Friday, May 31, 2013

My New Pet

I didn't actually set out to get a new pet....

I didn't think I needed a new pet....

But I ended up with one anyway, even though our relationship is unorthodox, to say the least!

See, Caleb started his summer job on Tuesday (love you, Summer Job!) and my part, as the loving, supportive mum, is to take him to work at 7:00 every morning----FOR THE ENTIRE SUMMER . He owes me.

And every morning, we kept passing a hawk sitting in a tree.  I was getting a little suspicious that all was not well, and when I saw the hawk walking across the road like a penguin my suspicions were confirmed. The poor hawk has an injured wing and is unable to fly.

I did the good citizen thing and called it in, but the state department informed me that raptors are covered by the federal Fish and Game, and the Fish and Game receptionist transferred me to the law enforcement branch---who hasn't returned my calls. And since the entire business is located in Bismarck, 4.5 hours away, I'm not real hopeful that they're going to be running right up here to help.

Of course, I know that raptors are protected, but I don't know of any law that prevents me from randomly collecting roadkill and putting it under certain random trees. And once the roadkill is there, it's none of my concern if a certain random hawk chooses to eat it.

There's even less of this poor pheasant now!

I never knew that roadkill was so rare until I started looking for it.  There's none to be found anywhere, in spite of the fact that people drive like maniacs around here. So I've had to supplement wild fare with some randomly deposited raw hamburger. This vegetarian finds the price of beef shocking these days!

Hopefully, I'll still be able to get in touch with Fish and Game. Or maybe, after this blog they'll be getting in touch with me! With handcuffs! I know it's probably not going to be feasible to get the hawk to a wildlife rescue. It will probably need to be humanely shot.

But I'll be switched if it's going to starve to death right in front of me.

Not when I can do something about it.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Perfidy of Aging

I had very strong opinions as a youth. Decided tastes, too. And I was perfectly content to believe that those opinions and tastes were fact, not preference.

Alas, how age betrays us. Things we once thought solid and firm become flexible, saggy even.

How is it, that I, who once despised the color orange as a hue only fitted for pumpkins and autumn leaves, have come to have such a passionate love affair with an plush orange chair from the 60's?

Early-onset dementia?

I can't help it. Originally discovered in the abandoned house next to my sister's (don't worry, they bought it, so it's OK to forage), I laid claim on it, fully intending to cover it with something. In the meantime, it sat in the old house stocking up on must.

Last week I finally brought it home and set it in the living room. Where I---gasp---liked it! 

Maybe I'll cover it with something eventually, but for now, I'm enjoying it's sunny orange glow just the way it is.

Besides, Hobbes is thrilled to have a chair that matches his awesomeness. 

Green Pastures

A couple weeks ago I finally got to do something I've been wanting to do for the last 3 years. One of our church families owns a sheep ranch, and while I've visited a couple times in summer and winter, I've never made it out during lambing season.

Well, this year my mom really wanted to go to, and I can't deny that woman anything (she just snorted reading this) so off we went.

First, let me say that lambs are about the cutest things in nature. Full-grown sheep always remind me a bit to much of octopi with their weird eyes, but lambs manage to pull off the look in spades. There's just nothing quite like staring into the face of a sweet, innocent little lamb to melt the hardest heart. And let's just say my heart isn't that hard to begin with.

You couldn't move without stepping in heart puddles.

We were visiting the Walikonis farm, situated about 45 minutes beyond what most of you would think was the end of the earth. It's a beautiful spot, and Albert Walikonis' birthplace. If you ever stop by, ask him to show you the little school house he attended (and of course, walked to uphill both ways) as a boy.

Albert Walikonis, our host.

Sadly, I don't have any pictures of Jeanne, our wonderful hostess, but she was there as always, making sure we had a wonderful time.

Of course, you never visit a farm without being put to work (just ask my niece and nephews---I wonder why they don't visit more often....), so we got to learn a little about the lambing process. Unfortunately, no mothers obliged by giving birth while we were there, which meant my mother was unable to dust off her labor and delivery skills. But we got to help with a few of the day-old lambs in the barn.

Well, the boys did. I mostly took pictures.

As soon as a lamb is born, it's penned up with it's mama for a day or so to make sure everyone's OK and knows what to do. I didn't notice any slow learners in this bunch!

Before Mama and Baby (or babies if it's twins) can be released into the field, they have to be "branded" with coordinating numbers. I'm sure they can tell each other apart, but it's hard for the rest of us!

Devon got to hold the baby while it got its number. He took his shirt off so it wouldn't get dirty. Good Devon.

He got a special thrill from the slimy umbilical cord dangling down his bare chest...

Good thing he took his shirt off!

All ready to go! Albert, our resident shepherd, herded the little family out the door of the barn to explore the great, big world outside.

The lambs have never seen grass before, but they seem to know what it's good for right off bat. Nothing like a sun-warmed nap on a warm spring day.

Lambs are little bundles of cuddle-love with everyone, but my mom seemed to find herself somewhat of a sheep whisperer. First, she was smothered in lamby love...

and then smothered in affection from a very friendly---and ram. I guess some people just have what it takes.

While I was stalking precious lamb pictures, the kids were tearing it up on the Walikonis' farm cart. A big thrill for a bunch of kids with no licenses.

Oh, it was a very fun day indeed, and I am so thankful I finally got to go.

I also think I need some sheep.

Green pastures, Montana style...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pizza Rolls

I can't believe I haven't even posted yet this month! What can I say---it's been busy. May always hits like a steamroller, catapulting into my lap all those outdoor jobs that I haven't had to worry about since last fall. And it's just so intoxicating to get outside in the sun after so long indoors.

But since I'm having adventures as fast as ever (which isn't actually that fast), I'd better get cracking before I'm buried forever under an avalanche of backlogged bloggery....

Before Caleb and I left for Seattle, I made a few things for the train. This was a recipe I tried out (first seen on and it was very tasty. Good make-ahead food for trips or to grab out of the freezer when you're on the go.

These are really easy to make, especially if you already know how to make bread. This is the dough recipe I used, just because it's my grandma's recipe and I know it by heart.

Bread Dough:
Mix 2 T yeast and 1/4 c sugar with 2 c warm/hot water. Let sit for about 10 min. to let the yeast work. Add in 2 t salt and 1/4 c oil. Mix in 5 c of flour (can be made with 3 c white and 2 c whole wheat if you want) and knead for 10 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.*

Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down and you're ready to make Pizza Rolls.

*Whenever I'm making pizza dough, I always dump in a bunch of seasonings like garlic, onion powder, basil, oregano, and rosemary.

Roll the dough out into a large, long rectangle. You may have to divide the dough in half if your counter space is small.

Cover with sauce, keeping it away from edges so you can seal the dough later.

Sprinkle with cheese, olives, onions, or other preferred topping, but don't make it too heavy and soupy or the rolls won't hold together very well.

Roll up your dough, pinching along the edges shut to seal the roll.

Slice off rolls about an inch to an inch and a half thick and lay them on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Let cool, and then you can eat them right away or freeze them for later.

I found that there's a powerful lot of bread to go with a smallish amount of sauce, so it's best to have a sauce with a very strong flavor. Sundried tomatoes and fresh basil would be delicious on these babies!