Thursday, February 23, 2012

Where did that lamb come from and using the dehydrator

I was so busy with work today that I never made it out to the field.  Just office stuff but I sure got a lot accomplished.  The low point of the day was when someone from the main headquarters called to ask about certain positions.  He was also calling to sort of tell me that my boss is changing once again and that most likely once they officially promote him he was going to be it.  I told him it was like I was getting demoted.  I'm not really but my supervisor is at the second from the top level in this organization.  This person also works for my present supervisor (although he is much higher in ranking and pay) so he'd be on the 3rd level which would put me on the 4th level.  He tried to tell me it would be so great because my present boss is too busy to pay attention to my program.  "And what's the problem with that?"  I asked.  If I have an issue I take it to my boss, otherwise he knows the job is getting done and he leaves me alone.  I give him a briefing every other week when he has a conference call with all his underlings.  This guy is going to be a pain.  I suppose I can bring him all sorts of issues to keep him really occupied.  That would be fun!

I've been so happy with the amount of lambs we've had this spring: 8 lambs from 6 ewes.  We had nine but lost one.  Today I went out to give the sheep a treat of some hen scratch.  I counted the lambs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.  What?  We have 8.  Counted again.  Counted again.  We have nine.  How could I have missed one?  Easy.  I thought the 8 lambs were from 6 ewes.  They were from 5.  Of the first five one had a single and the rest had twins.  The last birth was a single.  Obviously I wasn't paying enough attention or looking at the sheep well enough. 

One of the ducks is injured.  I think one of the sheep must have stepped on it and broken something.  It's trying to keep itself alive and we go out several times a day to pick it up so it can drink and eat.  I can't figure out what's wrong with it.  It doesn't complain when I open up its wings.  There is no blood from any cuts.  If there was internal damage I'd think there would be some sort of outward sign, especially since it was injured sometime during the weekend.  If it doesn't make it we will be down to three ducks.  I'm still amazed we have any.  We started with 6 almost four years ago.  Two flew ducks.  For two years we've had some ducklings hatch but the mother wasn't able to keep them alive.  I'm hoping that she lays more eggs this year and I'll try to scoop up the ducklings as soon as they hatch and raise them myself. 

For my birthday a while ago I was given a pineapple slicer.  You cut off the top of the pineapple and then push this thing on and twist.  It slices the pineapple into rings, just like you can buy in the can.  We each had two slices for dessert tonight then I cut the rest up into chunks and put them into the dehydrator.  One thing I realized was you get more pineapple by buying it in a can than you do buying it whole and slicing it.  I can buy cans of pineapple for just under a dollar at Winco.  This pineapple was a good price at $3.00 but there's no way we had the equivalent of three cans of pineapple.  I suppose it's a neat tool if the situation calls for fresh pineapple but we are perfectly content with buying pineapple in a can.  The kids were pretty excited that they are going to have dried pineapple in their lunch tomorrow at school.

Speaking of drying fruit, a friend shared a recipe with me today and I thought I'd pass it along.  She grows seedless watermelon (not a good idea if you want to save seeds for the future!) and then cuts off the rind, slices the melon into thin strips and puts it in the dehydrator.  Each strip is about 1/4 in thick and about an inch wide.  Each strip is as long as the melon.  Each strip is put onto the dehydrator screen.  If you used plastic wrap like you do for fruit rollups it won't dry right.  It takes between one and two days to dry out the melon.  They should be sort of rubbery, with a taffy consistency.  Then you put the pieces on wax paper and roll them up.  You don't roll them tightly, just enough to store them.  After they are rolled up you put them into a canning jar with a paper towel or paper napkin inside the jar just in case there is any moisture.  She said that she uses desiccant although a paper towel should work.  You can rehydrate the melon if you are juicing it.  She said her kids will eat them "fresh" that way...perhaps if you put them in the freezer to harden a little.  I couldn't see eating soggy reconstituted watermelon but I definitely can see us eating watermelon "taffy".

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