Monday, August 24, 2020

Restaurant Chez Jamie

 Last semester just about killed me. 

 It wasn't supposed to be that rough: two classes, Accounting II and Information Systems.  I recall asking my advisor if the classes were the same in the Summer since the semester was much shorter.  "Oh yes.  Why don't you take more classes?". Blessed be the voice in my head that said no.  Longer daylight hours means it's always harder for me to stop working in the Summer, so I knew my evenings would be condensed. Turns out the classes are compressed, literally twice as much homework material crammed in every week.  I was taking the equivalent of 4 classes.

 And rarely getting home before 8 PM.  9 PM to 4 AM study sessions were the norm, with no time to cook, I was living mostly off peanut butter and boiled chicken (what I make for the dogs every few days).

For the two weeks between semesters, I transformed my kitchen into Ground Zero.  My goal:  to have healthy, balanced meals available for lunch and supper from the first day of class, August 17th until the last exam December 5th.  And go:

Choosing and making out grocery lists took two evenings.

Then the work began in earnest.  Every night until the wee hours of the morning.  My love for food outstrips my need for sleep.  One must have homemade fig preserves on hand for Fall semester.

Chicken and sausage pomodoro.

The vacuum sealer kept humming.  I cooked enough barley, wild rice, brown rice and quinoa for an army.  Complex carbs checked off the list.  

More green coffee beans from El Salvador roasted.

Homemade dough for the chicken pot pies and peach pies.

Be still my beating heart.

I'ze gonna be so fat by Christmas!!!

Breakfast wasn't neglected.  Whole wheat zucchini breads, ginger loaves, massive amounts of pancakes cooked and individually sealed in portions.

And don't forget desserts!

Of course, one must sample each dish before freezing.

Chilis, soups, stews.

And just like that, my refrigerator freezer and chest freezer are slap full.  Since the start of classes this week, I've enjoyed browsing through the inventory list posted on the side of the freezer.  My very own Chez Jamie menu.

Hungarian goulash with chocolate cherry cake one night.  I think tonight I feel like poached salmon in coconut milk.  Check out the new dishes I have to serve myself.

I've started a new tradition of rewarding myself with a present after successful semesters.  I'd been following Rebecca Kahan's work for a while and saving up.  This is what he had on hand at her workshop in Israel, the rest should follow in a few weeks.

Summer semester results rolled in My 4.0 GPA earned me another citation from the University president.  And the Head of the School of Accounting has offered to become my student advisor.  Fall semester will be tricky: 5 business classes.  I can't decide which one I hate the most at this point.  Probably Corporate Finance followed by Marketing. 

During the break, I took advantage of a neighbor.  Yes, royally abused him.  He's in between jobs and mentioned he could bush hog.

We cleared all, I mean all the trails, felled a lot of trees and cut every single bit of the 40 miles of trails here.  Add to that all the irritating million jobs that I'd been picking away at for months... all done.  

What a two weeks it has been. Oh, I didn't tell you about the hay... Thanks to covid, it was looking as though we wouldn't get our timothy hay from Tennessee this year.  A challenge you say?

Bring it.

Solution.  We get it ourselves. Jordan and Kyle drove 26 hours straight to get our hay.

Unloaded 460 bales upon their return.

Every time I take my foot off the gas pedal, I start to feel sick to my stomach.  Life for me, is meant to be lived pedal to the metal.  I'm grateful neighbors...and my dogs, put up with me.

I haven't even had a chance to tell you about my family from Texas who came to visit, the new dog or the bees I've had for 6 months.  But, those are stories for another day.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Unsung Heroes

To me, heroes are those who do the little things, day after day.  Grand, epic gestures are nice, but it takes grit and devotion to be the hero in the shadows.
A few weeks ago, I noticed Peter wasn't himself.  Then, his chauffeur noticed, then his therapist mentioned he was unenthusiastic.  

And that's when my angels mobilized.

Our Dr. Brown answered the mayday call and made a house visit to see her patient and draw blood for testing. It's not every vet who'll drop what she's doing when you text that your 14 year old dog is lethargic and morose.
Lisa, who had also noticed the change, made sure to give him extra lovings during his voyages to Auburn for physiotherapy.

On top of the overabundance she  usually gives her little old man...
It was 7 years ago when Cole began his long journey to recovery after surgery.

I'd take him every day until he was 100% again.  Then for years, we kept going a couple times a week for maintenance. The head physiotherapist, Liz, puts her heart into everything she does.  Cole would not have returned to a full life of trail running and hunting squirrels if it hadn't been for Liz.  
And Peter is equally lucky to have her in his life.

And he know it.

To try to get Peter out of his funk, folks dropped by to share snacks with him and a former physiotherapy intern visited with him via Facetime.  Beat that for devotion.
On his day off, our resident farm vet, Cristian, had Peter over for a play date with his dog, Vicky.

Peter started getting ice cream treats .

When all his blood work came back normal and a diagnosis of depression was tentatively made, I thanked Peter for making me think he was dying of cancer, and decided that perhaps keeping Peter indoors during the scorching hot Alabama days maybe wasn't a favor to him after all.

A sentiment he shared twice by digging a hole in my new $1400 mattress and shredding sheets and mattress of the guest bed.  I hear ya, buddy.

Back to work like the rest of us then..

Who knew he'd prefer 100'F temps to sitting on a couch in air conditioning!

Lesson across the species:  sitting on a couch leads to depression.  Sometimes you have to be coerced, forced and shoved, but get out there and grab life by the you-know-whats.

Heather, Peter's other chauffeur took this picture this week.  I swear he's smiling again.
Huge shout out to all of our angels.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Farm Team Versus Murphy


His severe asthma has plagued him this Summer.  Relentlessly.

Another older horse, Titan, has an air conditioned stall for use from noon to 9 PM.  One manifestation of his Cushing's disease is that Titan can't sweat above approx 88'F.  Wouldn't take much to kill him in beautiful, sultry, hellish Summer in Alabama. 

In the mornings, Cody had been using the Ice Box, as we call it, to give his lungs a break from outdoor allergens.  But, his inflamed lungs struggle to cope in the afternoons when the heat indices are above 100'. Tuesday evening, he suffered another asthma attack.  I gave him his third breathing treatment for the day and swapped him for Titan in the Ice Box until he was stable around 11 PM.

Farm Team mobilized the next morning.

By afternoon, Cody had his own Ice Box. We scavenged insulation from my chicken coop, a corral panel and bits and pieces from the shop.  Todd made it work.

It had been Adjanie's idea to transform the wash bay.  I was ready to lay plastic down in the office and bring him indoors that way.

Blessed be the Farm Team helping me combat Murphy and his Laws. 

Safe and breathing quietly.  We are Farm Team.  This is what we do and who we are.