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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Bunny Alcatraz

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Many of you have read about my rabbits amazing ability to continually escape recently well, no more!  This is the first year that we have done runs inside with litter boxes and there was sure to be a learning curve.  We so far have learned that pete cannot in fact be contained without solid walls and roof.  We learned that if you do not secure the gate the runs that the rabbits will run free.  Most importantly which I cannot believe I did not think of is that baby rabbits are small and fit through the bars.  I have spent all weekend and Monday catching baby rabbits and putting them back in with their mom Dixie.  I decided today that I was done retrieving Dixie’s babies.  My husband and I went to home depot and got plastic  sheeting material.  I cut panels the same size as our playpen runs and zip tied them on 3 sides.  On the fourth side I only put the sheeting on the bottom portion so the heater can still provide heat and old air will get flushed out.  Now I would like you all to imagine the entire time I’m doing this the baby bunnies keep getting out and trying to help.  Pete is also running loose because when I stole dixie’s babies back from him I left his roof open.  Pete took immediate advantage of his open roof and leaped out.  At this point I decided it was best to just build Alcatraz, catch rabbits after.  Well… that was a good plan except the part where Pete keeps steeling my zip ties and baby bunnies are chewing on my pants.  I finally got all the walls up and a roof now I just had to catch everyone.  This weekend I let dixie out to catch her babies but Pete was locked up.  I could not let her out as Pete was still free range at this point, he is very hard to catch and does not come to his name like dixie does.  It took me about thirty minutes to catch everyone and put them in there new prison.  Everyone was very happy about the new housing arrangement … except Pete who remains unimpressed with his enclosure.  At this point baby rabbits are running all over their enclosure while Dixie gives me the “You are really going to leave me in here with these little monsters?” look.  Very proud of my little building project!
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Crockpot Chicken

Picture1 t black pepperIngredients
3/4 c lemon juice
3/4 c olive oil
2 t sea salt
4 t dried oregano
2 t basil
2 minced garlic
1 medium onion
​4 c chicken broth

Cut onion coarsely and place on the bottom of crockpot.  Clean chicken and remove skin.  Place chicken in crockpot.  Mix wet ingredients then add spices.  Pour spice mixes over chicken add chicken broth to cover the chicken.  Let chicken cook on low for 4-6 hours until meat falls off bone.
This recipe also works great for rabbit and pheasant!

I Feel As Though….

Every year groPicturewing up my father and brother would leave to go hunting while I would stay home with s a local channel so she will have to suffer without an Anne marathon in Oklahoma.  It was about three movies in when my husband turns to me and says “This is profoundly insightful as to why you are the way you are”.  About ten minutes later he fell asleep.   I am going to hope that his insight was in fact a delightful one.  Im sitting here typing this while Anne’s dory is sinking and in order not to drown she climbs onto the bridge piling (I should mention to anyone who has not read the books she was playing dead in the boat).  Anyone who know me knows I tend to start stories actually any sentence with as though, so… and well…and tends to end epically.  So… when my husband asked “Is this where you learned to say as though?” it brought back wonderful childhood memories.my mom.  My mom and I of course would make the best use of our time by….binge watching all the Anne of Green Gables movies.  We would camp out in the living room and watch movies and eat all kinds of snacks!  Then when it would get dark we would turn the tv around and watch from the hot tub in the sunroom while watching the snow fall outside in the dark.  This brings me to yesterday when I came home to discover the Anne of Green Gables marathon had only just started 10 minutes before!  I learned a shocking truth that my husband has never in fact seen these movies!  Now this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, not only have I found a movie my husband has not seen but it is in fact on television right now.  My mother was of course immediately alerted that our favorite show was on.  Alas it was not on her local channels and she was unable to watch it with me.   

Adventure is out there…!

Escape was the theme of the day yesterday.  My border collie escaped the yard and the bunny decided he was going to live in the house  I was sitting at my mother in-law’s counter talking to her while Gus had a play date with their dog Cabela.  I looked out the window only to see my wonderful border with his head under the fence.  As I was opening the door to call him back to me the whole border collie disappeared!  I, of course, had no shoes on and ran to the front door to jam my feet into my Bogs.  Ace had just freshly stomped on my left foot and lets not forget about the right ankle being sprained.  I ran around to the side of the yard that he disappeared on only to find no border collie.  At this point I am envisioning my beautiful border collie squashed by a car.  When I got up the hill and through the woods there is Gus making friends with the neighbor behind the house.  I called Gus who came running over with the “Mama look what I did” face! He was so proud of himself and I couldn’t really yell at him since he did come when called.  Gus and I went home where I proceeded to ground him and tell him he can’t talk to any of his girlfriends for a week!
Pete one of our herd bucks enjoys hopping around the garage while I’m out there.  I believe he likes to go check on his ladies.  I had swept up after all the rabbits, fed everyone and given annabelle her meds.  I too a short trip into the house to fill the watering can. I left the door open that leads from the garage into the kitchen, as I would only be a minute.  Gus went out which I didn’t think anything of as he is very good with the rabbits.  What I didn’t know was that Pete had hopped inside while Gus went out.  After filling everyone’s water I realized that Pete was no-where to be found.  It was then that I realized Pete was not actually in the Garage.  Complete pandemonium doesn’t quite explain what you see when you walk in to find one giant rabbit chasing a giant cat followed now by Gus who had followed me in.  I grabbed Gus an threw him outside with our lab.  Now the hard part of catching Jack or Pete.  Luckily Jack is a very food motivated cat so I busted out the liver treats and called him.  Jack amazingly ran over jumped on the counter for his treat.  I snatched a very happy Pete up who was not so impressed when I put him back in his enclosure.
Needless to say there is never a dull moment in my house.  I sometimes love to see the reactions on peoples face when I tell them how many pets I have.  The chaos that is my house has a peaceful rhythm that I could not survive without.

Turkey Day

I put off talking about my thanksgiving in order to talk about my horse.  This year it was a small family gathering with my husbands family.  We had an amazing time just hanging out.  We played games on the wii and watched movies after dinner.  My father in-law was in charge of smoking the turkey again this year.  I have come up with a wonderful turkey recipe by brining the turkey for 24 hours then smoking it.

PictureTurkey Brine

Soak for 24 hours
​1.5 gallons of waterPicture

6 cups of apple juice
2 cups bourbon 3 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups salt
10 bay leaves
1.5 T whole black peppercorns
2 tart apple chopped
2 medium onions coarsely chopped
10 Garlic cloves
The peel of one lemon (no pith)

Combine all ingredient to soak turkey in for 24 hours.

Rub for the Turkey
2 1/2 T ground sage
2 1/2 T Dried Rosemary
2 T Dried Thyme
2 T Salt
1 Freshly ground black pepper

After taking the turkey out of the brine, put your preferred veggies in the bird (celery, apples, onions, garlic, fennel bulb).  Place butter under the skin above the turkey breast (this helps to  keep the breast moist)t.  Place the rub on the whole turkey skin and smokey our turkey at around 230F.