Sunday, May 19, 2013

And furthermore....Cheese! may be time to return to the initial purpose of this blog, in which I talk about finding stuff/making stuff/using up stuff - this one is really cool.

Back in late February, before Fred went back to France, we had some sour milk and some old, icky goat yoghurt. Remember how nothing gets thrown away here? Fred made cheese! We ran the milk and yoghurt through a cheesecloth strainer to let the whey run out, and then put the resulting curds in a couple of molds, and stored them in our wine cooler at 9°C for about a month.

When Fred arrived back on May 2nd, they were coated in some interesting blue and orange moulds. Fred washed them in saline, and let them ripen just a little more. I had to force myself to eat some, because really, they didn't look very pretty. But holy surpriseballs, Batman! They were both good, like real cheese, even!

Adopt an older dog!

I've talked a little bit before about my rescue critters, and about Louie in particular, the geriatric rescue from Bridgewater. But today I want to share his story, because, because, well, REASONS.

Louie was originally adopted out of SHAID, an animal shelter in Bridgewater, NS. I have no details about his life before this event, but apparently he lived happily with his owner for quite a few years, until the man died, and Louie ended up back at SHAID, because they're awesome like that, and will always take back one of their own in need.

Me, I was back to being a one-dog owner, having lost in fairly quick succession, 2 Rottweilers: Sheena the magnificent, who had lived with us for many years, and then Sophie, who was with us for only a month. I was trying very hard to stay a one-dog household, but cruising is not really the right way to go about that.

Cue seeing Louie on the SHAID website - a little, clearly old, dog (you could see the cloudy eyes in his photo), looking extremely anxious and sad. I tried for about a month to ignore him, but it wasn't working, and Fred was no help at all. He just kept saying we should drive to Bridgewater and see if Vinnie liked him. Well, I caved, we went, Vinnie liked him, and home with us he came.

I am used to adopting dogs, and I know that there is an adjustment period, but Louie was something else - that dog was heartbroken at the loss of his human, and totally confused by the change in his circumstances. Even though I knew he needed time, I found it hard to bond with him, because he gave so little back. Yeah, I was unfair. His habit of peeing in the house didn't endear him to me either - we tried everything we could think of: he went to the vet, we treated him like a puppy and did housetraining from the beginning; we took him out a zillion times - no success, really.

I never came closer to giving up on a critter than with Louie - I even went so far as to email the shelter about returning him. But we tried one more time with the vet, and as a last ditch measure, he went on Metacam, a NSAID, because the vet thought there might be some pelvic tenderness happening. And you knw what? Magic! He has maybe one accident in a month, and that I can live with. He's like a new dog, wagging his tail when he sees us, running like a maniac in the park - so much easier to love.

Long-winded way of saying, I'm glad I didn't give up on him. We've had him for almost 2 years now, and he clearly knows whose dog he is, and he's happy to be here.

In which I get all caught up on many things

So, first of all, the oldest and possibly biggest update - on February 13th, my sweetie and I got hitched for realz - it was the anniversary of our first meeting online, a dating website, of course. I remember looking at his location (Paris, France) and thinking, yeah, this is gonna happen. But what the heck, his pic was cute, and I was home on a snow day, so a little flirtation was definitely in order. We chatted for a bit about not much, and then I excused myself to go shovel the snow off the driveway..."I love shovelling snow," says he, and I answered, "Will you marry me?" Humour. Har. But then 8 years later, he did. And it was cool - us, our good friend the priest, my 2 kids as witnesses, and my daughter's bf as a bonus. I wore jeans, but also a beautiful celestarium shawl that I knitted. It has beads in the shape of the northern sky's constellations on it, and I love it:
There is only one picture of my wedding, a hilarious cell phone pic that my daughter took, with her bf's face photobombing the corner, but it was the perfect wedding for us, and the most stress-free thing I could imagine. 

Stress-free is good, because shortly after that, my beautiful Murphy-horse got a bad impaction colic from lousy hay. He almost died, and my wallet did die - but I was very glad he pulled through. The end result of this story was that my daughter and I decided to move to a new boarding stable; expecting to have to look for months to find a suitable space, we lucked into one right away: not only cheaper, but a newer barn, bigger turnout, 500 acres of riding trails, and also SHEEP! with fibre that I can spin! And, as the icing on the cake, the cherry on the sundae - it's actually in my all-time favourite piece of Nova Scotia ever. For years, every time I drove up Highway 101 on the way to the Annapolis valley, I would see the gypsum cliffs of Ellershouse and St. Croix, with the old Acadian dikes in front, and fantasize about riding there. Imagine our joy when we found out the new barn began on top of those very gypsum cliffs. I had to pinch myself to believe it.

Here is what it looks like from the highway:

And here is one of the many trails we can ride:

And for those of you who knit and spin, here are some of the sheep!

They are a beautiful flock of pure-bred North Country Cheviots, bred by Jan Hunter at the aptly named Clifftop Farm. Shearing will be soon, and you wanna believe there will be a photo-essay on that!

These two little cuties are twins whose momma didn't want them - Misfit and Lambert, being bottle-fed, will come running to any human, hoping for cuddles and milk. Next year, when their fleeces are ready, there will be hats and mittens for all specifically from them :)

And finally, here are Murphy and Katie, happy in their new home:

And finally, here's what the farm looked like in March, when we moved in:

That white lump front and center is Nikki, the Great Pyrenees guard dog, who not only defends the sheep against coyotes and all enemies, but also takes it upon herself to accompany us on our trail rides.

So, lots of new things in the new year - a husband, barn, sheep - life is good. More later!