We Took Small Bites at First but Then We Ate It All

When we improved our diet by cutting out all processed foods and/or anything with ingredients that could easily be confused for cleaning products (Butylated hydroxytoluene anyone?), we immediately noticed a huge improvement in how we felt. We were eating what we were supposed to be eating and our bodies were happy. I had more energy, I felt better about myself, and I had a much shinier coat. Wait, what?

We made the decision that if we were eating better and feeling better, we should offer the dogs that same chance. There was nothing wrong with the food they had, we weren’t feeding them the bottom brand and meat was the first ingredient, but the first ingredient of a chicken nugget is meat too and they’re still terrible for you.

So, we switched their food to Canidae. It was a toss-up between four brands and Canidae won because it had the lowest price tag. Sorry, I’m just being honest. I don’t eat only organic, hand-tended vegetables that are soothed each night by Kenny G streaming from overhead speakers, so we’re all going to have some balance between healthy and affordable.

We have mice. Did you know? We have a lot of mice. Right now most of them are foraging in the pasture and not aggressively trying to break into our closet, but a few are still around. We couldn’t gradually mix the foods together to help ease the transition because if we kept a giant opened bag of food anywhere in this house we’d end up like Glen from Hoarders with his 2,500 rats. Poor guy. To avoid all that, I had to dump the Canidae in their container with what remained of their old food and stir it around. Stirring 45lbs. of dog food is really easy and it’s not messy at all.

Levee adjusted within a day or three. Reyka took a little longer. She had some issues. One of those issues was made clear in an incident wherein she projectile pooped all over our couch. Luckily, our couch is leather. Luckier still, most of the jiggly poop was on Brian’s side. Since that unpleasant experience, and another that involved the carpet, a baby gate, a box with a ceiling fan inside, and the living room rug, things have settled down.

I haven’t tried the new food so I can’t say anything about how great it is but the dogs seem to enjoy the flavor. There’s not a noticeable difference in their coats or energy levels but I hear it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Title From:
Stay
by Justin Rock

These Here Are My Desires

When Brian stops anywhere he will always text, asking if there’s anything I want. My reply is usually, “Yes, horsies!” Sometimes it’s “Yes, his irks,” because the more predictive my phone gets, the lazier I get. Sometimes I don’t even look at the screen, I just tap around near where I believe the letters are and hope for the best. We have a rule against correcting auto-corrects though, so whatever comes out has to stay, which is how things like “You ruined of schillings with trucks to stop it!” and “You’re so graphic with the teddy grahams,” get captured and sent to the whole family.

Today Brian surprised me with a couple his irks.

When I took them out of the bag my first comment was “HUOUH!” I don’t know how to spell a gasp, sorry. My second comment was “Wow, they’re shod! That’s really detailed.” My third comment was “Buhhhm,” which is why I don’t talk to people, followed by “Oh my, that’s really detailed.”

If I didn’t despise dusting, I’d collect every horse.

They’re Schleich, and can be found here (Amazon) or here (Tractor Supply).

Title From:
Roll Away Your Stone
by Mumford & Sons

I’ve Got the Sky, the World Is My Home

It’s been a while. I’ve been trying to be better about posting more regularly but there are times when I just don’t have anything to share. I’m certainly fortunate to live such a peaceful life but it doesn’t make for very good blogging.

“Today was another beautiful, endlessly sunny day. I watched the mule deer chew their way through a neighboring pasture and listened to the magpies squawk as they took turns stealing Pickwick’s food.”

Repeat daily.

Today I saw something else.

The first time we pulled into the driveway, to decide whether or not we wanted to rent this place or buy a camper and make that our home for a year or two, the “yard” was nothing but grasshoppers and weeds. The ground shimmered, like heat off asphalt, with the movement of thousands of insects. It was unnerving. We were given a week or two (I can’t remember which) of free rent because it was so overgrown and the work it would take to fix it was going to be extensive. Well, fix it we have. We’ve maintained the grass from the very moment it started sprouting again. Now, where long tangles of weeds once stood, green has begun to spread. I never get tired of pausing by a window to marvel at the change.

Unfortunately, the few spring showers we’ve had have come on the weekends, which is the only time the yard can be cut. So for three weeks the grass has been growing untrammeled. It’s like a long shaggy green carpet with random bursts of bright yellow dandelion heads. Dandelions are my favorite flower, weeds or not. I’ve never stopped to stare at an unblemished yard but I have, on multiple occasions, stopped to admire a hillside covered with dandelions.

With flowers come bees. I’m not as fond of bees as I am dandelions. I understand their benefits and I don’t wish them any harm but I’m very uncomfortable with them. My first apartment had a hive in the bedroom wall and our cohabitation did not result in many years of happy memories. It did result in the 100% confirmation that I am not allergic to bee stings and that bees, surprisingly, do not enjoy being sat upon.

Today, as I walked outside to refill the magpies’ Pickwick’s bowl, the yard was once again shimmering, this time with honey bees. About one of every five dandelions had a visitor. I cautiously made my way (the long way) around to grab his bowl and knock the beetles from the remaining nuggets of food before pouring a fresh helping. Then I ran inside and grabbed my camera to bravely attempt to photograph at least one of the dozens of bees, hopefully without being stung.

I made it! They were so engrossed in what they were doing, they didn’t seem to care that I was there. It was interesting and oddly enjoyable to watch them go about their business. Still, I can’t wait for this weekend and a fresh mowing.

Title From:
Beggarman
by Gaelic Storm

I Spread It on Bread, on Crackers, and Toast

Marmite. A product so known for having a love it or hate it flavor, the company has it written on their website.

I’ve never been more nervous to try something.

I once had dinner at a tiny Chinese restaurant, let’s assume it was called The China Wall, since most of them are, in a strip mall between Lancaster and Mountville, Pennsylvania. It’s not there anymore, I checked. They had a little buffet where I had my first encounter with egg drop soup. I wasn’t quite as adventurous with food back then but eggs and broth didn’t seem like a gigantic leap out of my comfort zone.

That egg drop soup is the only food I have ever tried that I could not convince my throat to swallow. I actually had to go to the bathroom to spit it out. Somehow I managed to consume a vomit flavored Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean, which was disturbingly realistic, but my body would not allow me to injest the soup.

After that experience, I was understandably hesitant to try egg drop soup again. However, I’ve learned, because my family is chockablock with terrible cooks who are extremely fond of canned foods (asparagus, peas, potatoes, etc.), that you can’t always depend on one tasting. Canned asparagus is like salty asparagus flavored baby food, molded to look like wilted asparagus stalks. Fresh asparagus is delicious. If I hadn’t given the vegetable another try, it wouldn’t be a regular staple in my diet today. In fact, if I had formed my final opinion after the first taste of anything I’ve had, I’d probably be eating nothing but funnel cakes, whoopie pies, raw carrots, and sweet bologna.

So, years later, I braved another tasting of egg drop soup and it was extremely okay. I’m still not a huge fan but, when it’s not prepared with millennium eggs, it’s much more tolerable. Not even that second attempt, after having to spit out the previous, made me as nervous as Marmite.

I’ve read reviews that have referred to it as fishy, some that have likened it to a moistened beef ramen seasoning packet, and others who have called it “salted tar.” It’s no wonder I’m nervous. But, I am determined to give it a go.

I’ll let you know which side we’re on.

Update: I made some toast, spread the thinnest layer of Marmite I possibly could, spread cream cheese on top of that, added some halved cherry tomatoes, and topped those with freshly ground black pepper. It was delicious, but I couldn’t taste the Marmite at all. So, I made more toast, spread the Marmite just a touch thicker, added some cream cheese, and opted to leave the tomatoes off because I had already thrown the little cutting board into the sink where it will swell from water and proceed to break apart. Gross. Absolutely disgusting. There was definitely a yeasty flavor and salt is less salty than Marmite. The verdict seems to be, it’s delicious if you can’t taste it. When it’s there to lend a savory quality but you’re unable to identify where that savoriness is coming from, it’s fantastic.If you have a choice between Marmite you can taste and one of those BeanBoozled jelly beans flavored like rotten egg? Choose the Marmite. Those things are awful. But in any other situation, go with the not Marmite option.

Title From:
Marmite Song
by Jamside Up

And I’ll Find Strength in Pain

This weekend we started repairing the pasture fence. Some of the poles were bent over so far that half the barbed wire was touching the ground. How does that happen?

Brian was in charge of disentangling the dangerous barbs from the railroad tie corner posts. Whoever put the wire up was extremely thorough. They twisted and wrapped it in every direction, tying it a dozen times around each massive chunk of wood.

I was in charge of removing the wire from the poles and then removing the poles from the ground. Those that the stampeding elephants plowed through were easy enough to remove, popping out of the ground without effort. The rest… Not so much. This is the first time in my life the palms of my hands have been bruised.

Title From:
The Cave
by Mumford & Sons