Saturday, December 5, 2015

Well, here I lay on a Saturday morning.  I am a bit sore necked, so trying to rest before my big day tomorrow.  I have pulled all the carpet/padding etc., out of my bedroom and walk in closet.  I will be installing vinyl plank flooring tomorrow.  Looking forward to doing it, but it will be a lot of work.  So, hence the chill for now.  It will be good to get things done as Jenny is getting into everything that was once packed away and is now sitting out in the living room.  I think I will leave some furniture permanently out of the bed room for now.

I have to go to the grocery store and dog food store today.  Thought about working the dogs, but my heart's not in it, so will hold off.  I need to get this bedroom done, then I can breathe for a minute, until my next project.  There are many of them.

Always busy, but it's living life and moving forward, and that's how I roll.

I am missing Kylie a lot right now.  If you read back in this blog, you will see I used to write a lot about her.  She was a bit left of center, not totally normal, but she really only had eyes for me.  Miss you Kylie.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Brief note

Seems it is hard for me to post.  It's not that I don't like sharing, it's that I have been very busy, and every time I do stop, I have other things on my mind.

Things are going well, busy, but well.  Have been doing some work on my home lately, in the form of the decks (front and back).  And, I am bound and determined to rip out my bedroom carpeting this month.  I have a lot of debris/garbage to get rid of and I can get that removed as well.    I still have to finish leaves too.

Then I have to go on to the barn at the farm and also some fencing.  I will be busy a lot.. such is the life.  I would not have it any other way.

Dogs are good.  Jenny the pup is doing well, she's a wee little thing, compared to the boys, but she's mighty.  Joe working well, and Johnny has moved into an un-fenced field and doing well.  Danny is still ball crazy, and Lucy is still Frisbee crazy.  Meow my kitty is great as always, and has finally lost a bit of weight, so he looks good.

It appears all my ewes have been bred by the new ram, so we are good there.  For me fall is a busy time, and a good time.  I don't mind winter at all, as long as I have the right clothes to wear!

Hope everyone is well.  Ta!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Best Steak Dinner Ever

I want to share with you all, the recipe I use to make the best steak dinner you will ever have.  I don't say this lightly. I have been making steak for many years.  I never had a grill, so I tried many methods before what I use now.

Okay, first thing first.  The meat.  I prefer Sirloin.  Only Sirloin.  Not eye round, or anything with the word "round" on it.  These are sub par cuts for steaks (good for stew, but not steak). Also, pass on the T-bone and the Rib eye.  I have yet to find a T-bone that is not rife with grizzle in it and the Rib eye is simply too fatty to be cooked in a kitchen (ask me how I know this).  Porterhouse is great, but super expensive.

Anyway, look for Sirloin.  Then, before you purchase it, make sure it is not brown.  The brown is more than likely caused by air hitting the meat, and the brown is the meat starting to literally rot.  Trust me, this I know (I have sadly learned this more than once).

For one person I generally get a steak that is big enough for two meals, and cook the whole thing in one shot. The more you cut meat up into smaller pieces, the drier it will become as you cook it.  Also, do not get a super thick one.  A bit over one inch thick is great.  Also, don't get a piece with lots of white through it, that is grizzle and will ruin your steak experience.

Okay, so, what else do you need for this dinner?  Potatoes and a veggie.  My favorite for this is a Russet potato and super sweet corn.  Look for the super sweet name, it makes a difference. Frozen only, no canned!!

Get two potatoes, (as you will have two meals from this), and a bag of corn.

Now, for cooking.  The potato can be done either in the oven, or in the microwave.  Traditionalists call for the oven, and I do love a real baked potato, but I have found the microwave works very well.  I wash the potato off, then wet three paper towels thoroughly and then wrap the potato in the paper towels.  I then put these in the microwave for about 10 mins.  If you are doing two potatoes, it will take longer.  You can tell they are done by squeezing the potato (careful, they are hot!)  If you decide to use the oven, 350 degrees, wrap the washed off potatoes in tin foil and bake for about an hour.

Then, get your frozen corn.  Put water 3/4 full in a medium sauce pan and turn on the heat.  When it's boiling, THAT is when you add the corn and it only needs to cook for one minute.

So, your potato is going (in the microwave), your water for your corn is on, and now your steak.

Get a medium size frying pan, put a small amount of virgin olive oil in the pan and set it on medium.  Get your steak and salt it with a bit of sea salt on both sides.  Place it in the pan once the pan is hot.  It will sizzle, and this is important as you want to seal in all the juices.  Let it sit on one side for one minute and then one minute on the other.  In between moving, it from side to side, use the tongs and tip the steak on it's side so you sear the sides too.  Never use a fork on this, or you will allow all the juices to escape.  After no more than a total of 4 minutes (two on each side), take the steak off the heat, and let it rest.

By now your corn water is boiling and pour the corn into the boiling water and let it go back to boiling and stay there no more than one minute.  Remove your potato from the microwave and remove the peal by placing the potato on a plate and using a knife to slip under the peal and then use your hands to pull off the peal.  This takes some practice to not burn your hands..  Do not forget your corn.  Use a pan lid to drain the corn and then put a little bit of butter in the corn.    I also use butter on my potato, so I put it on at this time, by mashing the butter into the potatoes. 

By now your steak should be done resting.  You will know it's perfectly done by seeing juices coming out from under the meat on the plate.

So, cut yourself a piece of steak, place it on the plate that has the potato, and then spoon yourself some corn. Season as you like and enjoy.

This is my absolute favorite meal.  Great for one or two people and absolutely natural, no processed food whatsoever.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Big E

I had a great time at the Big E on Monday.  I went to run Joe and Dan in two trials over the course of the day.  These were time/point trials in an arena.  I got there early enough to unload my car at the building, which was great, because at the end of the day, you have to schlep your stuff (crates, etc) and dogs back to the far away parking lot through throngs of people. 

Anyway, Dan ran first and had a decent go, not bad for only being back with me about two months, and only having worked twice for very short periods with me... He was happy and so was I.  Joe had a very good run, but I muffed up the pen, so it added time (shortest time with total allowable points gets you the win), but at the end of the trial, Dan got 14 place and Joe got 3rd. 

The second trial, not so good.  Joe was off the rails a bit, so we lost some points.  Dan had a sheep that kept escaping.  Joe did not place, but Dan eked out a 15th place.

It was a great little event, and I can't think of a better way to spend a Monday, than dog trialing!  I was interviewed while I was there, and I have attached the link for you all.

Dan is in there toward the end, catching the rogue ewe I mentioned earlier.   Joe is with me while I am being interviewed at the end.

On the sheep front, I have had some sort of creeping respiratory crud, the ram has it and one brown ewe.  They both got their second dose of LA200 yesterday.  They looked better than they did on Sat, so here's hoping.  I spoke with the vet, she said this flip flopping weather is hard on these guys.  She said not to panic, just do what I am doing.  If things continue to spread I will get her out.  She's a great young vet.

The ram has seven more to mark.  They have been on a field with some red clover in it, I sure hope the phyto-estrogens in the red clover are not messing things up.  I guess I will know by them either being bred very late (after the clover is gone) or on time (while clover still around).

Dogs are good, although no training lately.  When sheep are not feeling up to par, I don't train dogs on them, and I also don't train in very early pregnancy.  So, a bit of a lay off.  It's okay though...  it has been a bit too hot.   Though as of later this week, it is supposed to cool off, finally!!

Well, that's all there is now!  I hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Thank goodness it is Friday.  This has been a long week.  Finally will have that bill paid today.  Of course, that means Raman noodles for the remainder of the month, but heck, as long as the animals are fed, it's all good.

Two more ewes marked yesterday.  I had to put more marker on the boy because he's making sure to mark very clearly ;)  I did not even need a dog, he's pretty tame.  I just brought the feed scoop and made noises with it and he came to sniff it whilst I applied the marker.

Today I have to do a cemetery tour with school kids in my home town, which makes for a broken up day, but I guess absolute routine cannot be had for me every single day!!!!

I need to move the e-net, but decided I did not have enough time to do that before the tour, so I will move it tomorrow.  My hands/wrists are annoyed at me today, so we have an agreement, if you get annoyed, I will let you chill a bit.  So, I guess it's good I can't get to it.

Dogs are good, for the first time I had Joe, Johnny and Jenny outside all together playing happily.  Jenny is the boss, so instead of defending her honor from Joe, Johnny plays with Joe and hopes that Jenny is not so tough on him ;) Jenny is going through quite a growth spurt now.  She's going to be a good sized dog.  Probably weighs more than Johnny at this point.  Don't think she will pass 40 lbs, but it will be close. 

In other news, I have been watching the results from the National Sheepdog Finals in Alturas, California.  Johnny's mother "Lexi"made it into the semi-finals.  Fingers crossed for her!!  Some really good dogs running and some upsets, but that is exactly how it should be for a trial of this magnitude.  Some day.. I will get there.. to one of these.  It's all timing and if the dogs are on their apogee... we may... won't do it unless I think we are really ready.  I am slow cooker in this sport! 

Well, that's all there is for now.  Thought I would share this neat photo.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall breeding, dogs

This year I bought a new ram.  He is a purebred North Country Cheviot.  He is a twin, and was born in February.  He's registered and of great bloodlines that go back to Scottish breeding.  I have decided to move from Border Cheviots to North Country Cheviots, mainly due to 1) Calmer temperaments and 2) Larger carcass for meat purposes.  I like the Cheviot breed characteristics in both; hardy sheep, good mothers, and good feet.  Next year will be the time to get some NCC ewes for breeding.

I put the raddle marker on his brisket late last week.  There were some marks on some girls, but not true breeding marks (as you do this, over time, you will get to know what is an attempt, vs what is the real deal).  There were two girls that had clearly been covered this week so far.  One is my oldest Border Cheviot, and one is a blackface cross, a yearling.  I note all this in my book, so I have an idea of due dates.  Of course he was with the girls before I put the marker on him and I did see him jump another Border Cheviot last week and she stood, but I don't know if that was accurate or not!  He is a ram lamb after all!

It is cooling down a bit, finally.  Still warm days, but nice cool nights.  I really appreciate this a lot.  I am not a fan of heat.  I can work the dogs more and have been.  Johnny is coming along.  He is a much different dog than Joe, and he reminds me that I cannot push him- he is still so young.  If I keep making him drive in hard places, without giving him time to absorb it.. he will fly in.  Joe never did that.  But, Johnny is better at some things than Joe was, so it really is a toss up who is the better dog.

Jenny who is 5.5 months is very keen to work, but still just too young.  I think I may not bring her to the farm each time for a bit.  She cries to work.  Just because they are keen, does not mean they are ready, unlike what Jon Katz will tell you. 

Other than those two things, and working full time, that's pretty much it around my place.  I love fall so much....