Friday, February 25, 2022

Friday Food: The One With the Sheep's Head


Short version: Sheep's head, roasted potatoes, raw tomatoes

Long version: A. decided to get a new ram this year, which meant the old one had to go. So he killed, skinned, and gutted it this day.

When he dresses out a sheep, he always cuts the head off along with the hide. He has always disposed of the head with the innards and hooves, but Rafael told A. that when he was a boy, they always roasted the head.

And that is how I ended up with a flayed ram's head in my oven.

It was just as gruesome as it sounds. The teeth are very noticeable when the skin is gone, giving the effect of a ghoulishly grinning head. And the eyes are just . . . there. When it's raw, they stare. When it's cooked, they collapse into the skull and turn white and opaque.

It is, in a word, gross.


A. took care of the cooking of it, which entailed roasting it at 425 degrees for about an hour. He also prepared potatoes to roast along with it by slicing whole potatoes in many thin slices most of the way but not all the way through, and then dousing them in olive oil.

There isn't a whole lot of meat on a sheep's head, apart from the cheeks. But there was enough meat on the cheeks for the four that ate it.

Cubby's throat hurt, so he just had chicken stock. And I was frankly repelled by the sheep's head, so I just had a salad with some leftover pork in it.

A. said the cheek meat was good, though. And the three children eating all tried the eyeballs. So there you go.


Short version: Leftover tacos, split pea soup, fresh bread, ice cream or chocolate milkshake

Long version: I had a ham bone in the freezer and Cubby's favorite soup is split pea, so since his throat was still hurting him, I made him the soup. 

The children who didn't want the soup had tacos with the leftover meat. Everyone had bread, and everyone had either ice cream or a milkshake with the ice cream A. had picked up for Cubby.

Pause for a random dog photo!

If you're wondering why almost all the pictures are of Jasper, it's because Odin the Neurotic Runt is usually hiding under the bunk bed in the porch. Weird dog, Odin.


Short version: Cheese omelets, bread and butter, raw radishes or frozen green beans, chocolate milkshakes

Long version: I was really, really not into cooking, and we had a rather ridiculous quantity of eggs on hand, so I asked A. to make the omelets.

I made the milkshakes for our Sunday dessert because there wasn't quite enough ice cream for everyone to have a bowl of it, but blending it with a bunch of milk makes it stretch quite a bit further.


Short version: Turkey and potato soup, cheese

Long version: The last container of turkey soup I made and froze the day after Thanksgiving. Starches get too mushy when frozen and thawed, so I left that part out and just added whatever was around when I thawed the containers.

This time I had some potatoes left from Friday, so I chopped those and added them to the soup.


Short version: Taco meat and potato skillet, frozen peas

Long version: Two big nuked potatoes sliced and fried with the leftover meat, more spices, and some shredded cheese.

Why yes, I DID have to work this day! How ever could you tell?


Short version: Tacos, raw radishes and cucumbers, german chocolate cake

Long version: And there's that same meat, this time originally presented in corn tortillas with cheese. It was a really big pan of taco meat.

Jack's teacher made the cake. She made it for an event that didn't happen and brought it as a treat for her class, but then only a few of the kids actually had any. Jack had two pieces and was so vocal in his appreciation that she sent the rest of it home with him.

He was pleased by this. So were his siblings.


Short version: Breakfast sausage links, rice, cucumber, more cake

Long version: For some reason, I can never find sausage links at the stores we go to. 

A. got these in Santa Fe when he got the Italian sausage. They were definitely not as good as the Italian sausage, but the children enjoyed them anyway.

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

T.T.: Heat, Glorious Heat

Any of you who have been reading for a long time might remember how cold our bedroom at Blackrock was. 

It was frozen-fish-tanks cold. 

It was literal-ice-on-the-walls cold.

It was pillows-frozen-to-the-wall cold.

It was the coldest bedroom I have ever experienced and likely will ever experience.

The worst part of a very cold bedroom like that is getting into bed at night. The sheets are cold, and it takes a really long time for body heat to warm them. The old-fashioned solution to this is either a hot water bottle or a soapstone, the latter of which I used to use to warm toddler Cubby's bed before he went to sleep.

Both of those items help, but they aren't as good as the modern equivalent: The heated mattress pad.

A. bought one at Walmart almost ten years ago that we used up until this year. I finally replaced it because it was only producing a token amount of heat. 

I recall the one A. bought being something like $30. The new one I got was about a hundred dollars. But even with the much higher price, it is definitely SO WORTH IT.

Especially since I got one that has dual controls. This is my personal thermostat, which, as any married person can tell you, greatly contributes to marital harmony.

I'm always cold when I go to bed. My feet, in particular, take forever to warm up when I'm trying to go to sleep. The makers of these mattress pads obviously know this, because most of the heat is produced at the bottom of the bed, creating a toasty little pocket exactly where my feet go. 

I turn it on high about an hour before I want to go to bed so it can heat up, and then I turn it off when I get in. If you're a really cold sleeper, though, you could leave it on a lower setting overnight. A. looked at the instruction manual for the new mattress pad and discovered that it uses less electricity than a lightbulb, making it much more economical than running a furnace.

A. usually isn't very cold when he goes to bed, but he does often feel cold in the early mornings. So on weekends when he doesn't have to get up to drive the school bus, I turn it on for him when I get up and he can sleep longer because he's not cold.

I also sometimes get in bed to read on very cold days, just so I can turn the pad on and warm up. And let me tell you how nice it is to bake in a heated bed if you're sick and have chills from a fever. VERY NICE.

My initial concern about these pads is that I would feel the wires under me, but I don't notice them.

So, in summary, if you too wish to be enveloped in heavenly warmth on a nightly basis, try a heated mattress pad. It's a very affordable and highly satisfactory indulgence.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Snapshots: 2020 Has Finally Ended

Almost two years ago exactly, our school first closed down because of Covid. 

A few months later, I posted this photo of the decorative iron divider between our entryway and the living room. 

As of this Thursday at 3 p.m., which is when we saw the official announcement that New Mexico's indoor mask mandate has been lifted, that same divider looks like this.

Free and clear.

The cabbage and kohlrabi seeds I started a couple of weeks ago are growing quite happily in the children's bathroom under the lights A. rigged up:

A definite improvement over the junk-farmer grow box that lived in the corner of the dining room.

I got in my morning walks this weekend. This is what the windmill looked like when I first went out.

With sunflower silhouettes.

And here's the same spot ten minutes later on my way home.

Just as the sun snuck over the horizon.

And in the other direction . . .

Sunflowers, the schoolhouse, and the moon.

And now for something much less aesthetically pleasing. Please stop reading now if a dead animal is going to bother you.

A. decided his ram needed to go. Which of course at our house means into the freezer.

The children helped A. move the massive bulk of the ram on the utility wagon, with A. pulling, Calvin steering with the back hooves, and Jack and Poppy steadying either side of it.

Then A. had to climb into the tree to set up the pulley so the carcass could be hung up while he gutted it.

Jack brought his lunch out to watch the excitement, because these children have not the slightest bit of squeamishness in them.

Jasper also watched the proceedings closely, and was rewarded for his patience with a lung. He's not squeamish, either.

This time A. skinned the head and roasted it, and you can all thank me for NOT taking photos of that. So gruesome.

There you have it! My (edited) life, snapshotted.