Sometimes, the timing means everything.

☆ August 24, 2015

Ten days ago, I was in California with my grandmother. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know Svensto. And if you know Svensto, you love her. She left earth this weekend. She was 95. She said Sam, my grandfather, had been waiting long enough and she was ready. It’s still hard. One little glimmer: she died in the early morning of August 22nd. My grandfather died in the early morning of August 22, seventeen years ago.

Her life was full of adventure and weirdness and art. She traveled through the Panama Canal three times. She boiled fish eyes for me to play with when I was little (they turn opaque, and bounce). She once knit everyone in the family (nearly 20 individuals) slippers that looked like converse high tops.

I’m reposting one of my favorite stories from her blog here. It takes place in NYC 1943 or 1944. My grandfather had just gone off to war.

He said: Send cigarettes.
Next morning I went to the drugstore I used when I lived in NYC before. I asked the druggist for a carton of Chesterfields. He said “where have you been? Don’t you know there is a shortage of cigarettes?” In Texas I guess we never worried about the shortage for S could get all he wanted at the Post PX. He said “I can’t sell you even a package of Chesterfields. But I have some…” and he mentioned a brand I had never heard of. I said thank you, but no thank you.

And so I laid plans on how to get them. There was a radio program called Thanks to the Yanks. I had heard it in Texas. The emcee asked “Do you want an easy, medium or difficult question?” And if you wanted a difficult one you could win 3000 Camels. So I went to the National Broadcasting Studios where some of my old chums worked and asked if they could get me a ticket for that American Broadcasting program and they said, Sure, no problem. Come back Monday afternoon and we will have it for you. I was there, got my ticket, walked over to Madison Ave and took the seat that was available. It was fairly far back in the audience. And I was not selected to try my hand at competing. But I learned something. All the people who were selected from the audience had something outstanding about their person, either the lady with the red hair, or the gentleman with the mustache. So I knew what to do.

I had a navy blue hat as big as an average garbage can lid. And I knew I had to sit in either the second or third row. I went back to NBC and they said Yes they would get a ticket again. I said I would like to pick it up on Sunday so I could get a front row seat. Monday came around again and I was early and I sat in the third row. I was the first person selected. When I got backstage I had a minor problem. “Was my husband in the Army, Navy or the Marines?” I told them Army. “You know you can’t send anything to an army person unless it is requested?” Yes, I knew that. So I will send the cigarettes to W who was still in Texas. And then I will ask him to keep half of them and mail the other half to me and then I will fake a request.

And so the program started. “Do you want an easy, a medium or a difficult question?” I said “Difficult.” Now everyone, remember I looked like a dumb blonde. People applauded when I dared say that. So the question was “There are three plays on Broadway. One is A Touch of Venus, which comes from Greek Mythology, the second is ??????? which comes from Shakespeare and the third is The Voice of the Turtle. Were does that phrase come from?” My answer: The Bible. Thunderous applause. The Emcee was obviously surprised. “How did you know that?”
“My husband read the Gideon Bible to me on our Honeymoon.”
The applause and laughter increased beyond thunderous.

.  .  .

Click here to visit SVENSTO. I’m so glad so many of her stories, in her own words, are here forever. {I highly suggest reading her blog in chronological order, from first post forward, which you can do via the archive section in her sidebar. Click “2008”, then each month: July, August, etc. and continue moving forward in that manner.}

Wild Sunflowers

☆ July 21, 2015

wild sunflowers

So. I’m continuing to feel better daily, which is great, but man, this is a long recuperation. I feel about 85% back to normal, but 85% is pretty weak when you’re used to running at 125%. I just do not yet have the stamina I’m used to, and feel permanently behind on all fronts. I’ve had to prune so much from my life, for the time being, just to keep from going crazy because I can’t keep up. Like taking my shop offline for a while. Like neglecting this space.

And so, it may stay quiet here on the blog for a few more weeks. Please come visit me on Instagram – I’m posting pictures there regularly. I’ve also added an email notification option to the sidebar (look up and to the right) – just enter your email address and you’ll automatically be notified when I post again here. Thanks for your patience with me!

Wyoming Roads….

☆ July 14, 2015

wyo road

Love Connection

☆ July 1, 2015

Spoiler: Maia and Luna are a happy pair! After two days of using the squeeze chute to allow Luna to nurse safely and easily, it was time to transition to a more natural method – we didn’t want Luna to associate the squeeze chute with food and have that override her instinctual connection with Maia. Though Maia never really kicked at Luna – she favored headbutting – we decided to put the hobbles on Maia as we did last year, in hopes of keeping Maia standing still so Luna could nurse. Straight out of the gate, Maia figured out how to bunny-hop with the hobbles on, taking a step with her front legs and jumping forward with her back legs together. When Luna approached to suckle, Maia pivoted, violently headbutted Luna, and then ran away with her bunny-hops. Maia could cover some serious ground with her bunny-hopping, crossing the entire length of the corral in two seconds flat.

So we took off the hobbles and came up with another contraption to protect Luna from the headbutting. We clipped two horse cinches together with a carabiner, and tied them on Maia behind her shoulders. I then put a halter on Maia, and tied the lead rope to the cinch. Maia could still eat and drink, and get up easily and safely, but she didn’t have the full range of motion to headbutt with any force. Since Maia had never worn tack before, Mike was nervous about an epic protest in the form of bucking and snorting, but that never happened. Instead, she stood calmly beside me like a seasoned saddle horse as I fiddled with the halter and cinch and all the knots. Such a gentle, patient cow! Now we just needed to transfer that patience and trust to her baby.

With this contraption in place, we brought Luna over to Maia, and though Maia no longer whacked Luna with headbutts, she still wouldn’t stand still for Luna to nurse. So Mike took off his shirt and tossed it over Maia’s face. Maia, unable to see anything, stopped moving around, and Luna had her meal. We gave Maia plenty of hay to relax and distract her.


We couldn’t just leave Maia blindfolded, and didn’t trust her with Luna yet. Though Maia could no longer forcefully headbutt, there was still a chance that, if left together, Luna could accidentally get cornered and Maia could really hurt her. So, between meals, we kept them in adjacent sections of the corral, where Luna and Maia could see and hear and smell one another. I cuddled and brushed Luna and gave her some of the physical attention she wasn’t getting from her mother, and we brought them together for meals three times a day. We often found them lying side by side, with just the rail fence between them.

At meal time, either Mike or I (whoever was on duty) would toss a flannel shirt over Maia’s face and tie the arms under her chin, and open gates for Luna, who would run to Maia and plug onto a teat. As the days went by, we began taking the flannel off Maia midway through Luna’s nursing sessions and observe Maia’s behavior – sometimes she’d get antsy and angry and we’d put the flannel back on; sometimes, she’d stand calmly and nuzzle Luna. We began leaving them together after meal time and watching their behavior, and, once we felt we could trust Maia not to hurt Luna, we left them together overnight. The next morning, I walked down to the corral at first light and caught them in the act – Maia was standing calmly, of her own volition, as Luna nursed. Hooray! It just took a little darkness and time, patience and creativity, and trust in love.

In other news ~

I will be taking my Shop offline tonight (July 1) for all of July and much of August. If you would like to stock up on presents, prints, elk antler chew toys, books, or special stones, today is your last chance!

I will be delivering Star Brand Beef to Denver! Delivery will be Friday, August 14th and ordering will be open till mid-July.

The baby chicks have turned into mini chickens….
mini chicken

Mini Freezers + Last Week To Order!

☆ June 23, 2015

Star Brand Beef
Howdy, All ~
This is the last week to place orders for Star Brand Beef!
All orders must be in by June 30.

I’ve heard from many who would like to order but don’t have room to store a quarter beef. There is a solution! Have you heard of mini chest freezers? These babies are just a bit bigger than a mini dorm fridge and are perfect for storing a quarter beef. And they can be had for less than $200. Mike’s daughter has one in her apartment, and friends of mine have one in their cottage kitchen. They are so great, small enough to fit into tight spaces, large enough to store a quarter beef (and summer berries or other miscellanea).

HERE is a selection of mini chest freezers from Home Depot, and HERE is a selection from Amazon. Retailers near you may have additional options.

Freezers that are 5 cubic feet will store a quarter beef.
Freezers that are 3.5 cubic feet will store half a quarter beef (if you split a quarter with a partner in dine) with some room to spare.

These mini chest freezers are an excellent option if you’ve been wanting to buy healthy, humanely-raised beef in bulk. The pricing of my beef is consistent with supermarket feedlot beef, but it is so much better for you, for the animals, and for the environment. My pricing of $6.50/lb hanging weight calculates to right around $9/lb packaged weight. This means all prime steaks are $15/lb and burger, roasts, ribs, and stew meat are all $6/lb. This is an enormous savings over retail for grass-finished, GMO-free, nutrient-rich pastured beef – the last time I was in Whole Foods, rib steaks were $27/lb and burger was $8.50/lb. And the convenience of having a year’s worth of meat at your fingertips is delectable.

One week left to order Star Brand Beef for August delivery.
Click HERE for all delivery and ordering information and HERE to reserve your beef!

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