Saturday, December 7, 2019

There's No Escaping Sheep

At least, not if you're married to A., who considers life a sad and empty thing if there aren't wool-bearers somewhere on the property.

The last sheep we had were the three ram lambs A. bought to fatten over the summer and feed us over the winter. The last proper flock we had was at least five years ago.

It was a long, sad five years for A.

But no more! For yesterday, the sheep man brought home the beginnings of his new flock.


Those are Merinos. A. drove to the southern part of the state to get them (sleeping in the open trailer on the open range so he could be at the ranch early in the morning, but that's another story) and got them from a large sheep operation that was shipping older ewes to Mexico. There are six ewes there and one ram lamb. Most, if not all, of the ewes are probably pregnant and could have a lamb anytime in the next couple of weeks.

A good start to a flock, indeed.

Although A. and the children were very excited at the arrival of the sheep, you know who wasn't? Samson. 

Well, that's not strictly accurate. He got excited all right. As soon as he caught the scent of the sheep when A. was preparing to unload them, he galloped right across the pasture and jumped two five-foot-high fences to get away from them.

Twenty-three-year-old horses are NOT supposed to do that.

Luckily, we live in a ghost town, so he can run quite a ways before he gets to anything. What he did was make a beeline for one of our neighbors about half a mile away to visit her horse. A. went after him and brought him home with no trouble, and thankfully no injuries from his athletic endeavors.

Then A. spent some time in the pasture with Samson and his halter, feeding him hay, patting him, and reassuring him that his new pasture-mates were nothing to be afraid of. He's fine now.

Don't even think about trying to leap that fence again, Samson.

I have no idea why Samson freaked out the way he did. He's been around plenty of cows, but I guess the scent is different. Luckily, the sheep are accustomed to both horses and dogs, so they were perfectly placid.

Anyway. The current menagerie stands at four chickens, two puppies, one horse, and seven sheep, and who knows how many lambs to come.

At least it's never boring around here.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Friday Food: Mostly Courtesy of Rafael


Short version: Chocolate-chip pancakes

Long version: Yup. That's it. It was just Poppy and me for dinner still, so I made chocolate-chip pancakes.

I could try to justify it by telling you that we ate leftover fried rice with lots of vegetables for breakfast, and vegetable soup for lunch, so we got in our healthy food for the day early. And I could virtuously claim that the pancakes are made of buckwheat flour, which is higher in protein than wheat flour, plus yogurt, eggs, and milk.

And then I would sing, "Mom is great, give us the chocolate pancake."*

But really? They were chocolate-chip pancakes. And they were highly satisfying. So there.

And here we have an unrelated photo of Poppy in action:

Faster than a speeding bullet when fueled by chocolate-chip pancakes.


Short version: Meatloaf, baked potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and onions, frozen peas

Long version: I think it's obvious from the completeness of this meal that the family was reunited for dinner this night.


Short version: Leftovers

Long version: Cubby and I went to the 4-H awards, which included a catered dinner of beef, mashed potatoes, salad, and desserts. Everyone else had leftover meatloaf, rice, baked potato, and peas.


Short version: Scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage links, bread and butter, pinto beans, green salad

Long version: My children get incredibly excited about sausage links. Jack actually said, "Sausage! It's just like dessert for us!"

If you say so, Jack.

The green salad was a romaine mix in a bag from the store, and the whole thing tasted like chlorine. Plus, I always feel as if all bagged lettuce is infected with salmonella. All in all, not the most enjoyable salad experience.

I miss my own lettuce.


Short version: Venison and hominy stew, roasted vegetables

Long version: Rafael stopped by on Saturday with a smoked leg of venison and the ribs from the deer. His son-in-law shot it and did the smoking. He gave it to Rafael for his dog, but Rafael wasn't about to waste it on his dog when he knew perfectly well we would eat it.

Yes. We will certainly eat this kind of dog food.

A. cut the meat off the ribs and used it to make one of his chili stews with hominy in it. No pig's feet this time, but only because he didn't know I had put them in the big freezer.

The roasted vegetables included the biggest sweet potato in the world. Seriously. This thing was like four times the size of even a big sweet potato. Rafael got it from the commodities drop-off--which is essentially free food for old people who don't get Social Security--and gave it to us because he knew he would never be able to eat it on his own.

We wouldn't have eaten all it ourselves either, but it gave me an idea . . .


Short version: Leftover meatloaf or A.'s stew, bread and butter, raw tomatoes

Long version: The family ate leftovers while I took a big platter of various roasted vegetables--including the gigantic sweet potato--to the school staff holiday party. So clever. And tasty.


Short version: Cabbage and venison soup, fried venison and potatoes, bread and butter

Long version: One of the pieces of meat Rafael gave us was a smoked leg. I cut as much meat off as I could, then boiled the bone to make stock. The meat left after the stock was made had pretty much no flavor, because all the smokiness went into the stock.

I used that stock, plus the smoked meat I had cut off, to make the soup, along with onion, carrot, potato, and cabbage.

The flavorless meat I fried in a lot of sheep tallow with onion, garlic, potatoes, and paprika. Half the family ate this and half ate the soup.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

* That whole stand-up routine was one of the funniest things ever, and is therefore even more disappointingly ruined by our current knowledge of Bill Cosby's character. Or lack thereof.