Friday, December 31, 2010

Freya and the Night Whizzies






It was dark in the goat barn and each little caprine was sound asleep, except one. Freya, the black and white LaMancha had come awake with a jarring start just a minute ago. Outside the barn all manner of loud noises had begun. At first she had simply tucked her head into the thick hay bedding and tried to ignore the scary sounds and lights in the midnight sky. But, being a Munchie and by virtue of such, she soon found her curiosity getting the better of her. Being very careful as to where she placed her hooves (For she didn`t wish to step on her barn-mates) the two-toned goat crept to the open doors of the barn.

Another volley of multi-colored lights soared into the cold dark winter sky. She tipped her head back and gasped at the brilliant fireworks and loud bangs and pops that accompanied the sight. A chilly wind blew over her, chilling her elf ears and making her long eyelashes sway gently. Suddenly behind her she heard the sound of someone rustling about in the hay manger. Freya pulled a face. She had been caught tip-hooving around in the middle of the night. With a sigh she turned her head to find old Fawn chewing on some tasty alfalfa hay and staring at her with wizened brown eyes.

“I wasn`t planning on going outside in the snow to play on the logs or castle,” Freya quickly explained because she knew the oldest goat in the barn would suspect her of such things. The fact that she had done such things was not the point the Munchie thought.”The human`s woke me up with their bangs and whizzies and bright sky lights. What are our attendees doing?”

Fawn chewed a bit more then swallowed loudly before she hobbled to the wide door to look up at the house on the hill.

“They`re celebrating New Year`s Eve,” the brown goat replied then burped up a cud.

“What the heck is New Year`s Eve?” Freya asked as she tried to scratch behind her stubby left ear with her hoof.

“It`s a new year,” Fawn replied around her cud.

“So what`s a year? Why do our attendees need a new one? Did they break the old one? “The impish LaMancha asked, hoping for once someone other than her had broken something.

“They didn`t break the old year it just wore out.”

“Kind of like you?” the kid asked. Fawn sniffed at the remark.

“Something like that,” the eldest doe replied then swallowed down her well-chewed snack.”A year is how humans measure time. When the old one is worn out they make lots of noise to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the New Year.”

“Ohhhh,” the Munchie said as if she knew what the half-blind old doe was talking about.”Why don`t they just use the sunlight and different seasons like we goats do to measure time?”

“I can`t say,” Fawn mumbled as the sky over the barn flashed with bright shades of blue and red.”Human`s are down-right odd creatures at times.”

“I like them though! They bring us good hay and water and take us to the fair so we can win prizes! I won a blue ribbon and everyone called me a grand champion Munchie,” she said then got a puzzled look on her lovely face,”Although I`m still not sure why they needed a ribbon to tell them I`m a champion. Is champion LaMancha the same thing as champion trouble-maker?? That`s what they call me most times.”

“Yes, I kind of like the humans too and yes it`s the same thing,” the old doe replied softly before turning around to return to her bed between her daughter and grand-daughter.”Now you had best get your little bottom back to bed,” Fawn called over her shoulder.”Tomorrow will be a new year and you`ll need your rest to greet it in proper caprine fashion.”

“What`s proper caprine fashion for meeting a new year?” Freya queried.” Do we get all snazzied up like we do for fair week?! Will lots of people come and pet us and ask where my ears went? I love that question!”

“Proper caprine fashion is waking up and standing outside looking forlorn and shouting at the humans who were up too late for our morning grain ration. Now come to bed little LaMancha,” Fawn said

Freya sighed deeply. She didn`t want to go back to bed! She wanted to stay up and celebrate with the humans that took care of her! She wanted to run across the pasture despite the snow and kick up her heels! She wanted to hoot and holler and watch the whizzies light up the sky! With great care she picked up her front right foot and placed it ever-so-gently into the snow.

“To bed young LaMancha!” came from the old herd queen.

Freya`s shoulders drooped at the command but she lifted her hoof from the crispy snow and turned from the festivities. As slowly as possible she crept back into the barn. A few of the milking does raised their heads and gave the yearling a dirty look. She stuck her little Munchie tongue out at them then flopped down with a huff beside her bestest-best playmate Calliope the sable yearling.

“Did you find out what all the hoopla was about?” Calliope inquired as Freya nestled into the warm hay.

“A new year is coming and we have to make trouble so we can greet it…..or something like that,” Freya whispered to her friend.

“I bet you and me can welcome the New Year really good then! We`re experts in making trouble!” the sable yearling snickered, then fell quiet when one of the milking does hissed at the duo whispering in the corner.

“Yeah, I bet we can come up with all KINDS of ways to make sure this New Year is a good one!” Freya giggled gently.

“Happy New Year Freya,” Calliope murmured then drifted back to sleep.

“Happy New Year!” the LaMancha cried out loudly then tucked her head quickly when all the crabby does told her to be quiet.

“Happy New Years,” Freya muttered then floated off to dreamland as another round of rainbow sparkles illuminated the night sky.




Happy New Year from our farm to yours!

Feral


PS-A big howdy to IsobelleGoLightly, d`Artagnan and Rural Revival! Thanks for dropping in and welcome to the goofiness of our hillside farm!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I`ll try my best.....

....to awnser some of the questions that a few of my bloggin` buddies asked about our processing of our steer.Before I forget I`d like to say howdy to Nancy who just joined in! Welcome aboard and don`t worry, yodeling isn`t a necessity to visit the hillside farm!

Okay, on to some of the querys that came up!

Taylorgirl 16 asked about secrets to knives and about different cuts.

The knives that we used were mostly my husband`s wildlife knives. He does have a large boning knife and a fillet knife that only he uses due to my knack of being clumsy. Before we begin any butchering operation all knives-his and my paring knives-are sharpened by hand on a stone by Mister Yodeling. Also we will stop and sharpen as needed during the cutting process. With knives you really do get what you pay for, so buying the best you can afford will pay you back handsomely, especially with a huge job like a steer.

As to the different cuts of beef what we did was simply process the steer as we do venison. Actually our butchering process is kind of sparse as we really only cut out filet, t-bones and some roasts. There are skads of fancy cuts like skirt steaks and on and on. Since we`re not professional butchers we opted to only do what we know how to do. Also we have a book in our rather large farm library that was a great help to us. It`s called 'Raising a Calf for Beef' and is written by Phyllis Hobson.



I recommend it highly to anyone thinking of raising a calf for the freezer. It covers everything from bringing the calf home to weaning, rations, medical care, fattening the calf and butchering time. It has a very nice section on slaughtering, cutting and processing beef on the farm. The butchering section even has pictures to show you where and how to cut all sorts of steaks, roasts and briskets.

John Grey asked about step-by-step blogs on meat butchering. Were you asking about beef John or just anything we raise on the farm? When we process the Hereford I can surely show you the process step-by-step but that won`t be until next fall. We are though processing roosters this weekend. (The hens have asked us to lower the numbers of the randy blighters and we always do as the ladies ask!)If anyone is interested in seeing how we handle butchering chickens I`ll be more than glad to take the camera outside and snap pictures as we go along.

We also process our goat kids for the freezer but that will also be next fall, since the two that we had left over from this spring have already been butchered.


I hope that helped some. If anyone else has more questions just fire away! I`m always happy to chat about how things are done on our farm and on other`s farms as well!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Beef......it`s what`s for dinner

Howdy all! Let me get my various parts thawed and we`ll visit for a spell.


*Drops down into kitchen chair with steaming mug of java* Gracious but it is cold and snowy outside this morning! I nearly froze my yodel out there doing chores. As I promised the other day I have the pictures of our steer butchering ready to roll. For anyone who is squeamish now is the time to leave. I did not include anything graphic rest assured, but if anyone dislikes viewing meat being processed they shouldn`t read any further.

I have said that this is a working farm. Animals bought for meat end up in our freezer. It`s not always pleasant and despite knowing better I do get attached, but farming is farming. Hard at times for sure but rewarding in a way that many cannot imagine. This is a pretty heavy load of pictures, just so y`all know. Okay, let`s see how we went about processing close to five hundred pounds of fresh beef!

*~~~*

Thursday 12/23

This is my kitchen table and some of the various knives and cutting boards we used. We covered the table with clean plastic to help keep the mess down to a minimum.



Now the cutting begins in earnest. It took us two days working from 7 AM to 5 PM to take care of all the beef. Also the temps stayed at 20 and the wind blew steadily.



We now have the front shoulders and ribs removed from the carcass. Mister had all he could do to lug those ribs to our plastic-covered picnic table! All I could think of was Fred Flintstone`s rack of ribs at the drive-in!



Thankfully after we got the front shoulders and ribs cut free we could move back inside. On the left is filet mignon (It was mouthwatering!!)and on the right what will become corned beef. I`ll show you the process for making corned beef and pass along the recipe we`re using a little later in this post.



The filets cut and tidied. My friends, we had these for dinner Thursday and they literally melted in your mouth!



We move along some and see that we`ve gotten our steaks cut. We also saved some roasts and some cubed meat. I cooked the first roast for Christmas dinner and it was delicious!



Then we cut the ribs down into thinner strips with a saw.



While all this was going on Mister also placed a couple of leg bones into our wood stove for the dogs. Looks like they were a big hit but sadly some pooches have sharing issues, so everyday a different dog gets to chew on a bone for awhile.




Friday 12/24

*~~~*

My brother-in-law arrives at 7 sharp and the men wrassle the rear legs off and into the house. We also saved roasts and cubed meat from the rear legs. Anything not wanted for special cuts on both days was cut into chunks for the grinders.



Both the cooler and the 30 gallon tote are filled with meat for grinding. After packaging we had close to 200 pounds of ground beef to split with my brother-in-law. Tinker thinks things are smelling pretty darn good!



Two grinders running non-stop!





Poe`s turn with the highly coveted bone.



After all the ground beef was sealed up then I started making my brine for our corned beef. Here`s the recipe we used. I plan on having corned beef and cabbage for New Year`s dinner so I`ll let you know how it turned out.



Brine for corned beef

2 quarts of water
2 cups of Morton Tender Quick
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Several trays of ice
3-5 pounds beef brisket, cut into two pieces

Heat the water with the Tender Quick, sugar and all spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar and Tender Quick are dissolved. Remove from heat and add ice. Stir until the ice has melted. Place each brisket into a seperate 1-gallon freezer bag, half to each bag. We used Food Saver bags to ensure the brine couldn`t leak out.





Seal and lay in baking pan, put in fridge. Massage the bags daily and make sure the meat is covered with brine. That`s it! Simple right? My briskets are currently curing in the fridge. Recipes vary as to curing time but cutting the brisket shortens the time needed to cure. 7-10 days seems average, and I plan on cooking one of my briskets this Saturday.

I hope you guys enjoyed seeing how we processed one of our steers for the freezer. It was a ton of hard work and long, long days but in the end it was very well worth the effort.


That reminds me, I have to go massage my meat. I know, right? We`re such scamps!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A dandy yodeling holiday!

Hello all, tug out a chair and grab your favorite mug!


I hope this Christmas was a wonderful one for you and yours, and that Santa left what you asked for under your trees! I know he surely did right by this group of goatherders! I`d kept telling everyone how good I had been and by gosh ole Kris Kringle proved me right! Now that all the hoopla is done and the meal of roast beast is cleaned up, I figured it would be fine time to sit down with me blogging buddies, share a pot of decaf and shoot the breeze.

Lest I forget because I do tend to forget easily, we did get our butchering chores done. Took us two full days but by gosh it`s done. I`ll pass those along to you guys on Monday. Who wants to talk meat wrapping on Christmas day? Instead y`all are lucky enough to see the three goatherder`s ripping open paper and playing with thier new toys.

Now as I was sitting here sipping on a fresh mug of coffee I had to decide upon something. Should I save the 'Oh-Good-Lord-What-A-Nerd-Feral-Is picture for last or just get it out of the way first off? Since everyone who visits here knows what a comic geek I am, might as well slap up the picture of me with my new Ironman toy!



I can`t even try act like I`m all that embarrassed. Actually since I now have a unibeam disc and the helmet all I need are the gauntlets and I will be in fangirl heaven! (Ahem, are you listening for next year Santa??)

Now that the resident geek has had her moment in the sun, we`ll move to less nerdly members of my family.

Miss Yodeling and her Warriors of Rock game for her X-Box.(Sorry it`s so dark, it was hard to see through the lighted eye slits of my Ironman mask.)



Grandma and Patches.(Both wondering what kind of fool woman wears a mask that talks.)



Tinker looking festive. (I wasn`t the only one to don silly headgear!)



Dad and Tinker. (Dad is happy to see that his step-daughter really is as goofy as he always suspected she was.)




As you may have noticed Mister somehow avoided the camera. How he did this I cannot say but according to the scans now running across my HUD he was hiding behind a pile of camoflauge clothes. No wonder my armor couldn`t pick him up! The sneaky Pete! That`s okay, I have tons of him butchering that I`ll stick up on Monday. So there Mister Shy-Guy!


Now I`m off to catch up with my favorite blogs then perhaps it will be time to track down some bad guys!

*Fires repulsor boots and flies off into cold winter sky with a yodel*

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!!




From our farm to yours!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One Liners-12/21





'Dear Santa, since I`ve been such a good mancat this year I`d like a new catnip-Zzzzzzzz.....'



As always y`all are encouraged to play along! Just toss your one-liner in with your comments to the above picture!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Night Lowdown

Howdy-do gang, come on in and grab a cup full!


I hope this last weekend before Christmas has been a good one for everyone. Are y`all done your shopping? I just finished mine up today thank goodness. Just have to wrap what I bought and then I am officially done. We`ve had a busy three days here on the frosty hillside farm.

Friday Mister Yodeling took the day off to begin the butchering process of one of our steers, the Holstein Bubba. We had initially planned to do Patty the Hereford first but changed our minds. Bubba was a lot more skittish then Patty and we worried he would react badly being alone. So while I was uptown buying groceries Mister did the deed. He`s a better man than I am. I`m fine after the fact but cannot handle the deed doing.

Here`s what five hundred or so pounds of beef hanging looks like.




We`re going to let him age for another few days then begin cutting our steaks, roasts and ground beef. I`ll show you the process as we go along. This is a first for us. We`ve processed about everything else at home but never a steer. Our brother-in-law is getting half so he`ll be here to help as his work allows. I foresee a lot of grinding and wrapping in my immediate future!

Saturday is laundry day so I did that and Mister went up to help our neighbors. Miss Yodeling helped with the wash then went to a holiday party around 4. It was an all-girl party since none of the boyfriends could attend. They watched a movie with Zac Efron as opposed to the football story they had planned to placate the boys. Tears were shed, presents exchanged and much giggling and boy talk ensued. My kid came home with two new posters of Taylor Lautner. I tell you it`s starting to look like a shrine to Team Jacob in her room! I would shake my head but if I recall correctly when I was her age my walls were plastered with KISS posters, so I don`t have room to say too much do I?

Today we woke up to a whopping 4 degrees and hurried to get some wood hauled into the stove room.



Thankfully the daytime temps have been reaching the mid thirties so it`s been rather nice considering. The ducks and geese have enjoyed the nicer days and even Lucius snuck out to peek at the geese, although they turned their heads when he appeared. They`re so snotty at times!






After the wood-racks were filled we three yodeling goatherders hit the shopping trail. Three stores we rummaged through this morning. By the time we got to Wally World things were beginning to really get hopping. Of course I had something to return so Feral sauntered to the return desk and stood and stood and stood some more. Can someone please tell me why, on the last Sunday before Christmas, they have one girl handling returns???? Please, I need someone to explain that decision to me so that it makes sense. The line had snaked to the front doors by the time whoever decides such things sent another checker to the return desk. *Rolls eyes*

By the time we got home I felt much like Tinker looks.





At least it`s done now and I can relax. Dinner is whatever anyone can find and I`m going to visit with me blogging buddies then go watch ‘The Proposal’ for the fifth time. Ryan Reynolds prancing about nekkid is my Christmas gift to me. Oh! I almost forgot! I got an early present! Take a gander at this!



My old vacuum died. It was a good vacuum and had served this house well for nigh onto ten years. May it rest in peace in vacuum cleaner heaven, amen. This new one is bag-less!! Oh yeah, no more messing with dusty bags that dump dirt and dog hair back onto the carpet! No more stinky smells from the vacuum bag when you turn it on. Oh I do like this pretty yellow Eureka a lot….almost as much as Ryan Reynolds.



Well…. okay, maybe not THAT much. So how was your weekend??

Thursday, December 16, 2010

From Ferals Front Porch

A fresh covering of snow and a new sunrise....






The rich smell of white birch and oak wafting through the still cold air.....







Winter has settled in on our hillside farm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

One Liners-12/13




Lu-Lu-'If leg rubbing doesn`t work go for the more direct approach to attention getting!'



As always everyone is welcome to play along! Just add your one-liner for the above picture in with your comments!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Night Lowdown

Come on in gang and dry off!


My gosh has our weather been crazy here in Pennsylvania! First it`s cold enough to freeze a ducks breath then it climbs up into the forties and rains bucketfuls. Tonight the weather service is predicting our temperatures are supposed to drop out once more, so all the rain may turn into ice. Glorious days are here again! Feral and her arch-nemesis ice. *Sighs* I have enough trouble keeping my feet under me on a dry summer day. Ah well, such is life here in the Laurel Highlands. Despite the winter troubles I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

Since the weather has been so ugly we`ve been busy doing inside things over the past few days. Yesterday we went out in the cold and found our Christmas tree. We opted to get a short one this year for three reasons.



Reason 1-Feral fell down a couple of months ago (I know, shocking right?) and my left knee hasn`t been the same. Kneeling down to water the tree on the floor sounded downright painful.

Reasons 2 & 3-Lu-Lu and Lucius. Their interest has already been piqued and warnings have been warned numerous times.



Oh sure I know he looks innocent but trust me an imp lurks behind those green eyes.

To keep himself occupied on the long and cold winter nights Mister has been doing a European mount for Miss Yodeling`s buck. He got it finished and I think it looks really good! She has it hanging in her room amid fair ribbons and rock posters.



Today I spent a bit of time on one of my fiction tales then locked myself into the bedroom to wrap presents. Two hours later I emerged with a goofy grin of victory. Everything purchased had been wrapped!! I broke into a goatherder clog dance then recalled I had yet to do my shopping for my mother-in-law and dad. I`ll grab those later though. Too much wrapping makes me slightly loopy or loopier depending on who you ask.

After lunch Mister and I finally got the molding up! Only took us a month since the new floor was put down but this, like wrapping presents, is something a person needs to build mentally for. Mister and I concluded that the job looks darn good considering it was Mr. & Mrs. Slapdash doing the work! As long as our one brother-in-law doesn`t look too closely next time he`s here it`ll all be good. (Tina, when you read this just inform your husband to keep his eyes above molding level.)



Dinner is now done and over and the night has come far too quickly. So here`s hoping that things tomorrow morning aren`t too precarious, ice-skating at six in the morning is NOT on my top ten favorite things!


How`s your weekend been???

Monday, December 6, 2010

One Liners-12/6




"Hi Mom!"



As always, everyone is encourged to play along! Simply add your one-liner for the above picture in with your comments!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A trip to the feed mill




Good Saturday all!! Come on in and grab a cup.


Seems those of us who have critters know all too well how often we head out to our local feed mill to buy chow for our farmyard buddies. Today was our day to pick up our goat chow, as I had called yesterday to place the order. We have out goat grain made to our specifications from a recipe given to me by a dear friend, and rabid goat raiser, the same lady that runs 200 head of dairy goats. I`ve been using this recipe for years now and am very pleased with the results.

We`ve found that with so many goats buying in bulk is cheaper than buying nationally made brands in fifty pound bags.



Also, my recipe is made for goats in our county, and you`ll see that some of the additives reflect that.

This is the recipe that I use for our dairy goats. In spring when the kids arrive I do add a coccidiostat to the ration.

Steam Flaked Corn
Roasted Barley
Whole Roasted Soy
Molasses
Ground Lime
Salt
Integral (Mycotoxin binder)
Selenium
STD Trace Minerals in a pre-mix
Vitamin A, D & E

After getting a few loads of wood hauled in for the next week Mister and I set off on this cold winter day. We`re very lucky that our feed mill is within ten minutes of our farmstead, makes getting there this time of year FAR less precarious!



When we arrive our order is ready and Mister helps load the half ton of feed into the back of our truck.



We also had to have some chicken mash so add another two hundred pounds of that and a bag of loose goat minerals. I don`t use mineral blocks. Experience with my goats has shown me that they don`t eat the blocks well, especially if they get dirty. Loose minerals in a wall feeder along with another feeder of baking soda they adore! We offer mineral and baking soda free choice year round. We usually buy SweetLix 16:8 Meat Maker although we don`t raise meat goats. Our goats prefer this brand and as we know what the goats like the goats get!

Once we get everything situated then we trundle back home to unload. It reminds me of grocery shopping and in a way it is! Only it’s the goats and poultry getting the goodies this time!



We put the chicken feed in a large plastic barrel with a tight lid to prevent the mice from getting into it. The mineral is dumped into a large bucket, also lidded, and taken down to the goat barn. Now the thousand pounds of grain has to be carried into the shed. We`ve yet to find something large enough to hold a half ton of grain so we store it in our shed to keep it as dry as we can. We seem to purchase grain every other month but of course that can vary. When the kids begin eating grain we run through more of course. Then when the kids are sold or slaughtered the feed consumption drops down. When we start milking we use more grain also since the milking does get extra rations.

After that busy morning Mister gave his lower lumbar a small rest. Toting hundred pound bags of grain can give a man a spasm! I do help as much as I can by tipping the bags down so he can grab them easier and by supplying a steady stream of witty banter and constructive comments. You know…I think he even commented on my comments as we were unloading.


Is a pain in the back the same thing as a pain in the----Oh that man!!!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

From Feral`s Front Porch




You know you`ve had enough rain when the ducks are bathing in your yard!

Monday, November 29, 2010

We need to let her pick our lottery numbers!

Morning all! Hope you and yours are staying warm on this blustery, chilly day!


In case you`re cold I`ll put a fresh pot on. How did everyone`s holiday weekend go? Busy for all of us I`m sure. We had a sweet 16 birthday party for my niece over the weekend, happy birthday Trisha! Aside from partying, eating and cleaning up after pets that thought my home was Delta House (See entry below) we butchered a couple of goats to add to the freezer.

Speaking of things to add to the freezer, today was the first day of rifle deer season here in PA. Both Mister and Miss Yodeling were up and at it at 5 this morning. They bundled up as thickly as possible since we had a staggering 22 degrees on the back porch! Both hubby and I have concluded that our daughter is one of the luckiest people we know. Her first time out back in the spring she bagged this massive triple-bearded gobbler.



Today a little after 8 she bagged this impressive 8 point buck!



Sitting beside her dad in a treestand they tell me he walked out and presented her a perfect shot at about 50 yards.



I may run her down to the Dandy Mart and have her pick 6 for her old Ma!

Friday, November 26, 2010

To-Ga! To-Ga! To-Ga!

Have you ever woken up and thought you had come awake inside a frat house???


I swear when I rolled out of bed this morning I found not my quiet, serene and somewhat tidy home but some scene from Animal House!



Now I`m sure that most of you folks had the same carbohydrate overload as I did last night….or perhaps y`all are more resistant to the lure of mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. I was still in a state of mental torpor and shuffling slippers when I slid from my covers. Have you ever taken just a few measly steps and known the day was going to begin with a bang??

My slipper slid in something at the end of the bed. Oh yes, I can hear all you pet owners muttering along to that miserable feeling. I limped into the bathroom and found a dogs dinner stuck to the bottom of my slipper. This was most pleasant at 5 AM. Nothing quite like stepping in kibbles and left-over corn before the coffee hits the bloodstream. Feral was not amused. I took a moment to wash off the sole of my slipper then slugged down the hallway and tripped over my lamp. Seems someone in the fraternity had cleared off the end-table during the night of wild pet revelry. Lamp, picture of Miss Yodeling, doily and an air freshener had been tumbled. How I didn`t place my foot on the round air freshener and roll across the room like a roller derby queen I have yet to know.

Zombie-woman tosses lamp back to table and proceeds onward with only the stoves hood light to guide her through the darkness. I find the other lamp where it belongs and mutter something like ‘Brains’ or possibly ‘Blintzes’. Not sure, it was early and my mind was still slow from all the gravy. I take two steps and find a pile of doggie-doo not an inch from the bottom of my still damp slipper. Again, how I missed THAT little package remains to be seen. Guess the fairies were watching over me. I clean up the stinky gift and let the very quiet dogs out then pad into the kitchen, intent on the wondrous brew calling to me.

That’s when I found coffee grinds and egg shells scattered all over my stove and counter. (We dry out the grinds, filters and egg shells in an old pie tin and toss them in the wood stove.) Ah but there really is nothing like dried coffee grinds to try to clean up from the range top at 5:03 AM! After taking a moment to get some coffee a.k.a. zombie-cure into my veins I gathered up more paper towels and rug cleaner and schlepped back to the bedroom. I was fairly certain that when Mister woke up he would step in the mounds of doggie upchuck barefooted. Despite the humor that thought gave me I cleaned it up anyway. As I passed Miss Yodeling`s bedroom door with one damp slipper and a bag filled with dirty paper towels I spied yet another offering from a canine just inside her portal.

I am reasonably sure I made a very sour face and may have said some unladylike words as I dropped down to my knees yet again. I wasn`t sure how the dogs got so much corn since the only corn around was some funky old corn I found way in the back of the fridge and tossed out the back door for the chick—And pop goes the light-bulb at 5:15 in the morning. Things have been pretty subdued among the party animals this afternoon. Guess they`re either resting up for another shindig tonight or they`re recuperating from the rager last night.


If I find any small togas stuffed under the coach I am NOT getting out of bed first tomorrow!!