Merry Christmas

If you were following along with the Christmas Tree Drama from last post, you may be interested to learn that I compromised and got a live wreath instead of a Christmas Tree. While it’s no doubt difficult to stack presents under, it provides the proper evocative, piney scent to trigger the Christmas synapses in my brain, which is basically what I was after. My mom and I decorated it with bows, tiny ornaments, and pine cones in order to festoon it with Holiday Spirit and that personal touch, and for this year, it will do. You can see the wreath pictured below, along with Josh writing to Santa in an attempt to exonerate his sins and explain his way off of the Naughty list.

This has been a challenging Christmas in many respects. I may not have a lot, and I may not even have what I’d hoped for, but stress and sadness have made me that much more grateful for the numerous other blessings I can count.

Merry Christmas, from my Tiny Tiny House to yours. ❤

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Christmas time is here

My life has been overwhelmed with a variety of ranch and life related stress of late. In the ranch category, new lambs, new guard dog puppy, new sheepdog puppy, Biblical amounts of rain, agriculture vs. city zoning issues, ear tags, vaccinations, coughing and sniffling, livestock sales, evil geese (“evil geese” is a redundant term), client dogs to teach, herding lessons to teach. In the life category, persistent respiratory illness (something I have in common with the sheep!), death flu, interpersonal drama, and the event pushing me ever increasingly toward complete psychotic break, Christmas.

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Food Reviews: Fake Cheese 2

Did the last series of fake cheese reviews leave you with an insatiable hunger for more non-dairy options which don’t suck too bad? Are you a dairy-eater who feels that your cheese is too delicious, varied, and melty, and you’d like to discover some options which are worse in all three respects? Do you feel like you’re just not spending enough money on groceries, and would like ways to ensure your shopping trips are more frustrating and expensive? Read on, because it’s fake cheese review time again here at TTH.

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Apocalypse Village Vets

Sometimes, I like to think about myself and my loved ones in the context of how useful we’d be in the event of an apocalypse.

I personally would not be very useful, given that my day job involves making imaginary numbers do meaningless things with senseless letter sequences and other series of imaginary numbers, but I’m not without apocalypse backup plans. The shepherd thing could be pretty useful if my apocalypse situation managed to grant me some livestock and dogs, and if all else fails, I could be the Apocalypse Village Teacher. I’m basing this off of my resounding recent success breaking the will of a 10-year-old into sitting down and trudging through the addition and subtraction of mixed-number fractions, as well as the fact that Josh directs his children to me for a variety of important educational questions such as What is more than one Pegasus, is it Pegasuses or Pegasi? and How do you make the color brown?

Josh himself, of course, is obviously the Apocalypse Village Doctor. It’s one of those plot points which serves to illustrate the dire nature of the apocalypse itself, when you have some poor sap with mismatched blue scrubs and glasses that got scratched up by an AR-15 (these are both actual Josh Attributes by the way) sitting there on camera amongst the smoldering apocalypse ruins, stepping nobly up to the plate for the betterment of what’s left of mankind, “Well, I used to be a vet tech, but now…” And then the scene cuts to Josh resecting someone’s colon or something.

The Apocalypse Village might be a little way off, but for better or worse we’ve become the neighborhood veterinary professionals here in our mini-neighborhood at the TTH, and have done our best to assist creatures in peril when we are called to action.

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Country roads, take me home

A good number of my posts lately have been about city people things like non-dairy cheese and Ikea furniture. I’m starting to feel guilty about it because the header of the blog promises Country Things, and inexplicably, people I don’t know are occasionally liking stuff on this blog now. They’re probably here for the moderately bucolic pleasure of reading about a stranger’s life populated by filthy ranch dogs and charming, useless chickens who still won’t lay eggs, so, far be it from me to deny my audience what they’ve come for.

I chose Life, love, dirt roads, dogs as the tagline for the blog because all of those things impact my life on a daily basis. Most of them you’ve heard about already, with the exception of the dirt roads. Let me tell you: the dirt roads are a thing, and they have a profound daily impact on life.

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Food Reviews: Fake Cheese

Those of you who know me are probably aware that I can’t eat dairy. No milk, no cheese, not even any items like Cheez-its where you have to question whether that food has ever encountered a legitimate dairy substance anyway. As near as I can figure out, the culprit is a milk protein called casein, and it causes me migraine headaches. As a disclaimer here, I’ve never had a doctor confirm this. But through rigorous scientific research involving stuffing ice cream, yogurt, cheese, milk chocolate, and packaged desserts into my face (and then not stuffing them into my face), it’s become very clear that dairy = headaches and no dairy = no headaches. I don’t have the symptoms described for lactose intolerance, and Dr. Internet leads me to believe casein is to blame.

As you can imagine, this is a tremendously distressing trait to discover in oneself, and it seems pretty unfair. I’m of European descent. We are the dairy people. We are the people anecdotally causing conflicts with other races throughout history by poisoning them with well-intentioned milk (prior to giving them smallpox). Milk is my heritage, and it’s spectacularly upsetting that all its enchanting permutations are off the menu.

Josh has been very supportive throughout my troubled relationship with casein. Because he is concerned with healthy eating, except where healthy eating requires giving up pancakes or his addiction to questionable Mexican candy, Josh too has given up dairy consumption at TTH. Together, we are beginning an exciting journey into the world of dairylike substitutes! Take off your shoes and sweater, and join us in the land of milky make-believe.

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The Gorm and the Gormless

One of the things about setting myself up in a new place, simultaneously obvious and astounding, is that everything is mine. The fridge is mine, the bookcases are mine, the decorations are mine, the wafting piles of dog fur lurking in all the corners are actually Indy’s and/or Jet’s, but since they’re unlikely to pick them up themselves, those are mine too. Of course, Josh shares ownership in all these domestic delights as well. But since this post is largely regarding home decor, we’ll go with mine as the possessive here, and perpetuate a century of gender-based stereotypes by assuming men have limited agency in the decoration of their homes. However, this gender segregation is not an entirely unfair representation of decorating at TTH, since Josh is pathologically easy-going:

M: Here, I got this, I want to hang it on the wall.
J: Okay.
M: What that means is I want you to hang it on the wall.
J: Okay. Here?
M: A little to the left.
J: Here?
M: No, actually, I think in line with the other thing?
J: Here?
M: No, it needs to go back where it was, to the right. Oh gosh. I just don’t know. No. More to the right.
J: Okay.
M: Down a little. Oh, that’s good. Do you want to hang up this other thing which belongs to you, so you have something on the walls too?
J: Nope.

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