The struggle is real…

     I finally convinced my husband last year that we were in fact going to get a border collie.  Well,,, neither of us had owned a purebred border collie before.  We had a border collie mix but he seemed to lean more towards to lab side.  I remember growing up watching my Papa’s herding dogs work the cows. I thought  that it was so amazing that such a small creature (in comparison to the cow) could move so many cows.  It made me think, if this little border collie can strike fear in the hearts of these cows, then what can I do?  This brings me back to our own border collie.  He just turned a year this past June and neither of us can image a life without Gus.  Gus came into our home and from the get go he filled the house with his presence and love.  We did soon discover that border collies are in fact uniquely different that all other dogs….one day they may rule the world.  I learned very quickly that Gus never stops and that specifically, he is learning ,,,always.  He proved to be far smarter than even I had guessed.  We started Gus on sheep early and he proved to know instinctively that this was what he was made for.  Another difference between the sweet loving labrador in our house and the border collie is the level of affection.  Sheba our lab is so wonderful but mostly stays to herself and only seeks attention when it is offered.  Gus on the other hand is always with you and if you happen to stand still for 1 second, that is 1 second Gus thinks that you should be petting him.  Most dogs also snuggle up all nice and lay with you …  Gus does not.  We call it struggling it’s a mix of snuggling and trying not to let the border collie suffocate you hence, struggling.  Gus tends to push his nose right into your face to make it easier for your to kiss him while struggling for air.  Gus has brought a wonderful amount of joy to our life and I can’t imagine a life without a border collie.

Angry Pot

     I tend to cook when I have things on my mind or if I’m upset.  This is one of my favorite recipes that has come out of this type of cooking.  I don’t start out with a recipe I tend to just pull things out of cupboards and throw things into a pot.  I call this one angry pot as I was in a pretty foul mood when I made it.  However this one turned out amazing.

3 medium onions
5 garlic cloves
5 sausages or 1lb. stew meat
3 T butter
4 Cups chicken broth
1lb frozen corn
Ground Ginger
Dried Cilantro
Ground Cumin
Rubbed Sage
Garlic Salt
Curry Powder
Red Chilie pepper
Chille Powder
1 can diced tomato aesnd juice
1 can artichoke heart halved
1 cup red lentils

Saute onions and garlic in butter until translucent.   Add sausage and cook until browned.  Add both and corn then bring to a simmer.  Combine spices and add into soup.  Add diced tomatoes and lentils, let simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are done.  Add artichokes simmer for another 5 minutes.  Eat alone or add cheddar cheese.

Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree…lalalala

PictureIt’s that time of year again!  Christmas is my favorite holiday by far and not just because it comes with ham.  Every year we go as a family and cut our trees down together.  When the tractor drops us off at the giant field of charisma’s trees it’s like a christmas wonderland.  We set out into the field smelling and touching trees like a bunch of excited little kids.  The debate of what kind of tree now begins.  Do we get one that has soft fluffy needles, one that smells a particular way, or are we looking for a perfect looking tree.  This year I told Jeff that I was going to wait until I saw a tree that screamed take me home!!  Well funny enough, we both found the same tree separately.  I realized looking at the tree that it had been growing all those years waiting for Jeff and I to take it home and let be the most beautiful christmas tree!  Jeff got down on the ground and started sawing away.  I usually take great delight in shouting timber each year.  I was opening my mouth to remind Jeff that he should warn me so that could call out timber right as the tree fell towards me.  I didn’t get to yell timber and our wonderful labrador who had been sitting so patiently almost got squashed by the tree (she didn’t even move).  We loaded the tree up and drove home to place it in its rightful place…. In the middle of the living room window.  I always wonder what the pets think of us bringing a tree into the house.  George Cat usually lies underneath staring up into the lighted tree in kitty delight.  Jack our big orange cat likes to steals ornaments while Snugglepants (yes we own a cat named Snugglepants) usually tries to live inside the tree.  Sheba our labrador tends to eat the present that just might have something yummy inside.  When we got home Jeff put the tree up once it got dark we set about trimming our tree.  I never understood the term trimming the christmas tree as a kid because we never had real trees.  I love the was that the real trees smell and look.  We out up the lights and all the decorations on the tree and sat in the dark admiring our christmas wonderland.  We hope that all of you are enjoying your holiday traditions this year!


Note the tree skirt all rumpled because jack our cat has been running around the bottom of the tree like a maniac.

Wonder dog needs a cape!

We went yesterday to Cherry Hill Training Center where our border collie and I are learning to herd.  In the video above Amanda our trainer is handling Gus so I could see what I was doing differently.  I have not been to our herding lessons in several weeks since I sprained my ankle.  Gus of course, preceded to be amazing and herd like a pro.  I often joke with Amanda that Gus probably thinks he could do better herding without me.  I have always thought that watching bird dogs work was amazing …until I saw Gus herding.  Gus herding sheep is so amazing how he just knows what to do with his long hair blowing in the wind.

Easy Bread Recipe

If you have any questions please feel free to email or make a comment!

2 1/4 t dry yeast
1 c warm water
3 c flour
1 t salt

Preheat oven to 450

Pour yeast into warm water and stir until dissolved.  Add the salt then flour one cup at a time stirring until it forms a ball of dough.  On a floured surface knead dough for 9 minutes adding any remaining flour.  Place dough in a oiled (cooking spray) bowl to allow to rise until its has doubled in size.   Punch down to deflate (This is my favorite part!).  Wait 5 minutes.  Place dough into a greased loaf pan.  Cut small slits in the top of bread to make it super pretty.  Brush the top of the bread dough with egg and spices.   Let rise for 45 minutes.  Bake for 20 minutes

Note: When I make this bread, in the the water and yeast mixture I add spices before adding flour.  I usually add crushed rosemary (about 1 t), ground thyme (about 1 t), and minced garlic (about 1 t) I also add rosemary and time with 1/2t sea salt to the egg wash.

Gus can also herd squirrels….

PictureI was sure I was going to sleep in this morning, so sure I had Jeff lock Gus out of the bedroom.  Gus had other ideas.  We taught him to ring the bells when he needs to go outside which I thought was brilliant.  This was great right up until this morning when I am laying in bed at 8am trying really hard to sleep in.  All I can hear is Gus frantically, endlessly and oh so annoyingly ringing his bells.  I thought maybe he really needs to pee so I got up and let him outside.  Being as I was up now I figured I might as well eat breakfast and have my good morning coke.  I wasn’t paying attention when I let Gus back in so I did not see the body in his mouth.  Now you might think since I used the word body that it was dead….not so.  My oh so wonderful border collie whom I love so much (I am trying to remind myself of these things right now) had brought a not dead squirrel into the house.  When I turned around and saw him he immediately thought oh boy that is not mama’s happy face and dropped the squirrel.  The squirrel took this opportunity to make a break for it …inside my house.  George Cat happened to be in the living room. She was so delighted by the fact that there was what she I’m sure thought was the largest mouse she had ever seen took chase.  George proceeded to chase the squirrel through the dining room and into the living room where she cornered it in front of the front door.  Now most cats would be intimidated by an angry squirrel that was not at all small.  George descended on that squirrel like a bear on honey.  My house now sounds and looks like a war zone and I’m trying to figure out how to separate George from what she has decided will be her breakfast if it kills her.  This is when my trust labrador decided to intervene.  Sheba does this often when she thinks anyone is playing to rough or being naughty.  Sheba walked right over and like a bulldozer walked into the fray.  George let go of the now once again free and very traumatized squirrel.  I opened the back door and locked the kitties in the bedroom and now had to tell Gus meanwhile had done a very beautiful job of holding the squirrel in our entryway with his magic border collie eye.  This made me wonder if I could get Gus to herd his squirrel back outside.  Well that thought lasted about 2 seconds when squirrel made its break for it once again Gus gave chase thankfully to the kitchen and the open back door.  I am going to look at this as a learning experience.  First always check gus before coming back into the house.  Second my cat is much more frightening than I ever imagined and I thank her for every day she lets us all live.  Third and I already was aware of this but this is why we can’t have nice things.

​Surprisingly little damage for the battle this morning!  I also find Gus’s I’m so sorry mom face rather cute.

“If chaos is a work of art, then my heart is a masterpiece.” – D. Antoinette Foy

The Not So Day Off

PictureI decided yesterday I would take the day off, well that lasted about 1 hour.  People who own border collies do not get days off.  He made a record 40 minutes after Jeff left for work before he began to struggle in the bed with me.  We call it struggling with Gus because he doesn’t really snuggle.  He pushes his nose up into your throat (which makes it difficult to breath) all while flailing about wildly its extreme snuggling hence the name struggling.  After Gus had successfully let me know we would not be sleeping in I got up to conquer the day.  I decide to make some chicken stock as I was almost out.  I put my chicken carcass in my stock pot with celery, onions, and carrots.  We had also cooked a rabbit in the crockpot the day before so I added the bones from the rabbit aswell.  I left this to simmer for several hours while I caught up on some sewing.  I have been working on the same wall hanging for several years.  Every year I bring it out around fall and think I will have this done by christmas to hang on the wall.  Christmas comes and goes and then I would put the wall hanging back in my unfinished box of projects. (UFO)  Yesterday I finally finished it!  It did however take me twice as long since my cat George stole all the border pieces to play with and kill.  After chasing her all over the house and snatching my fabric back from one very angry kitty  I finished it!  Unfortunately I still won’t be able to hang it up this year for christmas as it still needs to be quilted.  All this time I have been being productive Gus is sound asleep in my bed, so helpful.  After straining the broth and putting it in cans to be pressure canned I put the pot in the sink.  I put dish soap inside and turned on the water.  I thought now would be a good time to run out and quick feed the rabbits.  I would like to take this moment to just mention how cute and distracting baby bunnies are!  When I was done snuggling squishy bunnies I returned to the kitchen (now swamp).  Apparently you shouldn’t leave the water running in a giant pot with dish soap because It goes everywhere!  I also decided today would be an excellent day to start socializing the rabbit I have picked to keep!  Gus was super excited that there was a small squishy rabbit on the couch.  I just have to pick an amazing name for it!  All in all it was a very productive and relaxing day even if I didn’t get to sleep in.





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