Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kiss the Cook, But Don't Look in the Fridge

Just a reminder that for every kitchen success around here, there are usually a few or more disasters.

The Doorstops of Breadmaking Past.

The crunchy rice.

The curdled custard bases.

And so on...

For a senseless diatribe delving into the endless possibilities of future disasters, and the details of my most recent one...using only three ingredients!'s today's post over at NotDabblingInNormal if you care to drop in.

Inspiration for the determined masses who continue to burn water, but keep the dream alive ;-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Update Riddled With Gratuitous Dog Photos

Farm dog, sans farm...must make do with rawhide till there are more interesting things to chew.

Update: We were just made aware that rawhide chews can contain carcinogens and other toxins. Nylabones and other safer alternatives have been recommended to us. Bye-bye, rawhides...

First it must pass the sniff test. From the looks of this rawhide, it made the grade in prior sniff tests.
Speaking of tests, I've been catching up on my health stuff that was neglected while we didn't have insurance, and of course "they" have been running tests. Some tests came back good but my sugars didn't...ugh. Must. Keep. Daily. Journal. Yeahyeahyeah... Roger.

Mmmm...Kaleb goes for the prolonged back teeth gnaw.
And I went for my first mammogram, ever. Which meant girlish things were subjected to what I suspect the above-pictured rawhide experienced, for the sake of Health. Ow.

I've been making homemade dog food to supplement Kaleb's kibble. I can already notice a bit of a difference in Kaleb's coat, but I'll give it time.

Meanwhile, I continue to subject the very Aussie-and-all-other-farmrelatedsubjects-savvy (and patient) blog friend at Trapper Creek to questions, and have been given great feedback as we navigate new dog ownership of this particular fellow...and breed. I can say I'll probably never go back to any other breed. Smitten, I am.

Had lunch with my daughter today, and I'm SO enjoying being the mom of an adult daughter. Plus I can count on uncensored candor, if I ask for it, on about any subject, so when I asked her if my silver/gray hairs that seem to be overtaking my formerly-brown hair need to be colored, she said "YES, mom, YES." When I reminded her it was SHE herself who initially dared me to allow it to go au naturale in the first place, she said "well, yes, it was pretty cool when a few silver ones were there, but I mean this is a little out of hand!" I love my daughter.

And to think I used to anticipate the days when she'd learn to talk...ha :) Anyway, silver/gray hairs notwithstanding, we had a great lunch together between my doc-visits-ugh.

We have some bleeps on the radar as go our efforts lumped under the general category termed Land Things, but we curb the enthusiasm till there's some finality. One thing we've learned is that "it's not over till it's over"...I really can't wait to write about some of the specific details we've gone through the past three years with all this, and some of the knocks that have come either just because life's that way sometimes, or sometimes from our own mistakes/lack of experience. But like I said, it's for another day.

I don't feel like I have my (rapidly-graying) head on straight right now in comparison with other years in which I had constant projects going and could post interesting (to me, at least) things here for fun. I'm feeling slowed down in general, though we are in a productive period if you look at things from a distance. For the past five years I've enjoyed good health overall, but this off again on again stuff since June of this year has kept me Sub-par. Today's news from the doc as to why my ears still hurt? They are still infected. I'm taking antibiotics again, which goes against my grain, and still haven't regained all of my energy back.

But having Kaleb means going for walks are fun (truly!) and even if that's all the exercise I get right now, it's incentive enough.

I'm trying to get a handle on my eating. During the summer flu/ear stuff/lung stuff, I had little appetite, which is uncommon for me, and so it trimmed some weight off. That's the good news. The bad news is that my practice of being involved in trimming the budget by cooking everything optimally (using the turkey for different dishes, freezing the leftovers, using the brother for soups , TYPO: I meant BROTH for soups...i have no brother but it's not due to anyone being made into broth... boiling the bones for stock, etc etc) had to be streamlined...I simply didn't feel good enough to spend as much time in the kitchen, and lacked inspiration (and appetite) the short times I was. I also haven't felt like experimenting or fixing many fun treats. We have been eating homemade, but I didn't stretch everything to the Nth degree like I usually do. That to me means much of what I could have stretched was not, which makes me feel wasteful. At least being able to incorporate some of these things into the dog's diet helps utilize them, but I'd rather be at peak creativity for the people of the house first.

Now I'm feeling better by comparison, but still have a ways to go to get back to being with it that way again. I haven't felt like doing craft or art projects, writing projects, or continuing to further research the alternate-use plants we have growing outside. I have a good many calabazas to bake and freeze, and some other foodie things pending. I have a backlog of things in the fridge that are cooked but need to be at least frozen for later. (true confession...I have been reading books and watching prodigious numbers of PBS mini-series and assorted collections of DVDs when my energy levels peak at the Potato level. I can quote you Jane Austen and Dickens lines. And Andy Griffith. And Chef. And Good Neighbors. And so on...)

I keep telling Jack the paid help never showed up ;-)

But on better news, I've started buying better quality meat, but less of it, each week. (Because Steak goes SO well with Couch Potato...) For some reason we both noticed the ground beef we were buying just wasn't sitting well with us the same way a bit of roast or steak would. I've got plenty of salad fixings and have taken one nice jar of bleu cheese dressing and extended it with active culture plain yogurt...and it tastes fantastic. Just a small drizzle of that over a salad chock full of finely-chopped veggies and herbs has been hitting the spot, alongside small portions of meat to go with it. It's my quickie cheat version of dinner while still feeling at 50%.

Also on the health front, we're trying Resveratrol. The claims seem inflated, but undeniably many people claim to have seen instant benefits. We need a good cleansing and boost to our immune systems, so went for the "free trial bottle" of one of the companies. Let's see how that plays out. I've only ordered one bottle, and had to get tenacious saying NO in a hundred different ways to the company's attempts to call me and upsell me other "youthful" products. The representative just didnt want to take No for an answer, and so when he asked me (in a somewhat astonished voice) WHY I didn't want the So-and-So Youth Formula that makes me LOOK YOUNGER...."You mean you don't WANT to look younger??"...I replied "NO. NO, I do not want to look younger"

He said "You must look very young, then. Nearly everyone wants to look younger." (THIS. On the day of The Conversation With My Daughter About How Ancient The Grays Make Me Look)

I replied "I DO look young. I don't want to look younger. (repetition, repetition, repetition??)" (Ok, so I'm not lying. I DO look young. When compared to someone ten years older than I am. I don't want to look younger, or Jack will look like he's perpetually accompanied by his grown daughter...ick) :)

He gave up and said "Well you do SOUND like you look young."


I'm going to remind my daughter from now on that I SOUND like I LOOK young...heeheehee

Then I called their customer service department to cancel further orders of the product. I got what sounded like somebody's teenage son. Confused, illiterate, and bored teenage son. I waited a total of three minutes while he sat there saying nothing and never was able to pull up my name on his computer. (I'm sure he was thrown off by how YOUNG I sounded, haha) But we finally got to the gist of the thing after a comedy of errors in which he kept re-entering eleven digits for my phone number instead of ten...asking me if the eleven were correct, I said no and repeated....and repeat. Then when he said "ok" I said "does ok mean you've canceled any further shipments?" and he said Yes and waited for about 30 seconds and then hung up. Weird. I'm chuckling!

All a nice diversion, in a slightly annoying way...

I don't know why, but I keep being afraid of one of us getting cancer, especially since the event of the skin cancer spot Jack had removed from his forehead earlier in the year. That's one reason I'm getting all my "yearlies" caught up. We REALLY need to be healthy.

I want this upcoming year to be the one in which we both lose most of our weight for good...the right way. I love this man so much and want us to have many years together. I remember the older women of my family on my grandma's side talking in a gaggle about their "old folk complaints," which totally repelled us younger ones back then...a laundry list of corns, bunions, the removal of this and that, repetition of the word "hemorrhoids," other terms like gout, hernia, high blood pressure, cataracts. Well, I'm on the Forties slide toward Laundry List Land, but am fighting it hard now. Jack's in the Fifties version of that and thankfully has been blessed with a strong constitution in most areas. It's funny but keeping all our components running well figures in largely to whatever definition we now have of Homesteading. It's funny how health is central to all other concerns.

Enough of creaks and squeaks..there'll be "funner" updates to come. I'm just feeling a little reflective after The First Mammogram. And sympathy for anything unmercifully flattened between two unyielding surfaces. And definately wincing at any sandwich referred to as a Hot Pressed Cuban.

It's time to end the post when you begin empathizing with fast food ;-)

Something hopefully more coherent to come, in future. I go now for my daily Aussie Walk Therapy...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shana Tovah!

Shana Tovah for all who are celebrating Yom Teruah and Rosh Hashanah. Sound the shofars!
Eat sweet things to commemorate the goodness of the Almighty!
We blow our shofar in anticipation of the upcoming days of Yom Kippur and the Sukkot holiday...days of reflection, thanks, sobriety, gratefulness, repentance, and joy!
Here's a video that made us smile :)

Shabbat shalom :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Love My Camera

(clicking photos will enlarge)
It's something I still love to do...take my camera along, especially in the garden or on walks. I enjoy blogging so much more when I have pictures, and I love going back and comparing this year's with those of past many memories!

For more ramble on how a camera has been one of our more enjoyable luxuries at our homeplace, you can read my post today over at NotDabblingInNormal.

Say cheese!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm Lovin' My Aussie!

You are one sweet, good-natured, loyal and gorgeous furball, Kaleb...I'm so glad you're part of our family!

Trying to get a picture of Kaleb is an adventure in motion photography. We go for frequent romps outside. He's usually wearing this happy grin.

unless some fascinating smell has to be checked out...

...or he patiently poses for about 2.67 seconds for the camera lady. "Hey lady, the sun's in my eyes"
But the pic makes me laugh...he looks like someone about to deliver a cheesy pick-up line

"Ok, enough of the pictures...let's get this show on the road"
I love my dog!!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Easy Cottage Fare: Shepherd's Pie

My kitchen collection as yet contains no ramekins, custard cups, tart pans, or individually-sized mini casserole dishes. But I do have white ovenproof cereal dishes. I use them when I want indivual-sized entrees like homemade mac and cheese, hot pasta dishes, individual portions of beef stew topped with biscuits, and if I ever get the hang of it (must master pie crusts someday) homemade pot pies. The possibilities are endless. Tonight's use was for shepherd's's what we had on hand and was fast and easy.

And I have a half a pound of ground beef...actually several, in the freezer. I divvy up the larger quantities after shopping and freeze half pound quantities (raw) at a time since it's the amount I use a lot. I used a lot more meat at a time in the past, but have found ways to stretch that, unless we're having good ol' burgers straight up, or a roast. Even the leftovers from those, if there are any, get stretched for soups and more.

One way I stretch our protein out a bit is to pair it with veggies, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to use leftover bits of meat and veg and assemble a shepherd's pie. I've never used a recipe for it, per se, but essentially it's a casserole without all the ingredients being mixed together. A savory meat is on bottom, veg in the middle or combined with the meat, and mashed potatoes are atop. Some recipes call for the mashed potatoes to be on the bottom and the top, as a sort of crust all ''round. Seasonings vary, as do the sorts of meat and the type of vegetable. I usually top ours with some cheese and bake till it bubbles and is tender through. Since the meat is pre-cooked, and usually the veggies are, too, it only takes the time needed to heat through.

Last night's mashed potatoes preceded tonight's's an easy way to use them up. Tonight I wanted some fresh cabbage in our shepherd pie. A lot of recipes call for corn, carrots, green peas. Use whatever works. This is a rustic dish, not a prim and proper holds up to a lot of experimentation or using what you have right on hand. I've been craving sauteed cabbage lately, so that's what spoke to me as far as the vegetable. I'm not into limp leftover cabbage, so I sauteed some in a pan, only till bright green and still slightly crisp here and there.

It doesn't take much meat. I sauteed beef chuck and onions, drained off the fat, and seasoned with a pinch of sea salt and garlic. Nothing fancy. Moist but not greasy.
It certainly can be whatever meat matches the veggies, though. Just make sure it tastes good. If it's too bland heat it in a skillet before assembling and add a bouillon cube or splash of meat broth for flavor. Or a splash of Worchestershire sauce...etc. Just don't oversalt it like I did mine (oops!)

Leftover roast, cubed/minced very small and paired with a splash of red wine and sauteed mushrooms would be wonderful. Leftover grilled meats and grilled veggies would be delicious, especially if the meat's cubed fine and moistened with something complementary so it won't be too dry.
Leftover meatloaf with a splash of tomato sauce and green peas is good...whatever combination your family would find enjoyable (or what's on hand that tastes good hidden beneath melted cheese, ha!)

Here I layered the meat with a spoonful of tomato sauce, seasonings, shredded cheese, the sauteed cabbage, leftover mashed potatoes, more shredded cheese on top of that, and some fancy schmancy panko breadcrumbs that I picked up once at the store, thinking they were plain, but ended up instead being somewhat Italian seasoned. Anyway, you can use what you want, but the idea behind most shepherd pie seems to be beef plus veg plus tatties.

The mashed potatoes are good enough to eat alone, which is why I NEEDED to spread them out (ha!)...don't hand me homemade mashed potatoes and give me a spoon. At least paired with the cabbage it has the illusion of something a bit more nutritionally virtuous ;-) Tonight I used less make more servings. A generous amount of fresh ground pepper topped it off. Usually I put a thick layer of the mashed potato, especially if I'm making this in a casserole dish instead of individual ones.

The cheese (as with most of the other ingredients) is optional. Unless your household is like mine in which cheese makes a certain husband want to grab the cook and kiss her soundly. Which is why I use it frequently :)

I topped the cheese with the panko crumbs, which is also unnecessary, but potatoes, cheese, and bread crumbs...a culinary trinity, mmmm...
I'm thinking I'll keep honing this dish till we have an ultimate favorite. After all, it's a casserole. Leftovers. But with potatoes? Shepherd's pie even sounds better. Especially to folks like me who've eaten enough hamburger-helper-ish concoctions, casseroles, and leftovers throughout the years for those terms to ever have much appeal any more.

I'm thinking up my ultimate shepherd's pie. I'll keep experimenting. But if it features primarily beef rather than lamb, I think I'll utilize some Guinness in making the meat mixture for the distinctive robust flavor it lends red meat (I love making roasts with it), and when I get to the potato layer, make it more fluffy than creamy and top it with a smoked white cheese. Like I ever buy smoked cheese (smiling) but hey you never know when the opportunity will strike :)

Anyway, whether plain or fancy, popped into the oven, especially since this is in individual bowls, this only needs about 20-30 minutes at 350 F, till everything's happily hot throughout.
And then you eat it.
Between kisses ;-)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Personal Goals Update

(pic is of brussells sprouts...halved and seared in a bit of olive oil with some crisped turkey bacon tossed in...yum!)
It's been a while since I did the Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Do Without update. Here's how things are stacking up these days:
Use It Up:
1. Trying to use up fridge contents before they migrate to the hidden recesses and languish there too long. In order to keep the process simple, I'm buying fewer groceries at a time since we have our larger staple quantities already in the pantry. I'm also making a decisive effort to include more greens and eat them before buying anything else. The brussels sprouts are on sale right now and are really cheap. We have those and some cabbage to use up before cycling through and buying more fresh produce.
Do better? I need to use up the remaining frozen turkeys we bought last winter.
2. Some of the leftovers now go to the dog...(now that we have one, yay!) I don't really utilize my beef fat (tallow) after I separate the roasting pan juices, but now I can store it in the fridge and melt a spoonful at a time for including in his kibble, along with some of the other leftovers. His coat needs conditioning.
3. I've been pulling a lot of our frozen soups out of the freezer for quick meals, and freezing the roasting juices from any meats we cook once I separate the fat. The roasting juices are the best soup starters I've found yet.
4. Our moringa and cranberry hibiscus branches need harvesting. The moringa leaves have to be individually picked off and either cooked fresh like spinach or dried and powdered to use in cooking. They are nutritional superfoods according to what we've read up on them. I'm interested in experimenting with the cranberry hibiscus leaves, which are good raw in salads with a tart lemony flavor. I want to try them dolmas-style as a substitute for grape leaves to see if it will hold up and if the flavor is good that way. I also want to see if the tenderer ones can be processed till fine with a bit of olive oil to make a pesto, and then take it a step further and see if it might be a nice addition to an olive tapenade...the color, the burgundy/magenta, would surely be beautiful.
Wear It Out:
1. The lawnmower - aye-yi-yi! It's embarrassing to admit just how long our lawn went unmowed since late June. I was sick all that time until recently with sinus that graduated into bronchitis/flu/ruptured eardrums/blahblahblah, and Jack was called on to work a challenging work schedule. What with everything falling a beat behind paired with bouts of pouring rainstorms, let's just say we became children of the jungle. Well, the jungle had to be hacked away at and our small lawnmower has been a trouper, but it's no match for thigh-high bermuda. Jack checked into renting a more powerful one and the cheapest rental was $85 a way. So my hero has been wrestling lawnmower and stalk for days now, chawing away at the wall of green. He's nearly won, but we've had to keep replacing lawnmower parts. A more powerful one is on the wish list, but let's see...we keep holding out hope that moving to the place we hope would allow animals to be the yardcare specialists...we're tired of mowing what would be some gorgeous fodder! So for the time, the lawnmower stays.
2. Most of my pants have bit the dust, but I am able to still use two of them. The ones with repatched holes are being saved for patches. I'm embarrassed to say that all my everyday shirts were stained, shapeless, and looking very worn, so for very little I bought two chambray shirts in the least likely of places...the men's department...for $5.00 each. I love chambray for its durability and comfort. I'm not typically a "wear men's clothing" sort of gal, but truly there is no difference in the look between these shirts and the women's. I bought each in a shade that matched my two remaining pairs of pants and voila...fresh and crisp. So I sort of did a "wear it out"...with the pants, and bought the shirts frugally with the pants in mind to complete two "new" outfits. The other shirts and pants...WORN OUT. I have to figure out whether to save some of the fabric or what to do. Some of them are so far gone I'd hate to donate them to anything. Rag bin might be their fate :)
Make It Do:
1. Reorganizing closets, spare bedroom, garage, etc, little by little. I'm repurposing containers from one area to use in another. Am using a small woven throw rug (after a good cleaning) as a runner for my kitchen table. Grouping things together until it's decided whether to reuse or give away. The big Comet goldfish is still in a too-small tank, and prices being what they are for larger tank setups (even on craigslist...I don't seem to hit the good ones in time), I'll craigslist the fish for 50 cents and go get two very small ones for less than that to repopulate mine.
2. Exercise -- it's hot. Hot, hot, hot. The heat does a number on me, and since I work in intense heat on my work nights, it is draining. HOWEVER, this is one of those Make It Do scenarios...I'm trying to get it to work with me instead of against. I'm eating less and I've lost some weight slowly. Now that we have our wonderful dog (yay!!), an hour before sundown is the perfect time to go for long walks. No excuses...I used to belong to a gym back in the with an indoor pool, ahhhhh :) But I have a perfectly beautiful scenic set of roads that I'm no longer afraid to explore by myself (because we have the dog, yay again!) and I want to step up the fitness and weight loss. I want to see bigger results this year! I'm down 24 pounds since last year, and each pound was a killer to get off. But I have a very long road ahead. No excuses = "make it do" matter what, there is something I can be doing.
Do Without:
1. Well, we do this so much, it doesnt feel like doing without :) It just seems like "ok, it's just not the right time for it." I've put off ordering some supplements that would benefit us because we're paying off a lot of bills just now and I want to see where the totals fall here soon, so we know exactly where we stand.
2. In the bad side of this one, for way too long I was NOT utilizing my health insurance and really put off some doc visits for various reasons. I needed to get caught up with my maintenance meds and get labs checked as well as get current with those "female exams" etc. Those are being caught up on. It's just not sensible to delay it further as long as I do have insurance. There are things we shouldn't do without if we have a choice. With that said, though, I have been altering my eating and growing some herbs to help me with my blood sugars, and have asked the doc to remove me from a couple of meds if the numbers come back within a decent range. My thyroid used to be very borderline normal/abnormal but after taking the meds for about three years, my usually very thick hair began thinning noticeably (to me, at least). I took myself off it. We'll see what the counts look like but it's one of the things I hope to not have to use again.
I guess that's it for now!
We are so happy to have the dog. This was a planned-for thing, and yes, the set up comes with expenses. They were planned for after having nixed considerable debt recently (yay, God!). I don't know where on here he fits, but he does fit. He is now my constant shadow and alerts me to anything unusual going on outside, especially when Jack's elsewhere. The peace of mind and companionship that brings me is beyond words. The motivation to get outside and go for walks is now a joy instead of a chore.
And that's where I'm headed now. It doesn't seem like "exercise" since Kaleb is sooo happy tooling around down the paths and through the!
I hope your weekend is great...if you get time off from work and/or get to be with family or friends, enjoy! I go now to walk my four legged furball and see his silly happy grin :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Want to Help? You're Needed (Original link) (Most recent link...please read on...)

This online homesteading community, though spread out across the world, is still in so many ways closely-knit. As individuals and families we're as varied as can be, yet we have so much in common... we're very necessary to each other.

Life's really good, but sometimes deals us all some sucker-punches.

Many of you know the Omelays, and for those of you who don't, you'll really enjoy getting to. There's an opportunity to help an immediate need that's arisen for them, in the same spirit they've helped many others. We're all a team :)

If you feel so led, please visit the above link and contact Karl or Tabitha in comments with any encouragement, or if possible, to help pool some emergency resources. (I asked their permission to post this) :)

I know the homesteading blogging community is immensely resourceful...and generous! Thanks in advance for caring.

shabbat shalom!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Meet Kaleb

We've adopted!!

Despite the blurry pic (my fault, I'm not yet worthy of my camera), this fellow's personality and beauty shine through! Meet Kaleb, our first official farmstead-to-be resident...besides our tenacious goldfish...
He's a five year old Australian shepherd we just adopted yesterday, much to our elation. What a great experience so far, and what a great dog...hooray!! I've been wanting an Aussie for such a long time, but we needed to wait till the right time. For many reasons, the primary one being God's blessing and timing, the day finally came. I'm sooooo happy!
I'm particularly happy because Kaleb is so good-natured and has dealt with the transitions of the past couple days so well. He's good on the lead, enjoys rides in the car/truck, endured a very long trip, and seems to be in good spirits and good health. We'll get things all checked by the vet to be sure on that score. He sleeps right beside our bed and prefers being indoors unless we're outdoors, in which case he wants to be wherever we are. And he's house-trained...double yay!

Here he is all curled up on the cool tile floor. Little does he know a bath is in his future today...
We were fortunate enough to find him via our Petfinder search...there's a story behind that...after having looked and dreamed for several months (maybe longer).
For anyone needing a dog, I can't say enough about all the exceptional dogs needing rescue from shelters. Every region in the US has rescue organizations, usually by breed, and supported by private donation and dedicated foster homes. Every person we've been in contact with through these has been great to work with. When it comes down to it, there are so many dogs to choose from it becomes more of a matter of how to choose rather than availability. We had several different breed mixes in consideration, though we preferred Australian Shepherd. Some of the best dogs I've known are of mixed breeding. We were looking for breeds that met our criteria for farm dog instinct and behavior foremost.
I'm not paid for this plug, but please please consider a rescued dog, even if you're needing a purebred for whatever reason. It ends up that Kaleb is purebred, though we didn't know that initially when we began inquiring about adopting him. Many MANY purebred dogs are turned into shelters ...Googling a breed you love and the word "rescue" and your State will bring up great resources for finding a dog near you who's likely as pedigreed as any breeder's, and many who are not but have the best qualities of the breed and the advantages of hardiness due to being mixed breed.
I could tell you all the individual Aussies listed on our state Rescue pages and in the Petfinder listings, that's how often I looked and bookmarked listings. And I can tell you when most of them no longer appeared because they'd been adopted (more sweet than's always a happy thing to see them find a great home). It seems that the individual dogs I was enthusiastic about were quickly adopted out. We weren't yet ready to adopt at that point because of the priority of needing to pay off debt. But you can be sure I had a wish list going for when that day came!More details later (I'm short on time just yet) but Kaleb has been in foster care for several months, which makes it even more amazing to us that he was still available...saved just for us, we like to think :) Again, we thank God!
Our "homestead" is currently one in transition and limbo, and eventually will be in a different location and setting. There are many reasons we want to take on the acquisition and care of animals slowly and deliberately, and with a lot of forethought. A lot of thought and preparation went into this decision because we want a breed and individual dog that would be good with a variety of (future) livestock both big and small, with a protective but not bullying nature towards people, a strong bond to his people and territory, and ability to bark and warn against things that threaten the peace. Because we're in a limiting location at present, we want a dog that can be indoors a lot, but that likes activity and exercise daily. I wanted a companion dog for the times Jack and I can't be together, a dog good with either of us. I like most dogs, but I am really drawn to medium to large sized dogs.
And I particularly love intelligent goofballs ;-) Kaleb definately qualifies...his sense of humor is already coming out and he LOVES to play. He gives romping, running, playing, chasing things I throw, eating...and sleeping...his all, and whatever my genetic programming, I am SO HAPPY seeing him "smiling," hearing him "talk" to me (seriously!), and getting those big wet dog kisses.
(though we'll see if he pouts for a while after today's upcoming bath)
He's our first farmstead animal...and essential to all the rest to come. There's no puppy stage to go through since he'll be turning 6 in November, and I hope he has a long lifetime in dog years with us. Kalev is the Hebrew for "dog" and also the name of the biblical hero (a favorite of mine) who was one of those "majority of one" men who demonstrated courage and confidence in God's instructions at a time when nearly everyone else refused to...and later he earned a great reward. The name Caleb is the anglicized spelling, so we split the difference since it's all transliteration anyway, and that's how Kaleb came about.
He very well could have been given any other name, not with a Hebrew connection (you know how we love our Hebrew things), but it worked out to be a great fit for him, so yay again :)
Ultimately, we envision our farmstead including another Aussie, chickens, bees, a milk cow, a few sheep or small goats, and a few head of beef cattle. I'm not sure which of these will be in our future...maybe some and not others, and maybe a donkey or a horse. We feel that a farm dog is vital to the success of any and all of these, and we believe Kaleb is evidence that we're progressing that direction steadily.
In all these things, we thank God. Again, there are specifics for a future post.
It boils down to this: We were able to pay debts off...again, thanks to God! There is a wonderful momentum that builds as those awful debts are being wiped out. That in itself is a story I don't want to skimp on.
But I wanted you to see dog pics, and couldn't stand to wait!
More to come...thanks for being happy for us! Yayyyyyy!!!! :)