Mid Week Roundup

Hello friends!

I’m writing you a little early because I have simply so much news and I knew if I waited Thanksgiving would probably warrant some space in a post and honestly? These can get a little all over the place as it is haha. Also, let’s be real here, I’ll be in a food coma and totally forget to post if I wait. You know me, I know me, there no need to pretend.

So, to start, I’m sitting here, looking out a window that looks out over my neighbors field. It’s my office/bedroom window, it gets a lot of use, I see a decent number of deer, snow, and tractors out this window. A couple mornings ago, out this window, I saw a bobcat. 

And I lost my mind briefly. 

It was just sauntering along, in the bright of the morning, acting as though he isn’t a pretty major threat to several of the beings on my farm. Funnily enough, I didn’t actually believe my eyes at first, as they are generally pretty stealthy, but the more I looked at it, the more I couldn’t reconcile it with a barn cat. Then it clicked.

I went running (well, quick waddling, I was wearing fuzzy socks on hardwoods, I was not going anywhere fast unless I wanted to eat floor) to my parents room shouting at my dad to come verify, but he just missed him. He believed me though, and we are being extra cautious for a while, since we have visual confirmation of them in the area.

To be honest, I’m very aware they are around, I’m under no delusions they just moved in, but I sure like when I can be ignorant about it. Just like I’m aware wolves, moose, and occasional mountain lion stray down here, but if I don’t see them, I don’t have to consider it ya know? Although admittedly the moose usually make the newspaper. 

We had one shortly before I moved home permanently that took up residence in the school yard and the neighbors felt so bad for it, they started feeding it. I’m sure you can imagine why it decided to stay. So, they had to carefully relocate it for everyone’s safety. 

Speaking of the dogs and keeping them safe, (yes, it’s a loose transition but let me have it) we made pumpkin dog treats and the dogs have lost their minds over it.

It took forever to gather ingredients because little Watson has a yet-to-be-pinned-down-but-were-pretty-sure-its-eggs allergy, and a weird amount of dog treat recipes are adamant you can’t swap eggs. You can, for what it’s worth, most of the time swap eggs with applesauce. For the dogs I created dog treats from applesauce, oat flour, pumpkin, and peanut butter. I really wanted pumpkin in the treats because this time of year, when the dogs spend more time lounging inside than running around in the sun, they could use a little gut health help, if you catch my drift. They live in the freezer for preservation, but I pull a couple out for each dog, warm them a little in the convection oven and they get just soft enough to be nice for my toothless wonder, Scooby Doo. I tried them, for science, they were basically an unsweetened oat cookie, relatively meh. But the dogs loved them. Funnily enough, the horses? Not so much.

In absolute amazing news of the week, Nellie wore a horse blanket for the first time ever! For a little context, I got the girls coolers for Christmas, basically for warm up and cool out so they can still have their fluffy winter coats and i can control body temp a little easier. I got one for Nellie because she can work up quite the sweat being terrified of whatever were learning about, but I didn’t expect her to actually wear it right away. My sweet girl has some sensory issues, touching things can be quite the meltdown, but she loves the cooler. I couldn’t believe it. I kept pushing it just a little more and more, planning to back off as soon as a couple cookies stopped fixing the scary, but she was happily wearing it, all cozy and warm, snacking on cookies, in no time. She’s definitely her mama’s baby, there’s nothing like a warm blanket and some cookies on a cold afternoon. I prefer chocolate chip though personally.

Welp, I think that’s about it for us here, I have about a million little things to accomplish before Turkey Day, so I’ll leave it here. Happy early Thanksgiving! I hope your holiday is magical!

Until we chat again my friends! 

Feelin’ Foggy

Hello friends!

I’ll be honest, this week is all just building around my wanting to share some photos. I decided to try my hand at some weather based photography and the results came out pretty good for my first real attempt. Fog is a weird one, and especially hard when you weren’t prepared for it (it was a last minute decision to go out and get cold soaked) and are down in the thick of it. But I think it made for some creepy photos.

Little Ro having a snack

The fog made everything super creepy and cold, I got this photo of Ro having a lovely snack out in the pasture. To be honest, it took a lot of convincing to let them out, I usually don’t like letting them loose when I can’t see them from the house. I’m the definition of a helicopter horse mom.

One of the rare, less foggy moments

This little plant was holding it’s own in the fog, and I snapped this photo when it had burned off just a little. The fog rolled back over us in waves for most of the day, so I didn’t have to wait long for the mood to return.

Old Bridge

The old bridge across the canal, allows access to the wetlands and my neighbors fields, it’s on my property but one particular neighbor (who’s land is nowhere near mine) seems to think I need permission to be outside the fencing and likes to police the bridge. Oh well.

A fairy tale path

This is more canal road, although you can see the canal is officially dry for the year. They usually open in about April and close it down around late October, early November. It’s beautiful in all seasons, and magical in the fog.

Just some barbed wire

I have so many photos of old barbed wire, but it’s just a weirdly fun object to shoot. It always has unique shape, changing the backdrop can completely change the vibes, and honestly, it owes me some cute photos for all the clothes it’s torn and skin it’s shredded. Not very forgiving stuff.

After I got back in, I was, quite obviously, frozen to the bone, so some split pea and ham soup was in order. Luckily, I had made some a little earlier on in the week, so it was easy to warm up, but that was a pretty interesting experience in its own right.

I tried modifying my very simple stovetop recipe to work in the slow cooker, and I’m still convinced it would have worked if I used smaller batches and a different plan, but after 24 hours of soaking the peas per internet instruction (I soak mine overnight anyway) and 8 hours in the slow cooker, I had warm ham and cold peas. So, as starving as I was, I called in a tall person and emptied the contents of the slow cooker into my giant Dutch oven, voila, soup in about two hours. I needed a tall person because otherwise I’d be holding about 5 pounds of soup and easily a couple pounds of crockery at eye level, which sounded like a good way to drop my soup.

Anyways, we finished it stovetop, which is not bad at all, but for some reason split pea and ham requires constant babysitting on the stovetop and no matter what I do, I end up with some sticking to the bottom of the pot. I don’t have this issue with other things I cook in my big ole butch oven, just the split peas soup. If anyone knows why that happens, please let me know. I also have to stir it about every two minutes, so it’s not really a “make while at work” kinda dish, which is why I was hoping for a set it and forget it option. 

Oh well, more testing is needed, trial and error and all that.

Anyways, this post is getting a little long, and I’m now thinking about leftover soup, so I’m gonna sign off here. Have a great weekend my friends, I’m not sure if I will get the next post up before or after Thanksgiving so if I don’t see you, have a wonderful holiday!

Until we chat again my friends. 

Amanda Rants for about 300 Words, then She Rambles

Hello friends!

How are we doing today? Well, I hope. It’s been a crazy week for us around the valley, with weird storms and family members visiting and the newfound knowledge that I am hosting Thanksgiving. We potluck it and I’ve hosted the last couple years so it’s not the biggest deal, but still a lot to prep for.

This year I’m getting wise and buying take home containers, because buying a new set of Tupperware every year is not financially workable and chasing down my shared dishes is a feat for dwellers of Olympus. The dollar store has these cute little containers that could be reused if treated nicely, or recycled if beaten up, and knowing my family, well, recycling is nice.

Because we potluck each year everyone has a dish or two that they’ve gotten pretty good at. I usually make the mashed potatoes, not because I am particularly amazing at potatoes, but they are an easy dish when I have my whole house to clean and childproof before the meal. (My house is usually pretty kid safe, but when there’s so many people around, I tend to take extra precautions like baby gates and locking the pantry door. One year my cousins then 6 month old, who admittedly, I didn’t even know had the kinda grip strength required for this feat, got into my junk drawer and was chewing on a lightbulb. How she got it open, as it’s a hard pull, and reached over her head into the drawer is beyond me, but I still hear about the lightbulb incident).

I’ve also started the very preliminaries of my Christmas shopping. A few family members hang out in this corner of the internet so I can’t really discuss it in detail, but it’s a nice jumpstart. I just really don’t want to be panicked, running around when the snow flies. Since we are such a big family, outside of our immediate members, the larger subset of extended family does a secret Santa, and it’s quite the spy game. Its especially difficult when you get someone you really don’t know. I’ve felt a little sorry for my person the last two years, my cousins son, a now 16 year old who came into our family around 2017 when she and his dad hit it off. He’s a lovely kid but very shy and so my gifts for him have always been an educated guess based on anecdotal information. I hope I at least hit in the ballpark of his interests.

It’s also that oh-so-wonderful time of year when “sportsmen” start making poor decisions about their hunting habits and try to hunt near my property. It’s such a weird thing, because I was taught that you do not aim or fire when you have an unsecured backdrop, which is to say, if you’re aiming at anything that you don’t explicitly mean to shoot at, you are doing it wrong. I bring this up because in the past we’ve had some incidents where I live with people using my farm as a backdrop, putting my family, both two and four legged in jeopardy. My neighbor has had bullet holes put in her home and come face to face with poachers, which are somewhat prevalent in the area because the roads are winding and dark. 

But all this to say, someone used my farm as a backstop again this week, and I swear it took years off my life because I was actively trying to bring the girls in for the evening, so I nearly got trampled, my family was outside in danger, and it was getting dark so visibility was going away fast. There’s no sad ending to this thank God, but there’s no resolution to this either as it was a lucky thing, he was a bad (or good?) shot. Point is, only aim at things you intend to shoot, and for the love of God, think about your backstop, bullets don’t just fall out of the sky if you miss.

Okay, rant over, please enjoy these cute little noses as a resting point, fuzzy horse noses are the best thing for a troubled soul

My Favorite Nellie Snoot to boop
My Favorite Ro Snoot to boop

In happier news, another of my many cousins, one of the last couple that don’t live here in the valley, has been put to visit. It’s been super fun to see her, as it’s literally been a couple years now, and so much has changed for everyone. We got together to have an Aldrich Family lunch. It’s a little sad she can’t make it to Thanksgiving, but I’m so grateful she got any time off to visit at all, as time off is a real battle at her place of employment.

So, all in all, a crazy busy week, especially when you add in torrential downpours and lots of work meetings. I was supposed to meet with my lovely farrier, but he was kind enough to let me push it out a week so I could dry out the corral and catch up to life a little (and frankly, remind my girls the pasture isn’t that scary after the hunter situation). 

Its beginning to look a lot like the holidays around here, which means I get busier than Santa Claus and need January as an entire “mental health month”. Could you imagine? A whole month off? I bet I’d go stir crazy

Until we chat again my friends.

A Rainy Little Week

Hello friends!

Happy belated Halloween! We had a nice chill holiday, and I ended up taking a long weekend due to just being a little too under the weather for my own good.

We had some lovely treats on Sunday, Halloweeño and hell pepper poppers, ghost cake, and a build your own taco bar (no funny name for this one, all punned out). I spent several hours putting it all together, definitely pepper burned myself multiple times, and honestly, I think that’s a little bit why Monday simply felt insurmountable as a workday. Luckily, I have a very cool boss who understood.

In a very uncharacteristic way, it has been raining all week, just enough to keep everything at muddy levels. Trying to do anything serious changes involved getting wet, and while I can, to some extent, tip toe across most of the mud without sinking too far, my sweet mares are not as lucky. We’ve tried working a couple of times but I’m so worried about slips and falls or pulled muscles, or any other craziness that can happen when you aren’t really set up to deal with the rain.

I know there are plenty of horses that work in all sorts of weather, so it’s not to say my girls aren’t capable, but both have been retired or semi-retired due to leg injuries, and I simply don’t think the potential the injuries are worth it. I love working with my girls, this time of year is so hard because we all feel pent up, but I also don’t want to permanently end our fun with one or two careless moments. We are enjoying lots of bonding moments at least, and a fair amount of manners training, which won’t stick but is fun to work on.

Had the very fun experience this week of going to the Warhawk Museum. I was admittedly a little worried, it had been so hyped up to me that I was certain it simply would not excite. I am also almost never a fan of heading into Boise after work, because rush hour is a stress I simply don’t handle well.

But, oh my goodness, was it worth it! It’s such an unassuming little building when you walk up to it, and even in the gift shop there’s this sort of “very small” feeling to the place, but as soon as you walk into the museum proper, you realize it’s two large hangars stuffed to the rafters with beautifully organized and thought out displays ranging from memorabilia from ww1 to exhibits on the first gulf war. By far and away their biggest exhibits are on WW2, but they also have lots of great information on Korea and Vietnam.

Happy Family!!

I’m already planning to go back because after about 3 hours I had maybe seen 1/8th or so of all the exhibits. They have fascinating little tidbits of things you don’t think about, like a silk wedding dress made from an old parachute, several propeller planes (many of which fly still in their annual air show) and a fold up bicycle meant to be packed in with the men who jumped out of airplanes so they had a way to get around when they landed.

They have easily a thousand binders of preserved information around the museum, many of which they actively encourage you to touch, read through, research out of. From books detailing the liberation of some of the concentration camps, to love letters, to personal diaries of POWs and flight orders hastily scrawled on a little flip book, it really does wonders to bring the people to life. I read one such note that said “the skies were crowded today. Glad it was with our own” when referring to a flown mission, and a love letter from a young man telling his girl that after his next deployment he should get to come home, and how terribly excited he is about that.

I really wish I’d taken more photos, but I was simply so wrapped up in the awe of it I completely forgot most of the time.

The amazing thing about this museum is its amazing curator and volunteers. To my knowledge, everyone I’d interacted with had firsthand experience and stories from at least one conflict represented in the museum and were dear friends with men who were now subjects of some of the museum’s displays. Its incredibly interesting to read about people with anecdotes from their lives, it’s almost heartbreaking to hear the volunteers talk about their friend who donated memories because they knew the Warhawk would keep them safe. Watching the curator, a lovely man named Lou, tear up about the WW2 vets who had been such an important part of the museums volunteers, who were now memorialized in the museum itself, had me very near tears over souls I’d never met. 

While they have a nicely set up self-guided tour, you really can’t go a very long without meeting with some of the volunteers, they are so keen to chat and so knowledgeable, it would be no more than 5-10 minutes in between long chats before someone would mosey up and say some variant of “want to see something cool?”. To which the only appropriate response is “of course, yes please”. You’d them spent the next 15-60 minutes following around a volunteer as you walk out the timeline of a conflict, see all the artifacts from a particular story, or get to climb up close and personal with the Red Baron model. One lovely gentleman was so excited to show us everything that we walked laps around the museum for an hour, hearing his life story intermixed with all the interesting history, and he’d start every new topic with “well, here’s something really interesting” as though touching the wing of a jet or hearing him casually refer to John Glenn as “old John” wasn’t fascinating enough. This gentleman, who’s nametag read Dick, lived enough crazy stories for 10 lifetimes, and was a definite reminder not to wait for life to just happen to you. 

I ended up purchasing a membership, a mug, and a couple books, because gems like this need to be supported, and I wholeheartedly plan to go back soon. The next time I intend to bring a notebook.

Until we chat again my friends.