Behold, The Underwearer

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Christmas Vacation … filled with many hours in front of the screen.  You can create your very own, personalised characters on ye ol’ xbox.  Otto created “the underwearer.”  A meany that carries a sword wearing nothing but his underwear.  I suppose the Brit equivalent would be the “pantser.”

Lumi snugs by the fire because it’s cold and he needs to warm his pillows.IMG_1003

I’m not sure what Brent is laughing at, but judging by his face, it was perty darn funny.  Or maybe it’s because Glinda, The Good Witch of the North, is about to land on his Seahawks beanie.  Or maybe the Seahawks are crushing whatever team they are crushing…

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The sun came out today, thankfully.  The hose drained well.

Z blew some bubbles.  The retrievers followed.  And jumped.

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Bubbles flew high or was it more Glinda.

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And jump and bounce and blow.  Simple ingredients for vacation boredom breakup.IMG_1031

It’s Getting A Bit Coldy

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At last the freeze has arrived.  We’ve been laughing all through autumn and winter in t-shirts, not lighting the fire waiting for the cold to arrive.  I planted the garlic and shallots on time and they are very confused.

The herd is on Nebraska and Yukon.  We pimp hose out to them.  Now if it’s freezy, Brent drains the hose at night to make sure the water will flow the next day when the sun starts shining.IMG_0972

Lumi oversees the hose drain.IMG_0978

Brent filled a back-up bowl in case the hose didn’t drain properly … in the dark.  That’s Roques in the corner.  That’s Brent with the spotlight, losing his direction.  Oh no, I’ve said too much.  Bad R.E.M. joke aside,  he walked back and the water worked out well today.IMG_0986

Arrived just in time for a Nerf dart blaster war.  Oh, it was on.
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And today, new stock arrived.  They arrived in this.  What a great vehicle for transporting animals.  Simple, reliable, able to fix the engine without a computer.IMG_0993

Brent Spilled The Beans

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Someone, we’ll call him “Joshua,” sent us beans for our new ( used ) coffee grinder.  We gave them a go.  Brent poured them in the hooba-joob.  It went a bit crazy so some beans escaped into the post-grind dispenser.  Don’t worry, we spent a few minutes herding the beans back to their paddock and we carried on.

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Zelie was our barista today.  Sassy, so keep your order straight.  Don’t give her any lip.

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First shot was great in taste, but needed more tweaking with the grind.  After a sip, we tipped it into the coffee ice cream bucket.  Great for coffee ice cream, not perfect for espresso shot drinking. Another tweak with the grind.

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We really love the flavor.  Maybe because it’s from England.  Maybe because it was a gift.  But really, I think the coffee was genuinely lovely.

( partial eclipse of the shot )

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Brent decided it was time to try a latte.  That’s when the crema really shined.  Perfect shot.

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He’s a “flat white” man, but for the camera, he did a bit of froth.  A “flat white” is an Australian coffee for a person who doesn’t want all the sprinkles and froth.

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Brent demonstrates his coffee art.  We never know what he’s going for.  It’s a mystery.

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The final product often ends up as a scorpion or a Shmoo ( I’ll let you look that up ).  It’s like reading tea leaves.  Today was a Shmoo.

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Latte sips and Cadbury chocolate, things are right in this world.  Thanks again, “Joshua!”

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For Christmas Dinner, A Capon

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A cock without balls.  Grows fast because “he” has nothing to defend.  Salmon, mashed potatoes and peas is what we have each year.  But we aren’t in Seattle anymore.  Salmon is not cheap and not available in December.  We tried a chapon this year.  Available everywhere at a good price.

Advised by James Beard, it came out okay.  Juicy and yummy.  I’ll need to try the chapon a few times  before I get my groove.

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Served with mash and peas and veg, things turned out allright.

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Z found Otto’s Nerf glasses

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and she worked it

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and worked it

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she is

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did you notice the mini cans of Coke served with swirly straws?

Hot Head

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Still marching through the grass.  What a great year!  Unseasonably warm.IMG_0766

Christmas is approaching and the kids are crazy.  Full of energy.  Full of short attention spans.  Full of steamed almond milk.  The herd is way more patient.  They are enjoying their daily meals.  Both kids and cows.IMG_0764

Otto enjoys the odd hot head.  These candies are not hot actually.  They are sour.  Growing up in San Diego, I know hot candy.  This is not that.IMG_0771

But your tongue turns blue.IMG_0772

Christmas Photo Extras

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I don’t send out family Christmas letters.  The kids don’t believe in Santa.  If we happen upon a family photo, we don’t primp for it.  Today is the shortest day of the year.  Today was the sunniest it has been all month.  I called out the kids and dogs for a group shot.  It wasn’t easy.

It started like this.IMG_0685

Then a bit of this.IMG_0717

LIke herding Curtis’.  We had some of this.  Come on everyone.  Quick quick!  Everyone in the photo now.  For Grandma and Nana.  I’ll give you candy.  Hurry up now!IMG_0709

Amazing year that 2014.  Otto fights with Minty every morning.  Jean gained a bit of weight.  Brent started drinking coffee again.  Lucy has discovered the “half shirt.”  Minty whistles John Cage tunes.  Zelie sneaks candy and blames Minty.  Jiggy chews vintage shoes.  Lumi barks at mud.  Chorale tests the dog fence.  Bug meows at air.  Cheesepoof hasn’t caught a mouse since August.  The beef tastes great.  The cows are well fed.  The chickens keep chucking out the eggs.  Our fences need work.  We have a new espresso machine.

Bring on 2015.  Hope your holiday is full of giggles.

family photo 2013

Party aCountdown To Friday

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Tomorrow concludes the week before the kids begin vacation. All things conclude with a party.  Each individual thing concludes with a party.  With the kids and other activities, there are a lot of parties.

A sudden onset of accounting class, a beef sale, annual meat plans, cow moves, kids shuffling … the most difficult part was the hunt-and-peck of the AZERTY. Nothing says “party” like an azerty keyboard.  I power-fisted a “yeah!” after coding a receipt correctly on an azerty to the sound of accountants laughing.  Accountants Laughing is code “cricket cricket”  short form CC. [VALIDER]

The herd finished munching through  Colorado 2.  There is a lot of grass and alfalfa there.  They are very content indeed.

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I had a big salad with Sauce Secret Gascogne.  IMG_0622The herd moved up to Colorado.  They were motivated and calm.  They transitioned from alfalfa and grass to pure grass with speedy munchiness.

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We are watching a few mums that will have fall births.  No calves yet.IMG_0625

The espresso fairy arrived and his handy plumbing friend.IMG_0597

We had another casualty of play.  This soldier had a great life of Barbie meets Monster Polly Petshop games.  His smile says it all.IMG_0621

Crugs.  I don’t want to talk about it.  No.  IMG_0613

No name yet, but our productivity has increased 111%.  A little kick in the arse after lunch and things are getting done.IMG_0603

It has been nice to be social.  It has been nice to gain more understanding of the bidness.  It will be nice to go back to the kids home getting into things and no more shopping.  I’d rather work and play.  Work breaks down to learn and play.  Learn and play and play which you could tidy up as work2(play).  Code that as a 6046 and you can write that off.IMG_0609

Bingo For One

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Playdate palooza today.  All the kids were away playing with friends except Z.  A position she uses to her advantage.  Brent was busy working on the farm.  I bought a red pen.  I made cheesy toasties and she played Bingo by herself while I sorted out  the accounts.  She also deconstructed some toy cars and put them back together again.IMG_0569

While the numbers were called out and checked by Z and me, we observed a full compliment of farm pets.  Snugged in by Fremont the woodburner.  A beautiful sight.  We’re happy tonight.  Living in a chilly Gascon land.IMG_0560

Comptabilité For The French

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We are putting effort into our accounts to gain more understanding, familiarity and annual patterns of our business.  It’s so easy to chuck it off to the man and pay the fee.  I want to know what is going on, line by line.  Our accountants offer classes to teach you the French way of agri-accounting as well as their software that makes this happen.

I had a meeting and lesson today on Accounting that I completely lost sight of because I was busy catching up on my soap operas and tending to my nails.  One voicemail, a returned call and I was off to Auch.  Brent held the collective noun of Curtis’.   I arrived late and unprepared.

Unprepared for the lesson.  But more unprepared for the herd of laptops resting on the conference table.  I haven’t felt a meeting coming on in years.  All the cords and electricity.  How are they feeding this troupeau?  I pulled out my tiny notebook and a pen.

Madame: “Avez-vous un ordinateur portable? ” (Do you have a laptop?)

Me: Uh….. non.  Does your software work on Mac?

Madame: ” Uh…. non”

I am no stranger to French Accounting.  Each year, I squish French Farm Tax into an American Farm Tax form.  A duty I must fulfill as an American citizen abroad.  It’s a painful experience accented with lots of ” why?!  why?! WHY DO THEY CARE?? ”  It gets done and after, I open a local Madiran at noon to air in time for dinner.

I learned a few things and then had to run.  I was the only one in the room with four young children and a beef sale happening tomorrow.

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I ran into some traffic.  Weird.  I’ve been to Auch many times during lunch, but this seventeen-o-clock crew, they wanted to get home and honk to tell you why.  My Skoda met the bus on a narrow village road in Auch.  Le bus drove down the hill at me.  When the road was no longer big enough for the two of us, it kept on coming.  With nowhere to run to, baby, I saw a sidewalk ramp.  I drove the right-side of the car on the sidewalk and passed the bus.  Conveniently, there was an off-ramp just after passing the bus.  Other cars followed my move.  A move spontaneously created from Bodie and Doyle and too much Professionals.  After the passing, I think that is why the bus kept moving ahead.  He saw the ramps and knew I would know what to do.

The cows crossed the road to some more alfalfa.  The alfalfa that keeps on giving.  Oh they are loving it.

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And Mr. Pewbz is looking fantastic.IMG_0541

Grasspunk Rhyming Slang ( GRS )  Mr. Probz == Mr. Pubz ( prounounced Mr. Pewbz )  named so because his general genital area is white and the rest of him is black.  Drifting away…

Cows In The Yards Today

farmer brentThis an old shot.  A pic when I was about ready to birth that Z baby and we arrived on the farm and the cows that were on the farm were not ours.  Off those cows went and we quickly acquired a herd of cattle piece by piece that met our standards.  That guy in the photo above has realised what he just signed up for.  His wife included.  Okay, we are going to do this.

Our first night.  It felt very much like we were squatting in a house that wasn’t ours.
the mess
The next morning was glorious.   The kids ran around like the sound of music.
the first morning
Minty rode her bike.
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So energetic considering we chucked them into their new life at a really dark hour.

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Brent had a very rare beer.  In our very rarely tidy “mess.”a long drivethe herd came in today and did allright.  I forgot my camera because my four-year-old tossed a tanty of unmeasurable measures.  So, mince on Thursday.  Don’t spread it around.  We want to keep some for the family.