Wednesday, February 25, 2009

easy does it

Flu. Twisted painful gut contents. Work was miserable.
Biatch and whine

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

onions eggs dog poo and birds

The last of the beautiful sweet onions from Brenda. It remains impressive to me that she can create sweet onions that remain dormant through the winter. This last one obviously didn't heed the call. These were not the compact little keepers that shut down so tightly. These were white skinned big flaked sweet onions. PU used the last of them on the weekend in a very colourful stir fry and nailed the onions to that ever so sweet spot where they are barely warmed through. I should see if Brenda is in need of more eggs.


That's how we work it. She keeps me in onions and I try and keep her in eggs. Brenda has many gifts.

I kept many more chickens this winter than most years. It's been two years since we had a glut of eggs. After losing 19 hens to a dog on a killing spree, it's taken a while to build up the flock again. Last year I introduced some commercial hens into the mix. They irritate me to no end with their light weight flying and enthusiasm. When I'm in the coup I don't need hens flying around. It's the dirtiest place imaginable. Sometimes I wear a mask, but most times getting it on is a bother in the winter.

Rosie took a few tentative bites of breakfast this morning, but not enough to alleviate my concerns about her appetite. I fed her right next to Tom the bomb too and the competition didn't seem to help much. I'm feeling the stress, but Rosie doesn't seem to be. At least it isn't showing up in her mood. She's still quite perky and willing to bounce around and play. She did have another pee inside yesterday evening in the same place as the previous day. I don't think it's a full release of her bladder contents, but it's enough that she won't lay back down on her mat. What's up with that? I thought we had finished with house training years ago. I'll have to leave her outside a lot today. It's a warmish day which helps. I can't deal with any more curve balls from her quarter today.

The new birds got a good work out last night with PU and Snoot taking one each to a shoulder for their introduction to card playing after dinner last night. I handled them a few times briefly during the day and didn't get bit once. It's been decided that we'll let their wing feathers grow out after the majority of the taming is over with and then allow them to grow in completely. That way we can leave them caged unless someone wants to tend them and we can enjoy them at full throttle when they are out and about.





Favourite quote today:
Stay calm. Be brave. Wait for the signs...
- Dead Dog Cafe

Monday, February 23, 2009

Iguana and hognose

A couple of the interesting critters we met when we picked up the cockatiels yesterday. I've never met such a civil iguana. This guy was a peach. He's a rescue like so many, so he's got some scars inside and out, but this couple really has their heads into what is right and good for this guy and that was worth the trip in itself.


This is an Eastern Hognose. We have the indistinguishable Western Hognose in one park in Manitoba. I think they are so cool looking with that ornamental Indian slipper type face. Snoot was the model.



cockatiels and dog cones

Baby cockatiels are a hit with PU and Snoot apparently. I wouldn't have guessed that, but they both jumped in early and often. Got our senkiwboo@lj back to the city to begin the grind of calculus again. She's a little grey so if you are so inclined, give her a boost if can.


I guess the protective clear plastic cone that the vet fitted to our dog wasn't quite up for pit bull style beat and thrash. I came to bring her in before bed last night and she had smashed it into several pieces. Some engineer came up short. Hopefully we won't have to replace it. She's still not eating well and I think it's because she still can't defecate easily. Sheesh. Enough already.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

stitches, boas and birds

Another fun day as a pet owner. Rosie had a skin biopsy taken from her face while she was sedated at the vet last week. Tonight she ripped the stitches out while pursuing a chew into her new calf hoof that was all about the big jaw pressure. We were just sitting down to dinner when it happened.

Rosie is very dexterous with her paws and will punch and bat things around when she's playing which is how she got hooked up with the stitches.

I noticed that the vet had left a full stitch loop exposed, but figured that must be a best practice of some kind. I'm such a sucker. The results when the dog accidentally caught a front claw in that loop tonight repulsed our teen. I cleaned off the blood to have a good look and it clotted up well so I left it alone. I'm glad I didn't have to mop up any more bloody pools. That entertainment is wearing really thin.

Could we have any more fun with this? Oh yes we can!

I thought it a bit strange that Rosie's 15cm belly cut was sewn up with dissolving stitches, but the 3mm cut in her lip was sewn up with thread that will have to be taken out forcibly. Can you guess which ones haven't held up to life in the fast lane? Tonight, Boo pointed out a spot where we think the incision is coming apart on Rosie's belly. No goo is leaking and maybe it's just the way it's supposed to be. Whatever. They did a crappy job of the tattoo in her ear too, but when I was asked about it I assumed they would take cosmetics into account. My bad.

On a more optimistic front, I'll carry on.

After cleaning up after Hugo the boa yesterday I got in his face a few times today to test the waters more closely and tonight he was behaving very differently than most evenings. When I went out to shut off lights and check on the herp room critters Hugo was out and about like he had places to go, things to do and phone calls to make. Had I been a little more ballsy I would not have had trouble getting him out of the enclosure. He would have come out willingly under his own power.

I so rarely see him out, when he's not seeking food, that I was very curious about his temperament. With the door open he behaved exactly like he appeared to be acting with the door closed, very active. He certainly has a posture to suggest a strike is pending, but I'm onto it. I've got to have this guy where I can show him off better. He has such a remarkable pattern and colour. I'm not a boa expert and he's just a garden variety BCI, but I'm now getting a much better look at him. Given that he ate really well last week I am fairly certain he's not hunting tonight. I'm hoping he's looking for some more stimulation. Sadly Boo goes back to the city tomorrow. She's my failsafe partner in these types of matters.

I've got some cockatiels coming tomorrow. Hopefully they aren't too bitey. They are young and hand fed birds looking for a home. Welcome to the zoo. I'll keep the best one and I've got homes lined up for the others. I cleaned up a cage and rigged up some toys yesterday. PU seems to be interested in having a bird which surprised me, but with animal acquisitions I'm an easy sell. We'll see how it all pans out tomorrow. I really don't know what I'll find when I get there. I hope it's not more of the horror show. No more vet bills for a while! I've been really lucky over the years in not having to pay vet bills. I've learned to give injections and own a proper vet manual, but I've been stung properly this week and if the birds are anything but brimming with health I'll be walking away Rene.
Rave On.

Nana's Magic Baked Beans

These are the bomb. Boo and I got to craving a batch of beans and she had lived a life void of NMBB so far and I rectified that this week. Trouble was they didn't last worth a damn so this time we used two pounds of pinto beans to see if that would slack our hunger for the magic.

I'm glad I stayed up to check on the oven because it did not shut off when I thought I had set it to shut off. Nana's magic dish works like magic. Double magic beans will be just the ticket for breakfast tomorrow. You're all coming to cut and haul wood right? It's nice light work. Really it is. My bets are on Boo having too much calculus to even take a step in the wood cutting direction. Manon will be enjoying splitting the wood too much to help cut more and that's entirely OK as it all has to be done. We'll all be running on the mighty pinto regardless of task.

Sunday I'm looking forward to picking up a few

I love this dish


From above



1 pound Dried Pinto Beans
1 cup Ketchup
1 large Onion, chopped
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp hot dry pepper flakes
Dash of Worsteshire Sauce
** edit ** 250g bacon


- Wash and sort the beans
- Cover with 6 cups of water and let stand over night
- Drain
- Add five cups fresh water and bring to a boil
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 60-70 minutes or until cooked to perfection
- Drain, reserving 1/2 cups liquid
- Cook onion, garlic and bacon over medium heat until crispy, about 15 minutes.
** I cook the bacon up separately and cook it the way I like it, almost crisp.

- Add these ingredients, including some or all the fat, to the beans.
**I don't add all the fat.

- Add all other ingredients and mix it up well.

- Transfer to a bean pot.

- Cover and bake at 250F for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Bake for 30 more minutes uncovered.

Old beans take a lot time to cook up and often that's what we're stuck with here. If cooked long enough and properly hydrated they can be very good tasting.

I speed up my hydration (soaking) by heating the water up at first. These beans tonight are ancient and too about 4 hours too cook properly. Do not expect them to continue to cook in the bean pot with the rest of the ingredients. They won't.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Vita turkeys and Hugo's tongue

Snoot and I were coming home from her drama rehearsal on Wednesday (she's Peter Pan) when she pointed out the local wild turkey flock roosting. I didn't take time to get a decent shot of them, but here is an earlier image of one if you aren't familiar with this bird. Isn't he a beauty?




Hugo ate a 700g meal last week and then promptly delivered an enormous crap. We still haven't come to an agreement on mutual civil behaviour, so cleaning up is still an adventure for me. It seems now that I'm aware of how my face will flush when I'm afraid, I notice it a lot more. Tonight we had face shields to avoid looking as if our faces were targets. Boo gave me a hand to clean the enclosure. He's such a spectacular animal it's a shame not to have him easier to have in hand. I should work on that more. He's stunning. He's big enough to be a challenge if he ever really leaned into a fight so to be safe I'll have Boo around to lend a hand if it ever got a little western with him.

I like it when I can catch the tongue out. It's not often that I catch it just right, but tonight I had three images where he had his tongue well extended.


Spayed - tying off the leaking surgery bits

I had to pick up the dog regardless of how she was making out. She refused to eat or drink at the clinic. I'll have to remember that strategy when I'm being kept in a horror show against my will.

She's not out of the woods yet, but she is now our most valuable pet by a wide margin. We've had dogs spayed before, but we've never had any complications before this experience. Given that the problems were of the vet's doing, I was not happy to get another big invoice to pay today. I won't be advertising for this vet's work that's for sure.

When Rosie came home on Wednesday she was wasted.


Today when I picked her up she was all bright eyed and bushy tailed. She looks pitiful, but she's some kind of happy to be back home. She drank a couple of liters of water the minute she was through the door and ate a half ration dinner shortly after that. She wanted to sleep, but seemed reluctant to take her eyes away from us while we ate dinner this evening. Poor thing. Tomorrow I'll have to change her dressing and keep sticking the antibiotics into her.



The business


If I have to do any more dancing for this operation I think I'm going to come unglued.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

spay the pit

Rosie had a the baby making bits removed yesterday. It was brutal. She was still really dopey at 22:00 last night. Today she was spraying blood everywhere whenever she moved around. Of course being a terrier meant that she was all up for jumping around. Fortunately I saw it all coming and finally abandoned her to her kennel.

By 16:00 today she was still leaking quite a bit of bright blood so back she went. They'll bill me for that too apparently. Not a great vibe in the office. Young vet, local and not an ounce of humility. I felt like I was a very bad guy leaving my dog behind there again today. She could hardly believe I was walking away without her. I get seriously attached to the ugly ones and Rosie is a scary looking girl at times. Other times we'll choose to dwell on tonight though.


I really want a puppy. Not until I have room though, but I want to raise another dog from a really young pup. I think I can now maybe lighten up enough to create a love they all deserve. Dogs are my favourite pet, but I think some might say I'm not that fussy. I think we have close to fifty of them running around here. Maybe that's why my family members hardly ever come to visit. My inlaws come all the time. Even the sister in law that is or at least was terrified of snakes. She's a trooper.

Leaving the vet today I was saddened to think that she could die of internal bleeding today. I kept checking her gums and the swelling. I'm a sap when it comes right down to it. I don't bond up to people nearly as well as i bond up to dogs. Heck, I'm closer to some of my snakes that some of my so called friends.
Too tired to party.
Misisng the dark force. She'll be home again tomrrow with any luck.

Monday, February 16, 2009

MIL and wood cutting

My mother in law has been out for the weekend. It's a long one as we celebrate Louis Riel day.

It's one of my successes that I take a lot of pleasure in my mother in law coming to stay and it's such a good time. It didn't used to be so rewarding, but it is now. She one that will come to share a light heart and roll with the punches. I wish more of the extended family could come to say more often, but I suppose it's not for everyone. It's a royal hassle for some there is no doubt.

Yesterday I got a serious dent in the wood cutting made again today. Yesterday I was on my own so had a close appreciation for how slowly the routines of liming trees and then bucking up the logs into stove lengths and finally hauling them through the snow and stacking them on the trail ready to load on the truck when we get that far along. I figure we are a quarter done save the splitting.

The two younger girls came out later to help and the help was visible to everyone and felt tremendously valuable. Many hands make light work that's for sure and it was a light day all round. Well, except for Snoot. She went out to a social last night and ended up bringing some sloppiness in her articulation of her adventures on the way home. Boo suggested she have a good shower before the shared the bed and I thought a little more air in the car might not have been in appropriate.

Sewing some wild oats is a good thing. She's a great kid and the earlier the mistakes are made the better. Maybe that's not standard practice for parenting, but I'm a very big fan of have children experience as much hands on practise with risk management as possible. I suppose I've always looked at it that way.

Today she was very crabby. Such is life. Between Boo and her they made the wood disappear into the pile really quickly so she wasn't completely out of commission. Now that I see the rows of stacked wook mounting up to look impressive I don't want to stope. I'll set some goals in the shop tomorrow and see if I can get some time later in the day to cut up a couple more trees. Some had fallen into the snow as it iced up here and they were brutal to get out and serviceable.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Winners of the 2008 World Press Photo of the Year contest

I like images and enjoyed this series.

Winners of the 2008 World Press Photo of the Year contest>

A bit more like winter today, but I cut wood for more than two hours anyway. Eventually I couldn't keep head of my chilled hands, but I was ready to sit down by that point anyway. I'll try and cut again tomorrow. That same routine last week left me limp and struggling to recover. I got caught on that road when I began today too. I'll have to learn some better pacing until I develop more strength for the work.

Tomorrow is destined for socializing and some geeky bits with computers.

Mother in law came out for the weekend. She's such a sport. I love her.

Manon went out to a social tonight and tied one on a bit I think. We'll see how much spring remains in her step tomorrow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

ramblin / boo home / wood tomorrow

Got some great traction this week. Worked on two neglected older Japanese watches for a friend that likes to get into gasoline. As a results the gaskets have all turned to goo. I can't be inspired to work gratis for a high brow mechanic that dosn't think about these things for these tiny machines so I invested less than maybe I should. If it was a paying job, maybe I'd have done some detailing, but no. My bad? It's always a personal call.

Lots of shop worked pumped out this week and more to come. Thanks for the feedback Dad. I'm glad you're still able to teach young dogs new tricks. I've been really enjoying the shop time.

Tomorrow I'll try and get out in the morning and cut a bunch more wood. It will be winter out there tomorrow, but maybe that will give snoot some time to split some of it.

Mamie is out for a few days and Boo is home for reading week. Classes are eating her up, but she seems to be managing well from what I can tell. It's always good to have her home. Cards were played and tasty pizza was built with appropriate thick beer for the pizza was available. PU was out judging 4H public speaking competition to night. She had fun, but were are all headed to bed early as usual.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Linux 101 hacks - free ebook download

A great little resource for those that use or would like to use a Linux based system.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

postal ice

The women have finally gone off to their respective outside jobs and I'm left to fend for myself this morning. The weekend was so gentle and mild with brilliant sunshine. A Colorado low had been forecast for many days to be coming our way and we know that usually means wind and precipitation in quantity. The low brought us some cloud cover and rain and although we did lose a lot of snow to the rain the temperature and wind on Monday really wasn't enough to clean up the ice that was formed.

Schools were closed and our little road was deserted on Monday. Yesterday morning I was having a difficult time believing that the ice hadn't eroded enough to travel carefully so I decided it was time to go and get the mail.

I got to the end of the driveway before my first little voice of doubt began whispering in my ear that this trip might be better off left for another day. I fell through the soft snow pack at the end of the drive and had to play around moving around that with that for a while.

Once on the road it seemed quite reasonable with a lot of gravel poking through providing some traction. By the time I got a mile east there was not a single stone showing through and the rain and homogenized normally rough gravel and snow pack into a smooth and polished reflective mirror. I'm kicking myself for not having my camera, but the video link Tyler sent will give you some idea of how smooth it was.

There was so little resistance that I resorted to rolling down my window trying to hear the difference between whether my tires were rolling or sliding. The first corner was taken at 1500rpm in low gear and desperately trying to stay on top of the crown of the road. Whenever I strayed from straddling the crown, I ended up sliding off to the shoulder and sometimes that wasn't a happy place.

The corner at McLean's was miserable too with nothing but a glassy surface offered up for the challenge. Everything from Reimer's to the highway was a mirror. By the time I got to the post office I wasn't convinced that I could get home without having to abandon the car and walk, but with patience and time, it all transpired without incident. If I had met a car the adventure would have turned to tractors and hiking for completion.

I lost it quite well twice on the journey, but managed to salvage the drive through both, fortunately. A trip of fifteen minutes turned into one of about an hour. As a consequence, my rising bread got a little airy. I should have just punched it down again, but I was distracted by then and a little shaky. I can't remember the last time that happened after a drive where the top speed was 10km per hour.

Wild West

Monday, February 9, 2009

ice on the walk

Ice storm in February.


strike nowhere matches

I'm getting cheesed off with Redbird strike anywhere matches. They've cheapened them to the point of uselessness. The match stick is now too thin to strike "anywhere" without breaking and the phosphorous tip is so far diminished that it's now difficult to get a match to light on the box, never mind your zipper when you're standing out at the burning barrel in a winter blow.... up your knees in snow... ice crust eating your shins for lunch... #^&*@#^&*. Lighters lose their pressure in the cold. Do I really need a Zippo in my pocket at all times? That will suck in the summer, but fire is a major component of this rural lifestyle. An outdated arcane lifestyle apparently.

Last night I broke two matches trying to light a piece of paper. This week both PU and Snoot shot the tiny white tip off onto the floor and one did a nice black burn into the back door mat. These are people that have lit literally thousands of matches in their lives and many more than most I would presume. I assume that the safety factor of the older styles of matches were too much for the actuaries to support with numbers and thus insane insurance rates, but how safe are the dummy down versions?

Gads I'm at wits end with people being saved from the need to think and suffer the consequences of even the simplest of tasks. Back to my Velcro shoes and diapers. Save me from the negative, none of this really matters, except if you actually need a match to light because you need fire. I mute the commercials and talk to real people instead so maybe there's no hope for me.

If you ever see these available, please test them out. I'm in the market for some good ones.

Survivor man wannabee with flared nostrils.

Bread, wood cutting

Again my thanks go out to Mum for tipping me off about the need for fifty degree celsius water to pitch the fast acting bread yeast.

Another house filled to the brim with happy people and good food last night. These loaves were about 3cm in diameter when I formed them and set them aside to rise. When risen they were nice and round too, even though I softened the tops by cutting and then brushing with butter.

PU dried some thyme again this year and it was perfectly preserved. I was scouting the spice cabinet for ideas and came across the thyme and the colour was very rich. Deciding to stray from my usual sprinkles of rosemary, I rubbed the thyme between my hands and summer was once again close by. If I can't have it fresh I'll certainly take this quality of dried herb over the commercial junk every time.

After I too tentatively slitting the tops on the loaves I brushed them with a bit of butter to help keep them from drying out and to help the spices to stick to the loaf tops. I added a bit of colour by including paprika and then a bit of salt to add to the luxury. Next time I'll add some stinky cheese of some sort. Emmental I think. Lately I've been craving all kinds of Swiss cheese.

There was no fat in the recipe and although I didn't think there was much sugar added they came out tasting really sweet. There isn't much left of the second loaf so that was a good sign I wasn't too far off the mark. There was a cup of whole wheat in the mix and a quarter cup of rye flour. It was odd to have a darker loaf taste so sweet. I'll have to play with that rye flour more to see if I simply goofed on the sugar or whether the rye flour changes the taste to leave a sweet taste to me.


I have some rye kernels I'm dying to try out in a bread recipe. I'll maybe reserect some sour dough, cook the kernels and see if I can't play on Wednesday for a while.

Wood cutting began in earnest on Saturday. It was a brilliant weekend to spend outside with little or no wind and blinding sun reflecting off the snow. The air is incredibly clean at this time of year and the forest makes a wonderful place to kill an afternoon. After felling several trees and bucking up a couple on Saturday I felt no aches or pains, save a mystery bloody scratch on my right shin.

However, an hour and a half of heavy work on Saturday followed by an even heavier two hours on Sunday has left me a little limp. I keep thinking back to last spring and trying to remember how fit I was then. Even though I've been running regularly since the new year, I haven't done any core work at all. What better way to round out the training than with such a varied task as cutting up the firewood. The ultimate in the poor man's gym membership. Maybe a better quality all round I expect. I have committed to racing the same trail series I did last year instead of making a bid for a two hour half marathon. Maybe there will be time for both, but I doubt it although I did get some amazing traction last season on several fronts.

Today is what's referred to as the Festival thaw. Even though it's a bit early this year. Festival du Voyageur is a fun time although sometimes warmer than organizers might want for a winter festival. The Francophone influence provides much of the vigour to our culture. I was raised in the straight laced protestant west of Canada and always found the French girls interesting. Mum might argue I wasn't very particular I suppose. Regardless, married life has provided tourtiere at last so all is right with the world.

All that to say it's raining and the ice on the back walk is insane. I'm supposed to have a crown put on in the city tomorrow and although not king, I'd still like to have it cleaned up. I hope the roads are better tomorrow. The school buses are all canceled and PU is home with roads closed and extreme caution warnings everywhere. I'm in a groove. All I want to do is head out there with the chain saw, but I best stick to the shop today and try and generate some income.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

learning language

This looks like the bomb for learning languages.