frequently to Aden Park for walks and outings.  Aden Park is a stunning location in Mintlaw, Scotland.

She always enjoyed meeting new dogs and the bigger and stranger they were the more that she wanted to play with them.  We walked at the beach in Peterhead, Scotland or down at the dunes frequently.  Tessa never seemed to have much interest in small dogs, but those great big snarly boisterous tough dogs had her attention from first woof!

Rolling in dead seagulls was another favorite pastime of hers as well as drinking the sea water in order to throw up all the way home in the car.  You will be missed Tessa Jane.  She had reached 15.75 years old.  A ripe old age for a Scottish Border Collie.

 

Domino (? – September  22, 2015)

Domino was a double merle Australian Shepherd, Aussie.  We adopted him in summer of 2006 but I first heard of him December 2005 where he had been dumped by his previous owner into a kill shelter in California.

Domino, on the Colorado Ranch

I called the shelter from Scotland and they said the owner stated Domino was 7.5 years old.  He was adopted and returned the next day and later adopted by an Aussie rescue agency.  The agency foster homed him for about 6 months and we got him after moving back to the states summer of 2006.

 

Domino

Domino was with our family for a little over 9 years.  We know that he was probably at least 4 years old by the time that we got him but don’t know if he was really as old as 7.5 years.  Either way, he wasn’t a spring chicken when we let him go.

A double merle is a breeding that should never be done.  It breeds a merle to another merle in the mistaken hope that they will get a litter of all merle pups.  Usually this is done to try to get more money as Merle pups are in higher demand due to the public liking the color and pattern.  The problem with this is that you don’t necessarily get more merle pups in the litter.  You do have a 1 in 3 chance of getting a deaf pup that may also be blind and have a lot of other genetic mutations and abnormalities.  Domino was mostly blind and he was deaf.  Towards the end we had to do eye drops for him every day for over a year.  One morning he had woke up with his blue eye all yellow orange because it was bleeding inside the eye and I couldn’t even see the blue any longer.  Once we got the swelling down and the bleeding stopped after a few months, we did eye drops for maintenance to try to stop that every happening again. This was some of his genetic problems due to being a double merle.  One of his eyes was smaller than the other, had very little color and was his mostly blind eye.

 

Domino was all bull moose!  His idea of fun and play was to run over the border collies and he loved a good tussle.  He loved being outside as well as inside by the fire on a cold wintery day.  Oddly enough, Domino and I didn’t get on as much as I had hoped.  We did have an understanding and got on most times, but he decided from the off that he was Charlie’s dog. He loved Charlie through and through.

He sat many times next to Charlie and would drape his front paw over Charlie’s hand and just rest it there.  Or he draped his front paw over Charlie’s ankle if Charlie’s feet were up on the settee.  He was happy and content to just sit there with his paw draped over Charlie as if he was holding hands and that was all that he required.  Now if Charlie wanted to pet him, hold him tight in a death lock and love on him….who was Domino to ever say no.

Domino and I had quiet moments where he draped his paw over me as well when we were alone.  With no one around, I could give him a little treat and he took it from me ever so gentle.  I was always amazed at how white he was in color and how soft his fur was…superbly soft.  Many folks have bought some of Domino’s fiber to spin in their projects.

Domino you are missed and now you are free from pain.  Whatever age you were, you had a full and long life.

 

One Arrives (September 22, 2015)

I did say that we had two that left us Tuesday and one arrived.  During the time that Charlie and I were letting Tessa and Domino go and burying them in the pet cemetery with our other dogs, we had a new arrival here on the ranch.

Glenda, our black llama mama, had an all black male cria.  He is ever so long legged and scrawny looking.  But look at all those curls stop those stilts for legs.  Baby is doing well so far and up and moving around this weekend.

Glenda seems to be settling into motherhood as this was her second cria.  She lost her first cria in CO a few years ago due to a dog interference.  We were unsure if she would bond with this baby after her last traumatic experience but she has done well.

We still have a few llamas that we believe are pregnant but with no idea of their breeding date we won’t know when the crias will arrive until they are here.  The first cria lived for 10 days and that all happened while Charlie was offshore.  This is the first llama we have ever had born that Charlie was able to see.

Cria baby with mom and another llama

Two left and One arrived.  What a surprise that made a very sad day just a little bit better.

Fibery Goodness Module Four Yarn

Fibery Goodness Module Four Yarn

Module Four Yarn.  Another spiral yarn with some added construction.

Mod 4 yarn beaded spiral

I chose freshwater pearls strung on a silk thread plied with the hand spun 15.5 micron merino single that I have used in similar construction spiral yarns.

I have never spun a yarn with beads before so it was interesting even learning how to string the beads, let alone how to spin with them as well.

Mod 4 yarn beaded Spiral

 

 

This yarn is so very pretty, elegant and super soft.  I am really pleased with it and can’t wait to make more beaded spiral yarns.

I was up late about 1:30 am spinning this yarn.  I could hear the goats starting to call me in the baby monitor as I hadn’t been out to throw them any hay that evening as I was way too immersed in spinning with these pearls.  I decided to run out quick and throw the hay, check on Bernie an expectant goat mom who was pregnatn for her first time, and come back in to string the last of the beads on and finish the spinning.  Out I went, threw the hay, checked on everyone, locked up the kids that I am starting to wean, checked on Bernie and there were no babies.  Came back inside and started to string the beads on.  Was only in for a few minutes and Bernie started to scream.  Now mind you, this goat screams all the time.

Bernie and 10 hour old twins

I don’t pay attention most times as she always screams.  But this was definitely different.  Her tail tendons and ligaments had loosened off completely and she had been super quiet which for her was an out of body experience, so the screaming I took as she was in labor.  I only had about 30 beads to string so I calmly threaded them on and put the beads up high and walked out to the barn just in time for the arrival of twin does.  One had the sack off her head and was already crying and trying to stand.  The other was stuck with the sack on her head, and Bernie standing at the other end of the pen looking at me in terror.  I am evil.  She appears to be terrified of me for some reason although I told her yesterday we WILL be friends and she gave me that wide eyed you have got to be joking look again!!  I grabbed a towel and went in the pen to get the sack off the babies head as I could hear her sucking it in and about suffocating.  Once it was off and she was breathing and crying normal like, I stepped back and Bernie ran past me to attend to her new babies. I helped her dry them off a bit more, checked and saw that I had two girls and left them alone since it was a nice warm evening and both kids were trying to stand already.  I have included a photo of Bernie with the twins at 10 hours old.

I would have finished the yarn before bed but by that time it was 2 am.  I opted to finish the spinning and setting the yarn the next morning….or should I say later that same morning.

Yes.  From merino, fresh water pearls and silk out to the barn to hay, dirt, amniotic fluid and blood.  This is my life.

 

Spiced Green Tomatoes

I have been canning and putting up things the last week off and on.  I am specifically using a water bath canner so mostly tomatoes, pickles, and chutneys.  I was first introduced to Chutney in Scotland.  One of my all time favorites is a mango chutney at the local Indian Restaurant in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.

I have discovered that I do NOT like relishes but adore most chutneys if they are not spiced too hot. I am not quite sure what the difference is but a relish and chutney are NOT the same.  I know the definition of a chutney is a fruit and vegetable combination, with spices and vinegar cooked for long periods to develop flavor and texture.  They are highly spiced and have a sweet-sour blending of the flavors.   Relishes are prepared using chopped fruits and/or vegetables cooked in a spicy vinegar solution.  Sometimes sugar is added if a sweet relish is desired.  Often hot pepper or other spices are added to flavor relish.  I suppose the big difference is the sweet sour factor that the chutney has and the relish does not.  As well as the extra long cooking for the blending of the flavors and spices.  Any way you look at it, I like chutneys and do not like a relish!

The last two years I have had lost my tomato crop to the cold.  Two days of cold frost this year and over 12 inches of snow last year.  I suspect with my altitude and short growing season  that this will happen every year.  Both times, temperatures were back up in the 60-70’s within a few days but my tomato vines were in a brown dead dry frozen heap with literally HUNDREDS of little green tomatoes dead everywhere.  Oh what to do??

I know what to do for the future.  In fact, this recipe that I tried is so fantastic that a tomato will struggle to ever ripen on my ranch again as I will more than likely pick them as soon as they are decent size so I am make spiced Green Tomatoes.  This recipe is courtesy of Jackie Clay who writes a lot for Back Woods Home Magazine.  She has put out a collection of her recipes into several books.  This recipe is specifically from “Growing and Canning Your Own Food” by Jackie Clay and is on page 108 -109.  It is so fantastic that I even had a non tomato person try them, under protest mind you, and he liked them so well that he went back for more.  The only thing I regret is not trying this recipe sooner so I could have known how wonderful they were.  I would have harvested the 400+ tomatoes off my vines before they froze this year.  Instead, my compost pile is tomato rich again this year and I only have a few jars to last me until next year.  I will be lucky if I can make them last until Charlie is back here from the ship in a few weeks.  I can easily sit down and eat the jar with a spoon.

Without further ado, here is her wonderful recipe.

My garden last month, when my toms were still alive!

 

Spiced Green Tomatoes

  • 6 lbs. small whole green tomatoes
  • 1 Pint white vinegar
  • 4 lbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Cloves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Allspice

 

 

 

Make a syrup of the vinegar, sugar, and spices.  Drop in the whole tomatoes, with stems removed, and bring to a boil.  Simmer until tomatoes become translucent.  Pack tomatoes into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.  Ladle boiling syrup over tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

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I reproduced the recipe exactly how she had it.  Any spelling errors were all mine.  The changes I made were a much longer water bath time because I am at 7500 ft altitude.  This you need to adjust for your altitude as the 15 min is at sea level.  And I added in heavier cinnamon, allspice and cloves.  I adore that combo of spices and the cabin smelled like Holidays.

I am going to use this same idea with these spices, change the green tomatoes out for some apples with a bit of pears, raisins, sultanas, currants, onions, red and yellow sweet peppers, garlic and other assorted stuff and make my own version of a Spiced Apple Pear Chutney in a few days.  That should go very well and taste even better!