Cow

Vintage-Farmhouse-Cow-Image-GraphicsFairy-1024x628.jpg

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Yesterday’s storm rode in on epic winds, the kind where a cow flying past the window might be a shock, but not a surprise. The snow fell horizontally the better part of the afternoon. While we didn’t get that much in terms of accumulation, the 25+mph velocity put us in near whiteout conditions.

Like heck I was going to drive in that. I kept Oakley home instead of taking him to daycare. We amused ourselves with social media, turkey treats in puzzles, and a couple of episodes of “The Tudors.”

It’s still extremely windy today. I don’t think we’ll see flying cows. The average Holstein such as the beauty in the above picture weighs in at just under 1300 pounds. It takes a lot for one to get airborne.

On a stroll, perhaps. One windy morning during the first late winter-early spring after our move from the suburbs to the soybean field, Hubby and I sat eating our bagels for breakfast. We heard moo-ing somewhere outside, but couldn’t tell where it came from because of the wind. Not anything out of the ordinary, really, with several neighbors keeping cows. Suddenly Orion sprang to his feet and went on point.

The pretty black and white cow sauntered through the back yard, looking around, her face knit into puzzlement.

“Mooo? MOOO?” she called, unsure of where she was. She kept walking through our field, then the neighbors’, heading northward towards one of the main roads.

Hubby and I both watched, teeth frozen midbite into our bagels. Orion held his point, but shook.

He knew what to do per his hunters’ training from his previous owner. Hubby and I had never run into information what to do in the event of a strolling bovine in the various magazines we’d read during planning and construction. My impulse was to use Orion’s tie out line as a leash and lead her home.

All 1300+/- pounds of her.

Maybe not. I grabbed the phone book and called the nearest dairy farmer and the county farm bureau and left messages asking if anyone had lost a cow and giving her last known location.

No one returned my calls. If I listened to my messages and someone sounding that crazed had left one, I doubt that I’d return it, either.

My hope is that she stayed safe after her queenly walkabout. Did she return to her milking station and report to the girls on the outside world? Did she run off with a handsome bull? Or keep running until–

We won’t think about that last possibility. I’ll just keep the image of her enjoying her freedom as she traversed the fields, air redolent with the scents of new green growth, heading towards her true north.

 

The Tasks at Hand

No, Gentle Reader, it’s not you. We have a full moon coming in this weekend. Good to set aside a few hours to do some decluttering. I’m intending to clean out a couple of cabinets and make a run to Goodwill. Good to recharge your crystals, too. Also optimal to do releasing ceremonies–my personal favorite is to write letters to release toxic feelings, then burn them with sage. Or write them on toilet paper and flush away.

It will also be good to start getting the garden going. At least getting things staked out, or containers lined up to welcome their occupants. Mothers’ Day, the second Sunday in May in the US, is generally considered the safe date to start planting. Any earlier and frost may prove an unwanted visitor.

At the very least, I’ll get some planters for the back step and front porch. I love gardens. I’ve had some luck with indestructible vegetables like zucchini, but with flowers, not so much.

Walks and time at the park with Oakley take the top spot on the list. It has a special urgency this spring. He’s fine. However, Precious, the neighbor dog, is not. When I stopped over earlier this week, she looked as if she didn’t know which side of the veil she was on, and instead of her usual exuberant barking and tail waving, she sat motionless. She’s either developed diabetes or kidney failure in these her later years. She’s lost her vision and most of her hearing. In the last few weeks, her decline has sped up exponentially. Precious was three when they moved in ten years ago. Her humans will be walking her to the Bridge this weekend.

I issued the standard “I’ll be thinking of you” sentiment. If I offered to do what I really want to do (be present, crystal grid, sage, Reiki), there would likely be much consternation. She has her spiritual path, I have mine, and we value the common spaces too much to impose our beliefs on one another.

So I will quietly send Reiki, light some sage, and lay out a grid in my own home. And make a cake.

Believe me, we agree on cake.

T Minus Five Weeks and Counting

Or so will say the groundhog tomorrow about spring.

We weathered the storm pretty well. The delay in the roads getting plowed was legit. I found out on Friday from a friend whose mom lives further out in the sticks that the county closed down all the roads. Having four plows wind up in the ditch will do that. A wise decision, indeed.

Things returned to pretty much normal Thursday. The snow is melting from the bottom up, collapsing into shapes like Jell-O molds gone wrong. Roads are perfect.

We had fog this morning, and there’s a chance of rain tonight. But there’s only five more weeks to go.

Early Spring Food

I’m thinking about historical foods today. Not the kitschy vintage ones with Jell-O. Not the elaborate feasts of nobility and aristocracy. I’m thinking about what pioneers and peasants would have eaten at this time of year when the bottoms of the barrels of salt pork were getting scraped and the last of the potatoes had started sprouting alongside the remaining withered apples. Perhaps some legumes and staples such as cornmeal and flour were available. Perhaps not. 

Dandelions might have appeared on the table. Yes, they are bitter. I like a few leaves in my salads. I’ve never tried them cooked, but I’ve heard they’re good that way. 

If one lived near water, perhaps a fish could be had. Or maybe a smoked one from the previous fall would be available. 

Did they keep cows? Goats? Maybe a little hard cheese was on hand. 

This is the time of year when all of a cook’s creativity needed to be in play to make sure that everyone made it through to later days of spring when a somewhat wider variety of food would be available. Survival came first, and if you could make something appealing on top that, you had done your job well, indeed.

Thursday Thoughts

Oakley’s left hip has been acting up the last few days. I give him a homeopathic remedy for pain and inflammation, and a glucosamine supplement in a liver base as well as fish oil. Pyrs and blends thereof are prone to hip dysplasia, a condition where the joint doesn’t develop properly, increasing the odds of arthritis as time goes on. There’s also the possibility of a flair-up of an old injury.  At three and a half, he’s kind of young for visits from the Ritis family. Dr. P. wants to take x-rays somewhere along the line to see what’s going on in there. I won’t argue, not much. Not thrilled about the sedation, but I don’t see Oaks rolling over on his back with his legs positioned properly of his own volition. 

It will officially be spring in about 20 minutes. Someone please remind the weather. We woke up to snow showers this morning. Small flashes of green are fighting through the brown in the yard. I hope they gather the needed support to retake the ground. 

Doing a detox. Twelve days of herbs to clean out the channels. No huge diet modifications. Be interesting to se what happens when it gets done. 

Chicken for lunch today. In a salad. Likely the same for dinner. I am in one of my rare resistances to cooking. I’ll have the leftovers on a bowl of greens and other delicacies with a light vinaigrette. 

Welcome, spring.

 

 

The Therapeutic Value of Cooking

I’ve been cooking more than usual this week. Mercury is still in retro; the heavy snow from Monday’s storm followed by yesterday’s rain and wind-driven melting challenged one of the sump pumps to the breaking point; my mainstay paid writing job has been put on hold indefinitely; and of course, Oakley ate a few too many biskies, leading to 2 AM runs in the yard.

So I’ve cooked. Turkey chili, a rotisserie chicken, a cake made with almond and coconut flours, socca with fresh cilantro to go with the chili. The cake was based on a very simple French recipe; the other dishes are regular batters in the culinary lineup. It’s kept me pleasantly busy during the interminable wait for the weather to level out. 

Signs that spring can’t be too far off are coming up here and there. Strawberries glisten like rubies at the store and early greens are coming in to play. Mercury will get its act together on the 28th and go forward. And we shall as well.

Wednesday Musings

Another storm system waltzed through the Chicago/NW Indiana area last night. Knowing that this morning was going to be a cold wet mess, I dropped  Oakley off at day care yesterday instead of today. He played while I picked up the necessary and sufficient supplies. The snow arrived as I was picking him up and wove itself into a white blanket as we pulled up the driveway. I’m allowing myself the luxury of being a little self-congratulatory on my timing of last night’s ventures. 

Caputo’s had an insanely good price on organic broccoli yesterday–69 cents a pound. I stuffed a bag with it and made gluten free pasta with broccoli. Did I give the recipe? If I didn’t, this is how you do it: make paper-thin slices of 4-6 whole fresh garlic cloves and place them into a small frying pan with extra virgin olive oil and a good shake of red pepper flakes. Heat slo-o-o-w-w-w-ly and gently until you can smell the garlic. While that’s going on, break broccoli into florettes, and put them into your favorite pasta pot with plenty of water to cook them and the pasta (I used Tinkyada brown rice fettuccini). When the broccoli is good and cooked and the pasta’s done, drain–don’t rinse. The starch helps the oil and the broccoli bits stick to the pasta. Now, pour in the lovely garlic and pepper infused olive oil, and mix. I topped off mine with shredded Asiago cheese. Perfect antidote to the weather. Oh, and an orange for dessert. If you don’t or can’t do cheese, try some toasted chopped pecans or walnuts. 

This morning, the clouds have dissipated to a thin veil. Hubby and I will have leftover broccoli and pasta for lunch with strawberries for dessert. Oakley is napping, dreaming of his upcoming bonus day care day on Friday. I don’t know if he know that it’s going to be a spa day or not–he’ll be getting a bath and a nail trim then. 

We stay in the moment, yet we count the 42 days to spring.