Monday, August 19, 2019

the quotidian (8.19.19)

Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
everyday; ordinary; commonplace

At this point, being grateful is more of a decision and less an actual feeling.

I figured what with all the tomatoes, homemade pasta was in order.

Cold sweats: that's what they're giving me.

Vanilla bean buttercream: nailed it.

He said he needed something to read so I gave him one of my favorites.

The pooper scooper men came and took all our crap away, yay.

Post-run, cool-down: tracks.

Making me think. (Have you read it?)

Good fences make good neighbors (though in this case, the horse is on the wrong side).

Rain, finally.

Oh, lucky me  a double rainbow and two asses!

This same time, years previous: passion fruit juice, bourbon and brown sugar peach pie, the quotidian (8.17.15), proceed with abandon, starfruit smoothie, how to get your refrigerator clean in two hours, peach tart.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

a bloody tale

Tuesday morning, I was in the shower when my older son knocked on the door. "Can I come in?"

"Sure," I said, pulling the curtain all the way closed.

He stuck his head in the door. “One of the cows got its tail torn mostly off so we need to amputate. You might want to take pictures.”


the medical team

The kids threw wide the gate, cornered the injured steer between it and the fence, and then tied it to the fence, creating a surgical chute, of sorts.

The other cows were evacuated to the lower field, the sheep milled about pleasantly, and the goats roamed free, disregarding Coco’s frenetic efforts to herd them back into the pasture.

At one point, my sister-in-law dropped off her kids to be babysat — that they got to observe a medical procedure was an unintended bonus — and my father came over to weigh in, as per my children’s request. (My husband was at a doctor’s appointment so he missed all the excitement).

My older son was in his element. An avid James Herriot fan, he milked the moment, announcing with great glee, “I’ll need a bucket of hot water, some soap, and a towel, please.” He hosed down the steer's back end and scraped the hair and dead skin above where he’d be making the cut.

And then there was the problem of what to cut with. My father suggested tree clippers, so my daughter ran to fetch a set and sterilize them.

And right around then was when the onlookers, imagining the worst, fled, their fingers in their ears to block the expected bellows (that never came).

My son sprayed the incision site with iodine and then my father held the lower end of the tail while my son positioned the clippers. “Get all the way around before you cut,” my father coached.

Then— slice.

The steer didn’t even flinch.

They dunked the stump in a container of iodine and then my son applied pressure, gave up (because the bleeding didn't stop), and did a bunch more cleaning of the wound with scalpel and scissors. 

All the while, the steer just stood there, placidly munching his grain.

I went back to the house then — it was starting to rain — leaving the kids to bandage the stump.

photo credit: my older daughter

And all this before I even had my coffee.

P.S. Two days later, the steer's had antibiotics and appears to be doing great. Fingers crossed!

This same time, years previous: the beginning of the end, knowing my questions, from market to table, garlicky spaghetti sauce, Friday snark, drilling for sauce, tomato and red wine sauce.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

breaking horses

Recently, my older daughter got a side gig breaking horses. Several times a week she spends a couple hours working with the horses. (There are about eighteen, and the owner wants her to “ground break” a bunch of them so they can be sold.) Upon her return, she’s caked with dust and full of stories about flying hooves and huffy horses.

Naturally, I was curious, so Saturday morning I followed her over for a look-see. I planned to stay for twenty minutes or so — just long enough to get a feel for what she does and snap a few photos — but the process was so fascinating that I ended up staying the whole time.

That day, she was working with two, three-year-old stallions.

This was the third time working with each of them. She told me that when she’d started a few days before, the grey one had never had a halter on before, and the white one had almost no experience being led and was quite aggressive, bucking, kicking, and straight-up charging her. ("He's just trying to protect himself," she explains.)

The barn was divided into two pens: she worked a horse in one section while the other horse (and I) waited in the other. Every now and then the waiting horse would sidle over to and I’d get scared.

“Um, hon?” I’d squeak, “Help!!” and then she’d have to stop her training to come chase him away.

But then when he closed in on me, butt-first, the actual probability of getting hoof-hammered increased exponentially. Visions of shattered hip bones and busted kidneys flitting through my mind, I quickly, as per my daughter’s recommendation, relocated to the top of the fence.

“Am I safe now?” I asked, teetering on the edge.

My daughter peered through the wooden slates, judging the distance between horse and mother. “Probably,” she said (rather unconvincingly).

It was fun seeing how much the horses improved in just an hour. My daughter’s approach is straightforward: chase them around until they get tired and then put a halter on them and chase them around some more.

Once they’re tired, she:

*Strokes them all over...

*Familiarizes them with the lead rope by rubbing it all over their body...

*Runs her hands down their legs and tugs at their “ankles” until they lift their hooves...

*Tap-tap-taps them (first the shoulder, then the rump, then the other side) with the whip to get them to shift their weight over...

*Leads them on both the left and right side, making sure they maintain a suitable distance from her...

  Not a suitable distance.


*Teaches them voice commands — walk, ho (stop), trot — and to not turn their butts to her (“That’s so rude!” she scolds)...

*Trains them to turn with the rope, not against it...

That last step, she did over and over, first wrapping the rope around their backside and tugging, and then, once they got that, just draping it across their backs and then their necks, waiting until they turned away from her, following the rope to unwind themselves.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Almost, almost, almost.

By the end of each session, the horses were remarkably compliant. She tried to reward them with bits of carrot but apparently untrained horses don’t know the glories of orange root vegetables.

That, it turns out, has to be taught, too.

This same time, years previous: riding paso fino, the quotidian (8.13.18), the quotidian (8.14.17), a new room, spaghetti with vodka cream tomato sauce, the quotidian (8.12.13), a piece of heaven, getting my halo on.

Monday, August 12, 2019

the quotidian (8.12.19)

Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
everyday; ordinary; commonplace

Cherry tomatoes: caramelized and candied.

Just for her: she was craving meat so she fried up some minute steaks and ate them all. 

Fresh tomato tart: promising, but needs a little more work. 

So happy to be done with this job.

Just peachy. 


"Crawling out of my skin" illustrated. 

Because if a boy has a car, then he's gotta have the tunes to go with.

This same time, years previous: Mondays, fresh peach pie, tomato bread pudding with caramelized onions and sausage, the Murch Collision of 2015, the quotidian (8.11.14), best banana bread, grilled trout with bacon.