Happy birthday to me

I woke up the other day when Ezra came into our bedroom.  He was standing next to my side of the bed and we started giggling about something and he said, “Mom, you’re adorable!”  It was the best thing, EVER!

Leo and Ezra get along so well, I’m loving it.  Hopefully it lasts.

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Jesse’s brother shot a deer and he dropped it off for us on Monday so we spent a few hours piecing it out and bagging it up.  Luckily we were able to fit in between the freezer upstairs and the upright freezer downstairs.

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It was quite a bit smaller than the elk and we made really good time on it.  We got a lot more scraps for dog food as well as about six more bags of ground deer and a few steaks and roasts.  We also kept some meaty bones this time and the dogs have been enjoying them immensely.

My birthday was on Thursday and it was great!  I had the day off work and we spent it hanging out and shopping.  I also discovered that Leo is teething.  He has long tried to put our fingers and hands (and cheeks, necks, hair, whatever) into his mouth whenever he could, but lately it’s been more than usual and he is so drooly!  I was not surprised when I felt a tooth had broken through his gums, and the next day the second one had broken through.  So he is on his way to having his bottom two teeth come in.

Because he is now 5.5 months and he’s teething, we decided to get some of those mesh bags that you put food in so they can gum it down/suck in it and learn how to eat more solid food.

Trying pear for the first time

Trying pear for the first time

He was not quite sure what to think about the pear.  On the one hand, it was cold from having been in the fridge so probably felt great on his gums, but on the other hand pears have a pretty strange flavor if you’ve only had formula.  Last night we put some banana in it and Leo seemed to like that better.  Not sure if it was the more mushy texture or the flavor he liked more, but he ate/sucked about half of it out of the bag.  Win!

Jesse also put together Ezra’s old crib because Leopold was busting at the seams in the pack-and-play we had been using.  I think Leo likes all the space; the trouble now is that with the PnP he would try to roll over but hit an edge and so would sleep on his side, but now that he has more space he is able to turn over fully, and I’m so scared of SIDS that it freaks me out and makes me want to turn him over any time I see him on his belly.  Also, he gets frustrated of being on his belly and not being able to turn back over so I have to get up out of bed to move him.  He’s also gotten legs stuck between the slats and that pisses him off as well (rightly so) and then we have to unstick his limbs.  I’m always worried that I won’t be able to squish his legs back through even though I know logically that if they got through one way they should be able to move in the reverse.

Last night we made elk steaks and asparagus and it was delicious!  The elk wasn’t gamey at all and the asparagus was buttery and still had a nice snap to it, perfection!

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Ezra has been on a cereal kick again lately.  I make such good-looking babies!

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Happenings around the house

It has been a busy couple days!  Jesse got an elk tag this year (spike elk) and has been up to Strawberry Reservoir multiple times hoping to fill his tag but didn’t get anything in that location.  He left for La Sal mountain range on Tuesday because he wanted to try his hand up there and his brother and family would be going up at the end of the week to try and fill their deer tags.  Well, Jesse filled his tag on Tuesday night!

Jesse's first elk!

Jesse’s first elk!

He drove back home on Wednesday and he had already field dressed and quartered the elk so I started processing.  Holy moly, that was a lot of animal!  Ezra met Jesse at the top the stairs and greeted him with, “We’re so excited you got an elk, daddy!”  It was adorable, especially because I didn’t tell him to say that.

elk ready for processing

elk ready for processing

Our knives weren’t very sharp so it took me awhile to get through the processing.  I was able to finish the backstrap and some organs before Velvet and kids came over for dinner that night (we had Chinese food night!) and then after they left I started again and finished the organs then got through the tenderloins and one hind leg before admitting defeat and going to bed around midnight.

loin steaks

loin steaks

huge hind leg

huge hind leg, probably about 50+ lbs

We found a knife sharpener and the processing went much more smoothly the next morning.  When we sharpened the knife edges during processing, I noticed that one of our Cuisinart knifes has a crack in it!  It’s near the base but I was a little miffed because Cuisinart is supposed to be a decent brand I thought and we’ve only had the knives for a couple years.  Maybe if I contact them they will send me a new one.  But I’d probably need the original receipts…hmm.

I think I finally finished up processing around 1:30pm and Jesse ended up leaving for camp again a little bit later that day.  (I say *I* did the processing but Jesse helped me bag it up, thanks honey!)  Our deep freezer is stuffed full of elk now.  We probably have a few hundred pounds total of steaks, hams, ground, stew meat, organs, and dog food (scraps and overly tendon-y pieces).  If Dustin and his son are able to fill their two tags, we won’t have the room to store it all, but Velvet said we can use her freezer and there are a couple other family freezers we can store with as well.  As much as I’m not looking forward to processing more animals (because it’s somewhat trying), it’s totally worth it to spend three days processing if it means a year’s worth of meat.

stuffed freezer

stuffed freezer

I was all kinds of irritated last night because I had cleaned everything up earlier in the day only to find a large bag of meat meant to be ground still in the fridge from the night before.  I had to get out the grinder again and put it together and grind the meat (we got another six stuffed quart bags) and then I had to disassemble and clean everything again.  I may still have some grinder pieces soaking in the sink.

With ground elk, I know most people grind it with the addition of some kind of fat (either pork or beef) because elk is so lean and if you try to make burgers with it it will just fall apart.  However, we like the beef patties we get from Costco and really just wanted ground to use in things like burritos, taco soup, stroganoff,  that kind of thing, so I didn’t add anything to it when I ground it up.

We really try to utilize the whole animal when we kill anything.  We kept the spike antlers to give to the dogs as chew toys.  We usually buy antlers from Best Bully Sticks and they like them well enough but these two antlers are super fresh and I have a feeling they will go crazy about them.  We kicked around the idea of keeping and tanning the hide as well but we don’t know enough about that process to really do anything worthwhile with it.  Maybe we can learn more this year to be better prepared for it next year.

On Tuesday while Jesse was gone, I decided to swap our bedroom with Ezra’s room.  I thought it was a smidge larger than our bedroom and also my closet was in that room and Jesse hardly ever uses his closet that was in our (old) bedroom.

I was able to get a lot of stuff cleared out of the bedrooms, but then I needed Velvet’s help to dismantle the bunk bed and move our heavy bed base to the new room.  I was right that the room is a bit larger, we definitely have more room for Leo’s portable crib and when we put together the big crib (which we need to do in a couple days because he’s way cramped as it is) that extra room will come in handy.  Not sure what we’ll do when Leo is old enough to stay in his crib and share a room with Ezra, there’s not a lot of leftover space in that room.  I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

In any event, the majority of our stuff has been swapped around but there are still little odds and ends that need to be moved around and some shelves need to be put up still.  The first night in the new room Ezra kept getting up and he told me that he heard a scary sound in the bedroom, and he did the sound for me.  I tell you, it sounded like something straight out of a horror movie.  Ker-ker-ker-ker-cha-cha-cha-cha.  Koo-waa!  Freaked me out and I was home alone with the boys so I just said, it’s nothing, just a new room, takes some time to get used to.  But man, it took me awhile to fall asleep that night.

Ezra has been wanting me to make cakes so I tried my hand at a coffee cake and while it was pretty good, I think next time I want something with more spices and also maybe swirled batter.  Maybe what I really want are cinnamon rolls.  Yeah, that sounds good.  I used this recipe and the only difference was I subbed macadamia nuts because that’s what I hand on hand.

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I sent the remaining pieces of cake with Jesse for him to share with his hunting crew, and then last night I made apple crisp using this recipe.  Velvet got me an apple peeler/corer quite a while ago for a birthday or Christmas or something and I finally tried it out for the first time.  I had to fiddle with some settings but was able to make it work pretty well.  MUCH faster than peeling and coring by hand, that is for sure.

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I like the recipe well enough and while all the reviews said there was a good amount of crumble topping to apples, I did not find that to be true.  It’s still pretty tasty but I want larger crumble pieces that are a crunchy-sweet contrast to the tart apples.  Looking back at the pictures maybe I hadn’t cut in the butter well enough because it was still pretty powdery.  Oh well, I’ll remain on the hunt for the perfect crisp recipe a while longer I guess.

Ezra has been very accommodating in the compliments sector lately.  Yesterday, Ezra gave me props for watching a scene of his cartoon, “Good job seeing it, mom!”  I aim to please, folks.

 

kissable cheekies

kissable cheekies

Leo is rolling over now.  And then he gets all frustrated because he doesn’t want to be on his belly.  *sigh*  He is growing up so quickly!

Politics piss me off

Usually I refrain from commenting on politics, either in real life, here on the blog, or on my Facebook page.  I do NOT like election years (or the year/two years leading up to an election year) because so much misinformation is passed around.

It’s like there is no integrity in journalism any more.  I have a Facebook friend, an older gentleman, who posts a SHIT TON of anti-Obama, right-wing craziness, mostly in the form of memes but sometimes linking to articles.  I saw one yesterday that caught my attention because it said that it was just revealed Obama was the product of incest and he was humiliated!  I was like, ok this is going to be bullshit, but let’s see what it says.

The article went on to say that Obama’s great grandfather was a polygamist who had five wives, two of which were sisters.  I don’t know if that is actually true, but even if it is, it’s not like the sisters could have knocked each other up and no mention was made that the great grandfather was related to either of them, so how does that equate incest?

And the comments at the bottom of the article were all:
“He is a great example of what is produced when cousins and siblings marry.”
“Who cares, he is a muslim and a terriost and no one seems to care about that.”
“His father was still married to his first wife when he married and knocked up barry’s tramp mother, clearly making barry a bastard child.”

Those are actual comments (and typos) on the article (and I use the word “article” loosely here).  It makes me sad first off, that so many of my fellow countrymen are apparent idiots, but then it just makes me mad.  It’s not that I think Obama is some great President, he’s done ok though I think he could do more.  It’s that these muckrakers have no integrity!  They KNOW they’re just making stuff up and they don’t care because they know people will believe them because no one wants to hunt for the truth anymore.

I like my friend but I hate his politics, so I’ve had to unfollow almost everything he posts.  And he’s not the only one, though his feed is the most vocal.  I don’t know how I can take another year of this.  I very rarely comment on other people’s posts on politics because if the stance is opposite of mine it’s not like I’m going to be changing any minds or hearts no matter how lucid and educated my rebuttal is.

At this time, I’m really hoping Bernie Sanders will win.  I like pretty much everything he’s said so far and am looking forward to the debate between him and Clinton.  Of course, the tough thing is all politicians can talk a good game but it seems like rarely do things change.  And we, as a country, desperately need a change.

Nose studs unite!

When I was in the hospital after having had Leo, I lost my nose stud somewhere along the way and didn’t notice until after I was home.  I’d thought maybe I would go to a piercing parlor and have them put in new jewelry but it took me awhile to recover and after a couple weeks it seemed like the hole had closed up and I didn’t want to bother with getting it pierced again.  It seemed strange that a piercing I’d had for years would close up so quickly, but whatever.

Fast forward to last night when my niece decided it was time to get *her* nose pierced and she and her mom invited me along.  I decided I would get my nose pierced again, and then decided I wasn’t going to after all (who needs that pain for a third time, right?).  I waffled back and forth the whole afternoon and when we pulled up to the parlor decided I’d get it done after all.  My nose piercing is my one claim to rebelliousness I have left!

We had to wait quite a long time and it was closer to 8pm before they called us back.  They had me on the table first and the apprentice explained that she would set up the materials and place the dot and everything and then the pro would come back to actually do the piercing.  When she heard I’d only had my jewelry out four months she thought maybe the hole was still open.  She use a “hole-finder” needle and was able to get it about halfway through but didn’t want to press her luck.  When the piercer got back there he was all business.  Poking the needle this way and that, then eventually checking out the hole from inside the nostril, then BAM! the needle was through.  Let me tell you, it may not have been an actual piercing but it still smarted pretty good.  They didn’t want to have to pierce me with another hole, they said, because even though my nose will be sore for about a week or so it will stretch and heal MUCH more quickly than a new hole.

I chose a different kind of post than I’ve ever had before, it’s threaded.  Basically the post goes though the hole from inside the nostril until the post pokes out on the outside of the nostril, and it has a hollow tube.  The jewel, or topper, has a solid post and it slides into the tube that’s coming out of the nostril.  It’s different, and I like that I won’t have to constantly be on the lookout for a piece of metal coming out of my nose.  I was always adjusting my nose screw because the curly/bendy part was always moving forward when I would talk or blow my nose or whatever.

Then it was Grace’s turn.  She took it like a champ and was super excited after it was done.  I told her that her mom was pretty cool to let her 12-year-old daughter get a nose piercing.  My mom had problems with my extra earring holes in my ears, let alone giving the okay to do my nose.  Then again, I wasn’t into facial jewelry in those days so it would have been a moot point.  But still!  She ended up getting a threaded piece of jewelry as well.  The nice thing about this is that with a regular nose screw you cannot change it for at least three months.  With the threaded jewelry you can swap out the post the next day, they said, because the main part of the post remains in the nose.  Cool, huh?

nose studs unite!

nose studs unite!

My nose was sore last night and it was hindering me from yawning because every time I’d start to yawn my nostrils would flare and that would hurt and that would break the yawn.  It was so unsatisfying!  Grace and I were lamenting our poor ability to yawn and then Velvet yawned a huge yawn while we were driving home.  She was rubbing it in our faces!  But as of about thirty minutes ago my nose suddenly hurts a lot less and I’ve been able to yawn successfully (and satisfyingly) without pain.  I am still contemplating getting my other side done, but I’m also thinking about getting a lip piercing so I purchased a fake lip ring off eBay to see how I like the look on myself, a try-before-you-buy kind of thing.  We’ll see.  Jesse is not a fan of facial jewelry, so who knows if he’d even still give me smooches if I got one.

I made chicken stock a couple nights ago in the pressure cooker and when I went to strain off the veggies and bones a bit of stock splashed out and hit my stomach.  Holy scalding pain, Batman!  It frickin’ hurt, BAD!  Not more than a splash got on me, but it was enough.  When I checked later, there was a spot the size of a dime on my stomach that was all read and the skin was already peeling off.  The next morning that patch was irritated and after my shower the skin came off completely.  So now I have a lovely scald wound from a dash of a splash.  I’m ruined!  Just kidding.  It’s actually on one of my stretch marks so maybe it’ll get rid of it in that area.

Awhile back Benny’s eye were super red so I took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with pink eye.  We were given eye drops (which Benny hated) and his eyes seemed to get better but then Luca seemed to come down with it.  Took him in, same diagnosis, same meds.  I noticed that both their eyes still seemed red so I called the vet to see if I could get drops for both of them to medicate at the same time.  If it is pink eye, they’ve probably just been trading it back and forth.  They agreed to give me the drops so I’ve been medicating the pups since last Wednesday.  As per usual, Benny did not like the drops.  In fact, he flat-out bared his teeth at me when I attempted it the first time this go round.  However, I’ve learned a couple things recently that has helped me.  Benny doesn’t mind the drops if the bottle isn’t close to his eye!  So, if I hold the bottle above his head and use my left hand to kind of tilt his head up, he will stare at me and let the drop fall in his eye!  So much easier!  Luca, however, doesn’t like it when it’s too far above his head (and I don’t blame him; I’d think the farther away the drop the harder it would hit the eye).  And of course I give them a small treat after each drop.

I changed up the treats because the usual training treats weren’t really holding their fancy for this situation.  I busted out the Fruitables and they seem to really like those.  I bought a variety of flavors and they really enjoy the blueberry flavor.  I barely opened the vanilla and they seem to like that as well.  Of course, maybe their desire for them is because the cookie is larger than the regular training treats, who knows?  I dropped an apple slice on the floor the other day and broke it in half and gave it to them and they just chomped it up.

I’ve read up recently about the benefits of chlorella, so I decided to buy some from Amazon.  It’s a blue-green algae and it’s supposed to bind to metals and help with energy and a whole host of other purported benefits.  I’ve  been adding it to my kefir smoothies the past two days.  It’s too early to tell if I’m experiencing any benefits yet.  I also ordered spirulina but it hasn’t been delivered yet.  Fingers crossed I start to get more energy!