Archive for August, 2006

Another foal!

21 August 2006 at 6:45 pm
by Jonah

Kyrie had her foal last night! She’s a beautiful light colored filly with white legs and a cool white blaze (no pink nose, like her momma). She’s got a blonde curly mane and lots of white, curly whiskers. She is so CUTE. We gave her an enema this morning, during which time she apparently fell asleep. I would have taken a picture, but Duncan and Michele took their camera with them to Wichita (as well they should have when visiting grandchildren). Maybe I’ll remember to take my camera tomorrow.

It’s August 19.

19 August 2006 at 5:10 pm
by Jonah

It hasn’t stopped raining (for long, anyway) since late yesterday afternoon, and there’s a high of 67 degrees.

Wedding Present Shopping

18 August 2006 at 8:36 pm
by Jonah

Mom called me today and asked my advice on what to get my friend Paul as a wedding present. After the initial shock of hearing he was married, I thought that he would probably like anything I might like, since our interests are pretty similar. But what would I like?

So I thought I’d post an informative and useful piece that I’ve been meaning to write for a long time:

Our Favorite Wedding Presents

It’s true, we did sell some of the stuff we received as wedding presents on E-Bay. But we also received a lot of really cool, nice stuff that we use on a regular basis.

Toaster Oven. We didn’t even ask for a toaster oven, but Andrew and Heather gave us one anyway. They knew better than we did! We use that sucker almost every day, from making toast, cooking frozen eggrolls, and now that our microwave is on the fritz, heating up leftovers. In the summer it’s especially nice not to have to heat up the whole kitchen by turning on the oven.

Cuisinart. The Manwaring clan went in together to buy us a Cuisinart, and we love it. Berck uses it to prepare almost every dish he fixes. And you just throw the pieces in the dishwasher when you’re done.

Glasses and Silverware. Our silverware should last us till death do us part, and it took almost that long to find a set we liked. But buying silverware is dependent on the couple registering for it. We also use our glassware every day, though our supply is steadily dwindling because glass is, well, fragile. Fortunately, Berck was able to augment our collection with some really nice yet inexpensive stuff from Crate and Barrell (a good store to start in when shopping for newlyweds).

Nice Glassware. When we were registering for stuff, I told Berck to go crazy, and he did. Funny how no one has gotten us the grappa glasses set he picked out, however we did get a super nice set of red and white glasses (thank you Downey and Noell) that are, oh, so nice to drink out of. Their numbers are too dwindling, mainly because they live in the same house as Berck.

Sheets. When I asked my sister’s advice about what to register for, she immediately said, “An extra set of sheets.” Sure enough our sheets wore out in the space of about one and a half years. Nice sheets don’t come cheap, and we were lucky to have three couples from my church go in together to get us a set to bless our marriage.

Towels. My mom still has towels she and my dad got when they were married. A nice couple sets of towels is especially good to have when company comes over, something Berck doesn’t seem to understand, since he immediately put bleach holes in two of them. “I don’t understand,” he keeps saying. “Why do bleach stains bother you so much?”

Knives. A good knife is necessary for any sort of decent cooking. I knew a chef who travelled everywhere with a toolbox in which were several of his favorite spices, a peeler, a small cutting board, and a good knife. You can always run to the store to get the rest, but good knives don’t come cheap. We were given a fantastic carving knife (which we only use for carving, but it is such a pleasure to use), and we bought a wonderful chopping knife with some funds we received. We use it all the time. I can’t believe I ever tried to chop anything without one before. Add a good paring knife, and you’re in business. There are so many variations of knives that you can get your newlyweds a really nice one of any, and if they’re careful with it, it can last them a lifetime.

Placemats and Cloth Napkins. We didn’t get any of the colors that we asked for, but the ones we did get, we use every time company comes over, a lot more often than I would have expected! At Thanksgiving, I’m left wishing I had even more.

Pots and Pans. Mom actually got a set for me when we were at the outlet store looking for registry ideas. The set was 75% off, and Berck and I love it. You can’t go wrong by getting a couple a nice pot or pan. If they get several different ones, they’ll have a set.

Kitchenaid Mixer. Can any kitchen go without? Ours also has a grater attachment (which I sort of broke) and a marvelous pasta making attachment.

French Press Coffee Maker. Actually, any nice coffee maker will do, but a French press makes the best coffee in the world.

Odds and Ends. A few people gave us a bunch of little kitchen items instead of one big expensive gift. We use things every day like measuring cups, wooden spoons, and spatulas that we got just for getting married.

Things we didn’t get but are must haves.

Cast Iron Skillet. This is a must for any kitchen, and fortunately, I already had one. Of course, it took a year or so to teach Berck not to wash it with steel wool. Or soap, for that matter.

Coffee Grinder. If you love good coffee, you need a good coffee grinder. Unfortunately, I gave up the habit in May.

Espresso Machine. I love mine. (I love coffee too… too much.)

Pizza Pan. It’s hard to make a decent pizza without a round pizza pan.

Griddle. A good griddle makes baconing and pancaking so much easier. Fortunately, we got one for Christmas last year.

The Joy of Cooking. Should be included in the purchase of every kitchen. Even Mr. I-don’t-use-recipes Nachzen consults it regularly.

The Joy of Sex. Should be included in the purchase of every master bedroom. Actually, I found The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner to be much more interesting, but that may just be because I’m a nerd.

Finally, there’s the gift we got from Paul himself. It’s a really nice corkscrew set. Yes, a set. There’s the blade to cut the foil, the stopper for once you take the cork out, and the corkscrew itself, a fantastically easy device to use that no wine drinker should have to go without. And it all comes in a stylish black box.

Pity we can’t give Paul the same thing.


18 August 2006 at 12:50 pm
by Jonah

Thick eyebrows are in again.

It happens once every ten to fifteen years or so.

Now, if we can just bring back flannel shirts.

New Life

16 August 2006 at 7:22 pm
by Jonah

Well, the campaign has ended, and I’ve moved my desk contents back up to the Bremers’ house. My duties have become a little more varied. For instance, I got to work one day last week to find all the Shetland sheep in the driveway on the wrong side of the railroad tracks. I herded them back down the driveway with my car until we reached the gate to the riding ring, where they piled against the gate, waiting for me to put them back in. When they got out again later in the day, I found the hole in the fence where they were getting out (because two of them put themselves back the same way they’d gotten out) and tacked the hogwire back in place.

This morning I opened the front door and nearly ran into Duncan, who was barrelling outside. “Looks like we’ve got a foal!” he exclaimed and rushed out to the paddock. I followed, and sure enough, there was a small scale horse on the other side of the fence. Michele was feeding, and she told me to grab a halter and put Abbey in the riding ring. When I got finished, Michele was telling Duncan how to imprint the foal. “Put your arm around its neck and your other arm around its rear end. Don’t let it go! Hold it for a few minutes. We’ll have to do this several times a day to get it used to being controlled by people. Do we know if it’s a boy or a girl?”

“I think it’s a girl,” said Duncan. They examined the foal’s backside. “Yup, it’s a girl.”

Michele told me to go get some Betadine and a narrow container. She filled the container with the Betadine and had me hold it under the filly’s belly to soak the end of her umbilacal cord. The filly jerked and jumped at the cold liquid on her belly, but Duncan held her still. She calmed down. Her momma Cadeau came over to check on her baby and then went back to eating the grain Michele had poured into the manger for her.

Once Michele was satisfied the filly had been held long enough, she instructed Duncan to wait until the filly was absolutely still before letting her go and to walk away from her, not let her walk away from him. The filly looked around a bit and then went over to her mother, nosing around her hindquarters and belly before finally figuring out where her two nipples were. Then she started making slurping sucking noises and dribbling milk.

Duncan found the placenta up by the barn and brought it down to the yard to spread in the grass. It’s important to find the placenta and make sure it’s fairly complete. If there’s any left in the mother, it can rot inside the uterus and make the mother very sick. The placenta was huge, full of wide veins and arteries. It was attached by the umbilical cord to the sack, burst like a popped balloon. There was also a weird brown chunk of tissue, about 6 inches long, 3 inches wide, and half an inch thick. “It’s the consistency of sweetbread,” said Duncan. He and I wondered if it were a stillborn twin. Duncan waited until Michele could examine it all before putting it in a plastic bag and putting that in the fridge.

Michele called everyone involved in Wings Like Eagles year round and told them the good news. She stayed on the phone for I don’t know how long with someone talking about names. To name a horse, you take the name of your ranch and then add something about it’s lineage. Of course, you don’t actually then call a horse by its real name.

Between phone calls, she asked me to feed up at the barn. I put some hay over the fence into the pasture for everyone out there (who were happily grazing in the tall grass from this unseasonably wet summer) and put some on the ground in a dry spot for Cadeau. I called to her, and she came over, her new foal following her as tightly as her own shadow. The foal was didn’t know what to think of the hay. I stroked her neck for a long while, and she seemed to like that.

I started to work at my desk while Kelly kept calling to talk to Michele, who was, of course, on the other line. “What does she look like?” Kelly asked.

“She has one white hoof!”

“Is her coat dark or light?” Kelly asked, unsatisfied with my answer. Uh… “What color is her mane?” she demanded.

“Uh, it’s dark… I think.” I mailed Kelly a picture as soon as I could so she’d stop asking me questions.

Finally, Kelly called and said, “Um, we’re here, and the foal is lying on the ground in the sun.”

“Great! Go say hello!”

“But the foal isn’t moving!”

“Well, it’s a baby, it’s going to sleep a lot. I’ll be right there.”

“Okay, we’re up at the barn.”

I walked up through the paddock and found Cadeau munching on weeds with the foal passed out next to her. Kelly and her brood of Beedles were on the other side of the fence. Kelly’s been around horses most of her life, but this was her first foal experience. It was mine too, but I’d just had a crash course that morning. “Come on!” I said, kneeling down and caressing the foal, who woke up and after several tries rose up on her wobbly legs. Nicki arrived with her two girls, and Cadeau decided there were too many people around and led her offspring down to the other end of the pasture. I caught her around the neck to keep her still so the kids could examine the foal.

The foals coat was unbelievably soft, especially her mane. Kelly’s eldest picked up one of her tiny hooves. The frog was full of hair!

The kids all had ideas about what to name her (her nickname, that is). Kelly wanted to name her Talitha (little girl) and call her Tally. Nicki wanted to name her Reepicheep. Kelly’s daughter thought we should name her Shelly.

Duncan and Michele are going to Wichita for the weekend, and the Harmons are housesitting. Michele asked me to show them the placenta and how to tell if it’s all there. So I drug the garbage bag out to the backyard and emptied the by now rather muddy placenta onto the grass and spread it out showing them the three big lobes and the broken sack. Michele said she had talked to the daddy’s owner Jean, who said that one in every 50 or so births includes the weird sweetbread tissue. There’s a scientific name for it (which she couldn’t recall right off), and no one knows what it is. How weird is that!

I was pretty proud of the kids all gathering around the huge placenta genuinely interested and not showing a single sign of disgust. When we had finished examining it, I threw it all into the chicken coop, although the chickens didn’t seem very interested. I tossed the sweetbread in too. “What’s that?” asked Kelly’s youngest, Ruthie.

“Nobody knows,” I told her.

“I think I know what it is,” Ruthie said. “It’s a little pillow for the little baby’s head to sleep on.”

That sounded as good an explanation as any.

Cado's Foal

Yes, check out the pictures in Photographs –>