Thursday, May 27, 2010

Do YOU Have a Wedgie?

Are YOU looking at ME?
Look what the stork dropped off at the ranch Saturday!  This leggy little bundle of joy (plus piss & vinegar!)  He's quite the cutie with an attitude to boot. 

As usual, a rather contrary mare decided that it would be great to have the baby while no one was anywhere around.  Dad had called me early that morning saying he thought she might foal at any time.  He had plans out of town that he couldn't get out of and since I was headed to my soap class, baby watch fell to Mr. MoonCat.   Wedgie is the mare's first foal, so we were concerned that she might have difficulty.  We're very grateful that she proved us all very wrong. 
About 4 hours old.
Mr. MoonCat, my brother-in-law, and our nephew checked on the horses shortly after Dad had left the ranch.  He was so excited when he called me! It was a real treat for him to be the one to discover the little rascal, especially since Dad hadn't been gone very long.  The mare has turned out to be an excellent mama.  (I call her "CB" because the men all call her "Crazy B***h" as she can be pretty nasty at times.  I personally think it's because she just doesn't like the menfolk, just my own opinion of course!) 

CB living up to her name
The photo above may look like she's being nasty to me, but you can't see from this angle that there is a gelding hanging his head over the back fence of the pen.  She hates this particular horse and was spinning around to snap at him.  She's very protective of the little Wedge!

My mama loves me
For those of you wondering, "Wedgie" is definitely not his registered name.  His mother's facial markings are called "piebald".  When the hubby called me to tell me about the colt, he kept saying that he was a half-piebald.  There's no such thing that I've ever heard of, so I couldn't quite picture what he was telling me.  When I finally got to the ranch, I told the guys that the little dude was cheated.  He didn't get a whole pie, he just got a wedge!  So that coupled with the fact that this is going to be one TALL horse who will give people wedgies - or at least split their drawers; has caused the name Wedgie to stick. 

All of our horses have nicknames that many times have nothing to do with their registered names.  Our stallion, Sunday Sailor answers me when I call him "Booger".  My mare, Cinderella Sox answers to "Blondie Bear".  So it's not often that you'll be able to figure out their papered name by what we're actually calling them.  Their registered names are usually based on their bloodlines.  To officially name Wedgie, we will probably come up with some combination/variation of the papered names of both the mare and the stallion. 

I'm thinking we might just run a little contest here on the blog to see who can come up with an appropriate and "proper" name for the little cutie.  What do you think???

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Soapy Saturday

Soaps by Justine Crane
This past Saturday was full of good, clean fun and learning!  My sister-in-law Cindy and I went to a Botanical Soap Making Class taught by Justine Crane of Oh True Apothecary and The Scented Djinn.  For those of you who have been with me for a while, you'll remember the Natural Perfumery class of hers that I enjoyed so much last August  (read about it  here: What a Workshop!)

The soap class was held again at the Intermountain Nursery.  We were out on the patio/potting shed area.  While it's a beautiful spot out there and ideal for the classes, we were unseasonably COLD!  Leading up to the weekend we were worried we'd be overly warm as the previous weekend was in the 90s (as is usual).  We were treated to a record-breaking 57 degrees for May 22nd.  It had been 112 years since that record was challenged!  Thankfully, the nursery had a fire pit made from an old washing machine tub (I should have taken a photo - it was really neat) and a propane heater shown below. 

Cindy melting cocoa butter over the propane heater
There were 11 students eager to learn the correct methods from Justine on making cold process soap.  Since it involves lye, Justine emphasized following proper safety procedures at all times.  We were all wearing long-sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and breathing masks.  Safety first!  (Cindy is planning on procuring us the long white lab coats to complete our look for our next soap making adventure)

Cindy, aka the mad scientist
We learned the best natural ingredients to use and the reasons or benefits of each.  Justine also discussed and showed us the proper tools and equipment to have on hand.  She took us step by step through the process and allowed us to each be as hands-on as we wanted.  Everyone got to take a turn in some part of the creation of our soap. 

Pouring in the lye
Measuring out yummy smelling coconut oil

One of my favorite parts was the blending of the scent.  We broke up into teams to create top, heart, and base notes from the essential oils.  Cindy and I were responsible for the top note.  We used bergamot (yum, Earl Grey tea....), lime, and a bit of lemon.  Very clean and fresh smelling!  The other teams mixed up the heart and base notes and then we combined them all together.  It turned out to be an amazing scent.

Testing the scents
After all of the measuring, blending, and experimenting with some color,  this:
Oils, butters & lye
Became this:

Our almost finished product!
The class was everything I had hoped it would be.  Being shown how to do something and getting to be hands-on really makes a difference in learning some things for me.   I'd been reading about making this type of soap for years but was leery of trying it - mostly due to the lye and a few questions I had that went unanswered until now.  Justine armed us with the proper methods and the safety precautions and I'm now anxious to get started. 

I've gathered my ingredients and tools and will be ready to go on my solo soap flight in a short time.  I actually stopped to buy lye at the hardware store in Prather after we left the nursery.  Cindy and I excitedly bounced ideas off of each other all the way home.  I was thrilled that Cindy was able to go the class with me.  We always have a lot of fun together and seem to really work well as a team.  I think this terrifies our husbands at times..... 

Thanks Justine for a great class once again.  Check out Justine's sites Oh True Apothecary and The Scented Djinn for more info on natural perfumery and working with botanicals.  She also has an online perfumery course!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Selections

He who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth is generally
considered a fortunate person, but his good fortune is small
compared to that of the happy mortal who enters this world
with a passion for flowers in his soul.
- Celia Thaxter

Friday, May 21, 2010

We Have a Winner

WOW!  I can't believe we had 431 lovely entrants in the drawing.  What an amazing turnout.  I was thrilled to have so many visitors and hope that many of you will continue to meander along with us.  And for those of you who so kindly asked, my favorite color is PURPLE!  So without further ado, our winner:
That's it.  #365 is our winner.  If you would please get back to me, I'll get your prize to you.  Thanks so much to everyone that entered.  It was a lot of fun reading everyone's comments and getting the chance to visit so many great blogs.  As usual I have found several new-to-me blogs that I will be going back to visit and follow along with.

BTW, in case you'd like to know without having to count (three times) as I did, #365 is Miss Mary of Lillian Stitches.  Congrats Mary and if you will email me your address your mystery package will be on the way to you.  I'll be sending you an email shortly as well.

For the wondering/wandering minds, I will post a photo of the surprise after Miss Mary receives it. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What I See Wednesday

I love Dahlias!
My Hydrangea's very forgiving of the abuse I heap upon it!
Porkchop and Celie playing with their new toy
Lovely Fuchsia
Cailen's very big stick

Monday, May 17, 2010

Giveaway Day is HERE

Thank you to all who entered

Today is the start of Sew Mama Sew's annual May Giveaway Day.  I had a lot of fun last year checking out all of the great blogs and goodies out there and am thrilled to be part of it again this year. 

AFTER you enter my giveaway below, be sure to click on the link above and go to the master list at Sew Mama's blog to start visiting all of the great bloggers who are joining in on the fun.  Don't worry - it is called Giveaway Day, but it runs for 3 days so you have time to visit everyone who's playing along. 

Thank you so much to the great gals at Sew Mama Sew for once again putting on this fun event.

My Giveaway Details:

To enter, just leave a comment and tell me what your favorite color is.  Since the prize I'm giving away is going to be a mysterious surprise, your color choice might come into play if your name is drawn.  So it's important and mandatory to tell me what your hue of the moment is.

You MUST have a way for me to contact you.  If you're not a blogger with contact info attached to your profile, leave an email address in your comment.

I will use the random number generator to draw a winner.  The winner will be notified and have 48 hours to respond or I'll have to draw another.

I will ship internationally, so everyone is invited to enter.

The drawing will close at midnight PST on Thursday, May 20th.  I will announce the winner the next day.

I think that covers all of the fine print.  So enter and be merry!  Good luck to everyone.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Selections

In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.
- Kozuko Okakura

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Giveaway Alert - Sew Mama Sew

I've had a lot of fun participating in the last two Giveaway Days hosted by Sew Mama Sew last year.  I almost missed this one.  It will be held this coming Monday, May 17th (also my darling niece's 16th birthday!)  If you want to participate, it's not too late.  They're taking sign-ups until tomorrow, Sunday the 16th.  I haven't decided exactly what I'm giving away yet, but I'll make it a good one since I'm still feeling a bit bad about my long absence from the blogging world.

Go check it out HERE and then come back HERE  :) on Monday to start some bloghopping and win yourself some crafty goodies.  Same bat time, same bat channel.

Growing Greenery Update

We're seeing a lot of green around here - and reds, oranges, pinks etc.  I'm really happy that so many of our plants and flowers are coming back in full force.  I was worried that I'd lost a lot in the move and with the neglect I showered upon them while Mom was in the hospital.  But they must be made of sturdy stuff.

One of the reasons for my latest neglect of this blog is our Herculean task of finding homes for the majority of the babies from THIS post about the rescued plants.  It has been a trial attempting to identify some of them and we're definitely not done.  We found out that the nursery guy was notorious for potting and replanting plants in whatever pot or tray he could find and didn't care how things were labelled.  (Do ya think this could have been a clue as to why he went out of business??) 

Anyway, so far we have planted about 25 butterfly bushes here along with an unknown number of jasmine - Mr. MoonCat's favorite.  I was thrilled to find that in addition to a gorgeous rosemary plant we'd managed to salvage several bay tree babies.  I love using bay leaf in some of my recipes.  We also have some agapanthas, canna lilies, African irises, boxwoods, spirea, and mimosa trees.  Still working on it.

Everyone in our life is benefiting from this little escapade.  I sent about a dozen of the trees that we think are maples out to the ranch.  It was amazing how all of these poor neglected babies just took off with a bit of water and some TLC.  Our friends are getting used to finding plants in their vehicles when they leave from a visit here.  Good homes must be found by all! 

As the rescues continue to get healthier and start to thrive, I'll show you some updated pictures.  But for now, here are some of my other little pretties that are enjoying the sunshine.

Our wedding mums
Our experimental potato/tater box

Friday, May 14, 2010

Back in Action

I've missed all of you!  I apologize for the long lapse, but I can tell you that we've been extremely busy.  Thank you so much to those of you who checked in on us; we all appreciate you thinking of us.  I promise, I'll be better now and update you on all that's been going on here at MoonCat Farms....
Mom is doing well.  She's still wheelchair bound, but she's determined to get back on her feet for more than a few minutes at a time.  I've been keeping her busy hulling strawberries and going through boxes for our monster yard sale in July.

We had some very dear friends here for several days.  Linda is one of mom's dearest friends whom she misses very much as she lives several states away now.  This is a photo of her with her husband and their adorable dog, Cappy.  I love Border Collies and would have kidnapped him in a second!

While Linda was here, some other dear friends also came for dinner.  Mr MoonCat outdid himself with some fabulous ribs which made my side dishes pale terribly in comparison.  We all really enjoyed the visit, especially Mom.

Obviously I'm back online again!  I am so far behind on EVERYTHING:  email, blogging, reading the posts of my lovely friends, etc.  I was happy though that I managed to save everything from the laptop.  I was so fed up though, that I bit the bullet and bought myself a new desktop.  I had been wanting one for ages, but really couldn't justify it. 

But, wait for it........I won $2500 on a slot machine!!!!  I was just about bouncing through the roof. This hand was DEALT to me!   So after paying several bills and taking care of a few things, I decided that the money had dropped into my hot little hands at this particular moment for a reason - I needed a new computer!  The best part was that I hadn't gone there with any of my own money.  They were having a promotion and had sent me a $40 voucher and a free meal coupon if I'd come in that day.  I am SO tickled that I took them up on it.  It was amazing!

So one of the coolest perks of all of this is that the laptop is also back up and running.  I was being a tightwad and decided I'd fix it myself or it'd die from my trying!  I completely wiped it and started it back from scratch.  It's now behaving beautifully.  So I have my lovely new big guy in my sewing room/office and the laptop is used primarily as a back-up in the living room.  I do a lot of work on the couch while watching the Star Trek Next Generation reruns every evening.  "Tea - Earl Grey - HOT!" 
I'll leave the massive garden update for another post, but I will show you what Mr. MoonCat is up to - besides getting all of his lovely curls chopped off for the summer..

Beuford - The Roping Dummy Steer
This is Beuford.  He is a dummy steer for practicing roping.  I can rope enough to help out at brandings and working cattle, but I'm not a competitor.  Mr. MoonCat doesn't know how to rope, but is insisting we keep Beuford in the front yard anyway.  Of course, he IS the cheapest of all of our pets to feed.

Below is Beuford with a dummy sitting on him...

"It's the other direction, dear.."
And finally, my beloved hubby - Mr. MoonCat.  Gotta love him....(I have a piece of paper that says I must, by law.)

"Thank goodness he has no aspirations to ride bulls.."