By the way, there is apparently an adorable book about an Armadillo Rodeo, by Jan Brett. Click on the title (in blue) to learn more! Sadly, neither of the armadillos we saw today were wearing a blue bandanna!
So making yogurt at home just seems so intimidating, or at least it always seemed so to me. I don’t know WHY, really, I mean it’s not potentially dangerous the way making soap is and I’ve made my own soap for years, now! It was several years ago, in fact, that I first purchased a nifty vintage “yogurt maker” and then somewhere along the line I was also gifted another one, and STILL I was too intimidated at the mere thought of making yogurt at home to even read the instructions, much less give it a try! Well this year I threw away my fear and went for it. Let me just say, I will never buy store-bought yogurt as long as I’ve got fresh goat milk available! Actually, even when it’s not available I’ll probably still make my own because it’s impossible to find yogurt, here, that is not low-fat or no-fat and the majority of them either have too much sugar or chemical-laden artificial sweetner. Lastly, there are “ingredients” put into the store-bought yogurts that IMHO simply aren’t fit for human consumption!
As for the two vintage yogurt makers, they are very different in appearance (see photos), but the concept of how they work is identical. You plug them in, fill the containers with your inoculated scalded and cooled milk, cover and let them do their thing for 8-10 hours. This time frame is straight from the instructions from one of the units, but I’ve read elsewhere that it can incubate longer, so I’m going to experiment with that to see if I get a thicker end product! You can still purchase similar units, too, but they are NOT necessary. There are several ways to keep the batch warm, as I’ll discuss in a bit.
- Slowly Heat the milk to sterilize it. (+/- 180 degrees F) The idea here is to gently scald the milk, not scorch it! I use an old fashioned glass candy thermometer.
- Cool milk to proper incubation temperature. (90-110 degrees F)
- Add starter yogurt. (Minimum 2 Tbs. per quart) This can be a plain store-bought yogurt or some from your last batch!
- Incubate at warm temperature +/- 10 hours (or overnight). Nifty “yogurt maker” is NOT required! You can use a slow cooker, cooler or warm oven… With just a quick search you will find numerous other blogs with detailed instructions on these methods.
Yes, it really is just that simple!
For us, Christmastide starts at Thanksgiving, but NOT because of “Black Friday” sales and such… The real kick-off in our family, I suppose, was (and still IS) the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which Mom and I still watch together every year. We might not always be side-by-side watching it, sometimes we lived in different states, but we still knew that we were both watching the parade at the same time! The Sunday after Thanksgiving is the first Sunday of Advent. With a German/Lutheran mother that means the Advent Wreath is out by Sundown that Sunday! The ceramic Yule log that mom painted when I was a kid came out at the same time and I believe Mom usually set up her Nativity, too. For convenience these items were packed away together each year, too! Of course each year our Advent Calendars were also set out by December first so we could start opening a numbered window every morning before school/work. The whole house wasn’t decorated until mid-month or so, though. When Mom was growing up in post-war Berlin her family’s Christmas tree was never put up before Christmas Eve! When my sisters and I were kids, Mom eventually conceded to letting us put ours up around mid-December, and this is still about when we put ours up as well.
Christmas Eve changed a bit through the years. When we were younger there was usually a party at either the CB (citizen ban) Radio Club or the Gem and Mineral Club that my parents belonged to. These usually included a visit from Santa and each child had a gift while the adults did a gift exchange or a Secret Santa exchange.
Okay, so this BOM started a couple of weeks ago, so I’m a bit behind already… I just found out about it, though, and it looks so adorable that I thought I might give it a try! As soon as I get the first Email listing the supplies, I’ll dig through my stash and see what I can come up with…
This past Sunday hubby and I attended a wonderful clinic on Equine Emergencies over at Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford, Texas. Some of you may recall that this is the clinic that did Millie’s surgery a few months ago. Millie is the smaller of our two rescued Molly mules. She developed a growth that turned out to be a Mast Cell Tumor that needed to be removed. Our local vet offered to do the surgery, but I also contacted three other vets that specialize in equine care. In the end, I am VERY pleased that we chose Reata! You can read Millie’s End of August Update HERE.
I first learned about this clinic via a Facebook post on Reata’s FB page. Social Media is a TOOL and for things like this I find it to be a most useful tool, at that! With their permission, here is the flyer that they had posted announcing the clinic. Weatherford is over an hour’s drive east of us, so we were hard pressed to make it there on time! When we arrived the room was already quite full and they were just giving one of the horses a dose of Dormosedan Gel, which is a mild sedative for horses that is administered orally and is simple enough to be given by the owner! I now have TWO tubes on hand and plan to keep at least one tube in my emergency kit at all times!!!
Zoetis and Midwest Veterinary Supply
co-sponsored the clinic and brought along a table full of products that were given away! Everyone got a sample of Dormosedan Gel as well as a goody bag full of little happy things like brushes and a hoof pick. We were each also given a red ticket as we arrived which were then used to give out the additional door prizes which included thermometers, stethoscopes, hats and two equine emergency kits! Hubby won one of the Reata hats, that is NOT pictured here.
These door prizes were really nice, but more importantly is that after the Powerpoint presentation we all gathered for the hands-on portion of the clinic where we had the opportunity to learn how to properly use the stethoscopes! While we enjoyed Dr. Sutherland’s Powerpoint presentation inside the Podiatry Center, the Dormosedan Gel was making it’s way into the horse’s system and taking affect. By the time we moved out to do the hands-on portion, the equine was quite sedated – to the point that she was doing well to stay awake by the looks of her droopy eyelids and hanging bottom lip! In addition to learning to use the stethoscopes the hand-on portion of the clinic was where we also learned to properly apply leg bandages! This is important because if not done correctly, the bandaging could possibly do more harm than good, especially over the course of several days!
Dr. Sutherland’s Powerpoint presentation, which she later E-mailed to each of us, was full of information that all owners need to have on hand. When an emergency happens, we are the first ones there and need to asses if the emergency is something we can handle ourselves or if we need to call the vet immediately! Additionally, when calling the vet we need to be able to answer their questions to help them evaluate what is the best course of action for our animals. For me, this is where the benefit of the Dormosedan Gel really comes into play! Dancer, the larger of our two rescued mules, is still quite spooky. She halters and leads fairly well, and we have started working on standing-while-tied, but that is under the BEST of circumstances. If she were to experience an emergency, I’d need to sedate her just to be able to fully evaluate her condition and answer the vet’s questions!
In the short time that we have had Millie and Dancer we’ve already had a small number of equine emergencies! Most of them have been the kind that we could handle ourselves: Dancer now has a split in her right here – possibly from a tussle with a bobcat. She constantly has a nose full of thorns from the Prickly Pear Cactus, too. She once had a swollen eye, but luckily I think it was from a bug bite. Then there is her locking stifles, which about gave me a heart attack the first time it happened because I thought she had broken her leg or something! Lastly, and most seriously, was Millie’s deep wound a couple of years ago where she had practically impaled herself on a section of fencing.
THIS is the kind of wound that required calling the vet immediately! If it had happened to Dancer instead of Millie I don’t know what we would have done because at the time Dancer could not even be haltered. Millie, of course, was a staunch trouper! Our local vet came out and sedated her. Because of the location of the wound it could not be sutured. Instead, she was given an antibiotic injection and I treated it myself for the next eight weeks or so. I’d clean it with the water hose and apply a topical ointment. Millie has a small scar that is only noticeable in summer, when her hair is not so fluffy. My experience with keeping this type of large wound clean while it slowly healed was important because I used that knowledge with her recent tumor removal site. An equine’s natural ability to heal is profoundly amazing!
I’m looking forward to future clinics at Reata and wish our local small animal vet would have them, too! On the feed-back sheet, where they asked us for input on what types of clinics we’d like to see in the future, I wrote Chiropractic care/massage and treating locked stifles NON-surgically!
My good friend, Melissa, makes the most beautiful cards! This is the one she sent to hubby and I for Halloween… I LOVE IT! Halloween is one of our absolute favorite holidays. We use to decorate our yard at the first of the month and have wonderful Halloween parties! One of the drawbacks of “living in the country” is that we don’t have ANY Trick or Treaters come by. No point in decorating when no one will SEE it! This year, I didn’t decorate at all, not even my black wreath on the front door or a single pumpkin. Any way, that just made receiving Melissa’s card all that more precious to me!
Well, I did inadvertently decorate just a smidge. Hubby gave me this adorable little coffin that he painted and stamped. In it were three chocolate truffles all in a neat little row. Lastly, when my sister was here last month, she was instructed by this foxy little black feline to be brought home to me! Have you ever seen such a sweet, vintage stand-up decoration!?!?!
Lastly, some of you may recall that I had set a deadline for today – a deadline to have my sewing/craft room back in working order and completely cleared of all the piles that covered every flat surface! Sadly, I have NOT fully accomplished this goal. About halfway through I became completely overwhelmed and all progress came to a grinding HALT! Significant progress was made in several areas, but there is still one large WALL o’ STUFF piled high in the middle of the room, essentially dividing the room in two…
There are a few good reasons why I didn’t finish ALL that I set out to do, and some pretty creative excuses could be given as well! The deadline may have arrived, but I’m not giving up!!! I think I will spend the rest of the day seeing if I can’t make a bit more progress in here before the “Witching Hour” arrives. It would just be so much simpler if I could wiggle my nose and make it be all neat and tidy!
YEAH! My very first blog HOP!!! I’m just SEW excited for all of you to be here and share this with me… This wickedly fun blog HOP is inspired by the amazingly beautiful Black Cat Crossing line of fabric from Maywood Studio Fabrics. I’m absolutely IN LOVE with this fabric! Alas, my budget didn’t allow me to purchase any new fabric… so it’s a very good thing I’ve got a HUGE STASH of fabric, including lots of lovely fall/Halloween prints! I started by digging them ALL out to see what I had on hand. Then I went over to Pinterest to check out my Pinboards for inspiration! My “FALL-oween” board is where I collect all my favorite ideas for fall and Halloween, but I also have numerous fall and Halloween quilts and quilt block ideas collected on my Quilts of Autumn Pinboard.
The beautiful and inspirational “Black Cat Crossing” fabric line from Maywood Studios!
Because of the Black Cat Crossing fabric, I knew I wanted to create something special for this hop, something with not just a Halloween theme, but with a Black Cat theme, specifically!
My favorite Halloween cats are the nostalgic “scaredy cats”. You know, the vintage images of dashing and dandy fancy cats who wear hats or collars and have those wicked smiles! I found this adorable vintage-inspired Black Cat Wand by Crepeconfectionary on Etsy… it has the classic “scaredy cat” face I was looking for (just look at those EYES!) and the orange ruffle behind the Black Cat’s face reminded me of a Dresden Plate! I’d had made a Dresden Plate block years ago, so knew I could do it…
Here is the idea that popped into mind: Make a classic Dresden Plate block as the ruffle with a Black Cat face in place of it’s inner circle. I also have a Dresden Star pattern (click for a great tutorial), from Edyta Sitar, that I purchased some time ago, but had never attempted to make yet. I really thought it might work well with my idea of using a Dresden as the cat’s ruffled collar! Luckily I found the pattern last month while cleaning and organizing my craft room… You can purchase the Dresden Star Pattern and/or acrylic templates at Laundry Basket Quilts.
I must admit that before beginning, I was a bit intimidated by the Dresden Star pattern,
but the instructions were very easy to follow! I think the large striped petals came out rather well. I played around with different colors for the ruffles. Originally I thought I’d use the Jack
O’Lantern print from Northcott, but the scale just didn’t work out. The orange I used simply disappeared! In the end, I went with green and purple for the smaller points of the Dresden Plate collar. The striped fabric worked out just as I had hoped it would, but it took some fussy cutting to get all the stripes “exact”! As you can see in the collage photo of their construction, I had to trim off a small bit of black from the back that was showing through as a dark shadow.
The center of the Dresden Plate, the Black Cat’s face, was made using a fabric called Shadow Play by Maywood Studio. I designed the cat’s face using images of some of my favorite vintage black cats. I had to be careful to make the face the right size to fit completely over the center of my completed Dresden Plate, too! I used Fusible Applique to attache the features to the face, but then I hand appliqued the face to the Dresden Plate. The pupils of the cat’s eyes are buttons! Last I hand stitched the whole thing to a 12.5″ square of the same purple fabric that I used in the small petals of the Dresden Star.
Here are the links to the other blogs in today’s hop:
Their works are AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL, so please be sure to visit each of their blogs!!!
Well, that’s certainly what it looks like to me! However, this is Millie after eating too many tunas – the fruit of the Prickly Pear Cactus!!! Don’t you just want to give her a great big SMOOCH? Troy and I went for our evening walk a couple of days ago and this is the face that greeted us!
Tonight I went out for our evening walk alone. Well, not really alone, just not with Troy. He had a City Council meeting, so it was just me, the two dogs and the two mules… Because Troy wasn’t with me, I only haltered Millie, figuring Dancer would follow us. I didn’t count on Millie refusing to walk out more than maybe twenty feet up the trail behind the barn! She might not be big, she’s only maybe 13H, but she’s about 600 pounds, so if she decides not to walk, I cannot pull her. So after trying to convince her, I gave up, tied the lead rope up into her halter so that it wasn’t dragging, and went on about my walk, WITHOUT HER!
Off we went, just the two dogs and I, leaving Millie and Dancer right where they stood. We went up around the corner and out of sight, but just a few minutes later I heard one of them, probably Dancer, call out to me. I answered her, told her to “Come SEE” and kept walking. I wasn’t walking briskly, I was dawdling more than anything! I was picking up cool rocks and found a lovely bit of rusted chain that I suspect might have been hand-forged! Any way, a little while later I saw Dancer coming up through the woods behind us. I called to her again, and continued walking. Eventually the two of them caught up to us and I gathered up the now dragging lead rope.
I knew that they would eventually follow me, which is why I left Millie’s halter and lead rope on. Usually this is NOT something I would do as they can get caught up on things and cause serious injury! With her lead in hand we now commenced walking together. I sent the two dogs out in front of me, had Millie at my side and Dancer following behind. I had my water bottle in a carrying pouch slung across my shoulders. I had draped the piece of rusty chain through it’s chord and the chain was clinking like a wind chime with ever step I took! Now most equines would take offense to having such a noisy clanking metal chain swinging inches in front of their nose, but not my Millie!!! Didn’t bother her one bit.
After we made it to the far end of the property and started our return trip I had an epiphany. Dancer is much more skittish than Millie and needs to be desensitized to things that she perceives as a danger. The path back up to the barn at this point is wide, wide enough for a full-size truck, and we were walking three abreast at this point. Seeing as how the clanking chain didn’t bother Millie, and wasn’t bothering Dancer from the far side of me, I decided to swap the water bottle over to the other side so that it would now be swinging directly in front of Dancer! Remember, she was NOT on a lead, just walking with us as close or as far as she wanted to. She backed off a bit, but then I could almost feel her stretching her neck out to investigate those noisy links! To give her a chance to inspect them fully, I came to a halt and asked her to “come see”. She did so without any hesitation! She not only stepped up to me, but smelled them and brushed them with her nose. Satisfied all was well, we continued our walk, with her staying as close to me as if she were on a lead and those chains just swinging and clanking inches in front of her face!
Yes, you read that correctly… 2007. This is a “flash back” post of sorts. Not something I plan to do often, but I so enjoyed this event that I wanted to share a bit of it with the world. Having grown up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, just an hour away from New Orleans, REAL parades set a pretty high standard in my mind and heart! As a result, I’m not often impressed by community parades. THIS parade was impressive, indeed…
Apparently Enid has an annual parade every September, but for the Oklahoma Centennial in 2007 they really went “all out”! We had just moved to Texas a few months before and scheduled our first trip up to Enid, where my parents were living at the time and where my sister and her family still live, to coincide with their city-wide celebration.
As the title implies, this will be a series of posts. The parade was HUGE! Too big, by far, to limit it to one large post, so I’ll try to do it in three. There might end up being a fourth or fifth post from that same trip, including photos from the Covered Wagon Rendezvous at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, but the first three will be just the parade itself! Honestly, it was like several parades rolled into one. It started off with a herd of long horns coming down the road!!! Yes, they walked these beautiful bovines through down town streets with handlers on horseback as escorts…
We had just moved to Texas a few months prior to attending this event, so I was unfamiliar with the Fort Worth Stockyards and their herd which is paraded through the stockyard on a regular basis. I was completely awe struck by seeing these magnificent animals walking down the street as pretty as they pleased! I mean look at them… they are HUGE! Their presence really set the tone for the rest of the parade, which was phenomenal.
After the longhorns came equines of all kinds. There were dozens upon dozens of wheeled units pulled by horses, mules and donkeys. There were carts with rubber tires, ox carts, as well as all kinds of homemade contraptions!
I was naturally drawn to the beautifully matched teams. Looking back, I love that there were so many MULE teams! At the time, we had no plans to have equines of our own here on the farm. Now that we’ve got Millie and Dancer, our two rescued molly mules, I love these photos even more.
Most of my photos are of the more authentic looking carts and carriages. I spent many years playing in an Historic Re-enactment group, so I’m drawn to the more realistic wagons, I suppose. There were many more home made carts and wagons with rubber tires and car seats, but they just weren’t as appealing to me. As you can see in these photos, there were numerous vintage Prairie Schooners, also known as covered wagons, the type of vehicle that many pioneers traveled in as they migrated west. Some of the more interesting units were the pair of restored stage coaches, a surrey, market wagons and a hearse!
I found the fly dressing on this team (above) of white horses particularly fascinating! Oh, and not all of the teams were large draft breeds like these beautiful teams… There were draft mules, standard mules, average-sized donkeys (right) and even a team of Very Small Equines (below)! There was at least one Mammoth Donkey that was being ridden, too.
In addition to the teams pulling wagons and such, there were also outriders and riding groups. For instance, there was a whole crew of cowboys! Look how fine and fancy they’re all dressed… is it 2007 or 1907!?!?! Nice variety of horses they were riding, too. I love the Appaloosa to the far left and the beautiful buckskin seen in the center of this photo!
Since there was such a great number of pioneers and cowboys I must admit that I was quite pleased to see the Native Americans represented in the parade as well. Sadly, the birth of the State of Oklahoma in 1907 was also the end of what had previously been called the Indian Territory… I don’t have any photos of the other Native American riders, I remember there being a “squaw” or two, but this fine looking fellow on his painted pony really caught my eye!
These two ladies (below), and possibly the gentleman, too, were part of a riding group called OHE. You can see they both have a ribbon with those letters hanging from below their reins. I have no idea what OHE is, but the ladies are in lovely historical riding costumes!
So this was the just the beginning of this magnificent parade! With so many bovine and equine passing by, it was inevitable that there would also be many droppings left behind! Don’t worry, before the marching bands and floats rolled through there was a clean up crew!
I realize it’s been a while since I’ve written anything about my progress in clearing away the clutter up here in my sewing/craft room. For those of you who are new here, or have otherwise missed my earlier posts, I set myself a deadline of October 31st for having this rather large room back in working order (if not quite ship shape). Hubby had started calling this front room my CRAP room, and sadly I could not disagree with him! The amount of stuff I’ve hoarded and squirreled away up here is astounding, even to ME, and the task is proving harder than I originally anticipated.
Progress continues, but at a very slow, grueling pace! I stepped away from working on the sewing side of the room and shifted my focus to the tall desk (at my right as I sit here at our ancient PC) that houses mostly scrapbook/paper craft supplies. Actually, I haven’t even made it TO the desk itself, yet, but rather I’ve been working on the gigantic pile in front of the desk. I knew there was a chair somewhere under the pile, but until recently it was completely consumed by the stuff in it, under it and around it. My diligence paid off and the chair was at last uncovered a couple of weeks ago. I barely had time to celebrate my small accomplishment before the chair was claimed by Duster, as his personal throne. Duster is the youngest of our four cats, one of our two house cats, found when he was just an infant by our scrappy dog, SassyfrASS. While I’m seated here at the adjacent computer desk, Duster likes to curl up on the cushion I tossed in the sagging seat of the throne.
A small pile still remains to the right of Duster’s throne, directly in front of the four-drawer file cabinet that flanks the desk. This remaining pile completely bars my access to the file cabinet, which thereby impedes any attempt at filing and creates more PILING! I have high hopes of chipping away at this remaining section over the weekend so that the file cabinet is once again fully accessible. However, before resuming my efforts in this region I shifted my attention (once again) over to the area around the hearth of our small wood-burning stove. Although it’s only just now starting to remain cool enough throughout the day to NOT need air conditioning, I realized that all the accumulated stuff in and around the hearth seriously needed to be purged and relocated sooner rather than later. If we were to have an early cold snap the wood stove simply could not be used in such a state!
We generally have mild winters in Texas, even all the way up here, north of I-20. The small wood stove located in the center of this room, directly adjacent to the front door, is the ONLY source of heat here in the original section of our old farmhouse. It not only heats the sewing/craft room, but indirectly the kitchen and front bedroom. When we first moved in, back in May of 2007, there was absolutely NO heat here in the front half of the house. Being early summer, this wasn’t an issue, but our “To-Do” list continually grew and the stove’s installation kept getting pushed back until finally, by mid-December, we had no choice but to purchase the chimney pipe over the Internet and install it all ourselves!
Troy built the hearth itself using brick from a stack we found here on the property. He creatively laid them in a herringbone pattern, too. The small stove was purchased NEW from a fireplace store over in Stephenville. We had looked at vintage stoves, but our research showed that in addition to having better safety features the new ones were much more efficient as well. For the chimney pipe we ordered triple-walled pipe, which again is the most efficient and also offers better safety. We simply followed all of the manufacturers instructions for the installation, including spacing from the wall, size of the hearth itself, and the height of the chimney above the roof line.
I spent the better part of this morning clearing away the clutter that surrounded the stove. I then cleaned out all the old ashes, which were still in the ash pot and drawer under the stove. Last year we replaced the fiberglass seal around the door and I had purchased stove polish, too, but had never gotten around to using it, as the stove must be COLD when you apply it. Following the instructions on the tube, I wiped down the stove with a soft cloth, used a wire brush on the lightly rusted areas inside the door, and then applied the polish. After it dried for a few minutes I used another clean rag to buff it off and WOW, this lil’ stove looks almost new again! With the stove and hearth not only cleared, but also cleaned and polished, I can return my attention to the pile in front of the desk and file cabinet with renewed confidence.
PS: Either later tonight, or maybe first thing in the morning, I’m hoping to get hubby up on the roof to run the chimney brooms through for us. He does this every year before we use the stove for the first time. While up on the roof he also checks for any low lying branches, fallen branches or damaged shingles.