I Love It When Guests Come and Then F Off


I love living here. When people come out to visit, I love that they love being here. It’s not that it justifies our lifestyle. No. It’s that they can sit back and relax. Listen to the birds. Be a little cold. Pee in a blue toilet that is slightly broken. Try to find cellphone coverage and fail. Love the cheese. Love the beef. Go for a run. Think. Enjoy the sun.


It’s calf central at the moment. The little guys are coming in steady and healthy. Brent and guest, we’ll call him “Josh,” went to move the cows. All is well, but they are double checking the calf count. An important part of raising cattle that may not come up at a meeting about software. Though sometimes you need to search for a problem and you can’t find it. With cows, mama will call for baby. Baby will come running. In software, you could be there for days searching for things. There is no Mama code mooing it all in. Unless, of course, you write in mama moo code.

More importantly, the retrievers have a veau pied frozen ( too get those extra moments of chew ). The sun is shining. I sat a lot today and I’m totally bragging about that. I think I shall sit some more and then make omelettes.


This poor guest doesn’t realize that it’s time to chop the crap out of the blackberries in Emerson. The kids are back to school tomorrow, so it’s time to get back to project infrastructure. I think a lunch out is in order and a few tears shed missing the bubbles that have made noise for two weeks. Tomorrow, they will be off to school.


Three Men And A Hilux

three men and a hilux

It started off as wood chopping and ended with a discussion around the Hilux.  I’m not sure what they were chatting about.  But boys, ahem men, do this.  They chat around heavy machinery, cattle, deep holes, tunnels and a classic pick-up truck.

I think they’re still there.  I wonder if the wood was chopped… I’m getting cold.

Egg Without A Shell


Cage without a Ragondin.

… see also Coypu / Nutria / big ass rat

Sometimes, when you are after the rodents, you catch a cat or a chicken.  Silly GrayCute


Kids without school.

We are on the verge of Lord of the Flies.  Hold on to your pillows, your paper towels, your patience … they have hit eleven.


Book without a cat.

Fat Cat sat on a mat and she was so lovely. This book is on kid number four.  We still work hard finding the secret ducks.


Palombe without a nest.

Otto ran in demanding a camera.  I thought he wanted to take a photo of his “cake or death” stand.  No, he wanted to capture pigeons on the roof.


Egg without a shell.

Otto found this perfect egg without a shell.  It felt and looked like our very own gummy egg, but there was the whole egg thing inside.  And no glucose, so without salt and pepper, I can’t imagine this beauty being all that tasty.  We have been advised to give ‘er a poach.

Eyes Without A Face:

The Best Dressed Chicken In Town


I’m working my way through the ‘b’ list on the iPod. The Dr. Alimantato is in.  I am guessing this was a “best of” edition.  He gave us, “The Best Dressed Chicken In Town” today.  Which while cooking zee Fritons, I thought of Darryl.  Above is Darryl ( he has another brother Darryl.  Together they are Darryl and my other brother Darryl ).

Way back in the day, okay before Z was born, I ran rogue chickens.  I didn’t mean to run rogue chickens.  It’s that we were starting this grass-fed thing and the kids and the whole baby deal … the chooks were left with a daily trip by me with food and water.  The rest was them doing their thing.  Everything went well, but there were a few chooks taken away by predators.  Those chooks were red or white.  The black girls, stayed forever.  We still have them.  Hearty girls.  When it came time to buy thirty chickens, I recommended the black ones.  I have yet to lose a black hen ( unless they are young and fly straight into a window because a stupid puppy said so ).  We’ll see how black and white speckled girl goes.


Darryl is very handsome. I’d say the best dressed chook in town. The other cockerels are nice and all. OH and they do their job, but Darryl has that strut. He looks after his girls.

I have no idea what the Jamaican reference to “best dressed chicken” might be, so let’s leave it as it is written. The tune is fabulous for this warm winter we are experiencing.

The cows are in and grazing Nebraska. Happy cows.


Extra bonus should you read this far …


This gem is mounted securely in the workshop. I’m not sure what we walk away with given this message. I feel like maybe some sunglasses or some sunscreen or maybe sitting in the sun in a mumu. Oh look! sun! I’m on it.  It’s naturelle!

You Got Your Electrons, Your Protons and Your Fritons

Girl On Grill Action

searching for fritons

Making Fritons today.  These are lovely, crunchy ducky bits.  They are the Gascon version of Chicharrón.  Duck skin and fat leftover from your gorgeous duck butchering boiled in fat.
hot vat of duck fat

I’ve not done Fritons before.  I asked our local duck farmer extraordinaire how to cook them.   She said, “just cook the shit out of them.” … but it was in French and I’m sure she said something more elegant and less American.
ducky bits

Once these little crunchies become crunchy, I’ll slot them out with a spoon and salt.  Fritons are a great snack that will keep you going until dinner.

WKRP electron, proton, neutron ref:

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Bodie. It’s Alive!

Girl On Grill Action

kitchen benchtop

After much pressure from my husband, I finally created life with him other than human.  This is Bodie.  He is our sourdough starter.  Below, you can see he has just been fed.  He will bubble and froth soon.

Bodie, our sourdough starter

A ladle of this fermented beast mixed with flour, salt, duck fat and warm water will bring sourdough joy to serve with many things.

Zélie did the advanced dry pour, I added water.  We stretched and kneaded for five minutes or so.  After, we did some loaves.

she likes to whisk

It runs something like this:

  • A kilo of flour
  • 25 g of salt
  • A big scoop of duck fat
  • 600ml of water
  • A ladle of Bodie ( or your Bodie equivalent )

Mix it in and do the stretchy knead thing.  Things will be sticky.  This was a rye loaf so only needs one rising.  From here, make your loaves.  After a few hours, bake…

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Evening Cow Move


Brent  moved the cows this evening.  He was going to do it tomorrow, but there is grass and we are finishing those steers.  The cows were totally cool.  They follow him calmly wherever he walks.  Sure if you have a cow or two following you … seems cool, but to have a herd of a mix of 0,1,2 and the rest-year-olds following you, it can be intimidating … if you are me ( it wasn’t me, but maybe me someday.  no, it was him and he wasn’t intimidated.  But look at those horns! ).  He wandered off to grab the water dish before he did the move.  I stood by the gate distracting them with jokes about chickens so they wouldn’t follow him.  They were a great audience.  That steer was snickering, “to get to the other side … ha!moo!  of course! good one!!”



Everyone went through nicely.  One mother cow showed the new calves the routine.



They munched away.  The sun began to set.  And then Glenda the Good Witch arrived with her daughter.



I helped with the water and failed.  I lost a doohickey.  Thankfully Brent corrected my ways and I learned something new about crazy water connectors.



I wore my best shoes for the occasion and stepped in some fresh merde.



Speaking of merde, this is old poo from the last (ish) graze.  Most of the pats have been splattered about by birds, chickens, worms or beetles.  This one wasn’t.



This is fresh poo. To you, poo.  To us, fertility and future grass density.



What I find interesting is the gorgeous grass that is left untouched when the cows run through.  To me, that looks fantastic!  Such green!  Such length!  To a cow, they smell something too fresh or too intense to munch.  You’ll notice everything else has been munched like a lawn mower.