Random Critter Post

PICT4889Jack has seen skunks before and is wise to their ways.  He learned the hard way, of course.  Mrs J has an excellent odor killing remedy.


DSC_4225 [1600x1060]We often see wasps at the nectar feeders but this is the first time I’ve seen this many honeybees at one.  First time I’ve seen this many honeybees in a long time, actually.  I wonder if they are a new swarm looking for a nest site and stopping by the feeder on their way.DSC_4204 [1600x1060]I think they just call an assembly of turkeys a flock, but a swarm would work.  Or a congress.  That one may already be taken.IMG_2973 (1600x1200)Here’s the male of a brother and sister pair of terrier mix puppies.  IMG_2958 (1600x1200)And the sister.  Mrs J said the previous owner took ill and was put into a nursing home by his kids.  They turned the dogs loose.  They were picked up by a neighbor and kept until the shelter had an opening.  They are leash trained and housebroken, their meds are up to date, and they will be spayed and neutered.IMG_2983 (1600x1200)Here’s a kitteh, one of those that were part of the colony that came down with a respiratory illness.  A visit to the St Francis Facebook page will yield more info on the dogs and cats. IMG_2939 (1600x1200)And a quick update on the ongoing Katie integration project.  Here she is with Bea kitteh and Annie, the Brittany Princess.  She loves her some Mrs J but would prefer to not be in the same room with me, unless I have a treat in hand.  She is coming into the kitchen to eat with the other dogs but she is still quick to run away if anything isn’t quite right.  She is eager for her walks, still always on a leash.  I have no idea whether or when Mrs J will let her out without it.  She will make that call.DSC_6914 [1600x1060]Mmm… biscuits and sausage gravy.  These biscuits are another success for this recipe.  I fold the dough over on itself several times while kneading it, makes for a nice flaky, layered biscuit.20130918_164650 [1600x1060]Jack doesn’t get much exposure so here he is with an expression I will make no attempt to characterize.


DSC_3805 [1600x1200]She has recovered from her surgery without any complications.  She still acts afraid of me most of the time.  She did come to me when I got out of bed this morning, as though she really needed someone to take her outside to pee.  We had a successful outing.  Mrs J is usually her go to “business” partner.DSC_3799 [1600x1200]Here’s Jack, atop the sofa in front of the open window.  The other dogs are slowly warming to Kate.  Jack has been the slowest to thaw but he no longer seems as resentful.  He has growled at her a few times.PICT2711 [1600x1200]


DSC_4955 [1600x1200]Made some chili with some of the latest chorizo, plus a little ground beef.  I started out with pinto beans and chunks of cured ham and kept adding chili paste until I decided to take the ham out and thaw the sausage since it was becoming more chili than hambeans.IMG_0823 [1600x1200]I’m not sure what Mrs J was intending and I am sure Annie had the same thought.  She’s feeling better, now.  Buddy and Homer were having a little nap.  Buddy woke, probably fearing the return of the mad hatter.IMG_0543 [1600x1200]Alas, I have to report that Katie, the dog that Mrs J brought in for a home visit, has escaped and is loose.  Fortunately she is staying close.  We put out food that she will come to the patio to eat, and Mrs J has placed a doggie bed in the garage that she has been sleeping on.  She just will not let us approach.IMG_0888 [1600x1200]She ran out the door Monday morning as I was holding it open for Mrs J to enter after a trip to town.  Sigh.  We bought a live trap, hoping to lure her in with some tasty food.  She proved to be smarter than Buddy.DSC_3304 [1600x1200]Or Jack.IMG_0891 [1600x1200]


Jack – photo from Sun Pony Ranch

Today was my second lesson on Jack and he’s really stolen my heart. He’s a gentle, strong, strong-headed mount and he suits me to a t.  Here’s the description from Sun Pony Ranch:

Jack is level-headed and easy-going as long as he is with other horses. However, he is insecure when away from the herd and needs a rider with confidence to help instill it in him when riding alone. He does need someone who can give clear and strong commands with their aids because he is easily confused and unwilling to do what might be the wrong thing. When he is out of his comfort zone, he can be headstrong and difficult to ride. Jack is not a natural jumper and is still learning to do low jumps. On the ground he is very sweet and easy to work with except sometimes he will test his handler with picking his hooves.

He’s a great teaching horse. Near the end of the lesson, we were to trot through the obstacle course. Jack knew I was tired and my head was not in the game. He was fine through the obstacle course…at a walk. I could not get him to trot, no matter what I tried. Which was fine for both of us. Next week I’ll be more focused and we’ll take it at a full trot.

In other W4DS news, LFern ran an idea by me that has me excited and as we go along, if we decide to pursue it, I’ll keep you informed, it could be fun.

Also starting this week, I think I’m going to take my posts back to some basics because I’m feeling, with the questions I’ve been fielding, we could all be stronger in them. More on that tomorrow. Until then…

Thursday Night Exchange: Green Chili Mac ‘n Cheese

Here’s a truly western version of macaroni and cheese.  A version like this was served at the Colorado Governor’s Inaugural Dinner last year – although I’m sure it had only premium ingredients.

I used canned chilies, pickled jalapeno (my fave anyway) and a tomatillo salsa.  For real Green Chili, try IndiLibs, it sounds amazing.

Green Chili Macaroni and Cheese

  • 8 ounces dry elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup green salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
  • 4 ounce can mild chopped green chile peppers
  • 1 tbsp (or more) finely chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, about 2 cups
  • 4 oz hot pepper Jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

2 qt baking dish, oiled and saucepan

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in flour until well blended and bubbly. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in salsa, chile peppers, and 6 oz of cheddar and all of the Jack cheese. Cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper. Combine with the drained macaroni; spoon into the prepared baking dish. Spread remaining cheddar cheese over the top of the baking dish.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese bubbly and top is lightly browned.

Yes, our puppy is learning!

We were amused, seeing this picture last month, that Jack had learned his lesson about approaching skunks and being all barky.

Reviewing last night’s take from the feedercam we were gobsmacked.

Not by the skunk being present.  Skunks are regular visitors at the feeder.  No, it was the next picture that did it.

It looks as if Jack and the skunk have reached an understanding.  We are hoping that news of this detente is transmitted throughout the land, until every skunk in the county knows that Jack is, if not a real pal, also not a threat.