“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March Madness

We went to the farm last Sunday with the dogs. We thought about where the driveway will cross the stream, and viewed the house site, and hiked all around, wearing out the dogs. The weather was perfect, and we drove down to the beach at the end of our road to check it out. It is a very sleepy, quiet community, and makes Maungarutoto look like a big city. We met our neighbors, who bought the smaller lot with a lovely villa on it that shares a driveway with our property. The woman is an acupuncturist and herbalist from Hawaii, and yet says she has a PhD in biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Her partner is a composer, and they both seem very nice and eccentric. Last weekend was also the Kumeu A & P show. I think this pumpkin below is the largest I've ever seen. And tough competition too!

I watched the Boer goats being judged. They are quite nice to handle, I was told, and easy to keep. They are rather cute, I think I might have trouble sending them to the works! We are also interested in milking goats, and intend to solicit the advice of our friend's father in Oregon who makes goat cheese. Adam is pictured with his beloved Roberta below, at Cheesefest. We went to this event last year, and enjoyed it more than this year's event. Cheesefest was held at Sky City/Convention Center in a room that was much too small for all the people who showed up. It was far too crowded for my taste, but we still managed to stuff ourselves with wine and cheese. The highlight of this year's event was the opportunity to purchase deeply discounted, quality cheese. Do you know that it can be frozen sucessfully if it's been vaccuum sealed? I bought a blue cheddar, aged gouda, brie, and cheddar.

Ruby the puppy is doing great. We took her to a puppy class for socialization, and she did fine with the other pups. The training part of the class was a waste of time for us, so we'll skip that next week. She met the neighbor's children and some other neighbors. She came with us to my sister's house on Friday, where she met her two Ridgebacks and her husband's father, sister, her husband, and her 5 y.o. son, who are here visiting from California. That went well. Today we took her to the Oratea Farmer's Market, and she got lots of attention from kids and adults. She really needs this to build confidence, because she's a bit shy still when she meets a stranger. We'll socialize her more tomorrow, when we go back up to the farm and have some friends up for a picnic.
Entertainment news:
We have Sky Movies now, and have a bunch of movies in the que. I'm sorry I wasted my time with Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives. He used to make good movies, back before he decided it was a good idea to have sex with his step-daughter. Sleeper and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex are classics, IMO. More enjoyable was Heavenly Creatures, directed by Peter Jackson (of LOTR and New Zealand fame). This film stars Kate Winslet before she was famous, and she's really good. I'd seen it before, and it was worth watching again. Today we watched The Devil Wears Prada. Meryl Streep is gorgeous and perfect in her role, and Darin and I agreed that Anne Hathaway's eyes are unnaturally large. We were expecting a more devious ending, and also thought the boyfriend should have been more respectful and understanding about the wonderful opportunity and experience the main character was getting.
In books, I read some of Dr. Pitcairn's Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, and found it full of misrepresentations. As a scientist, I'm skeptical about what I read and like to look at the citations and see if they are reputable sources. This book had a few citations, but they were not numbered so that I could look up specific information in the original source. I requested it from the library for the recipes for natural diets, but found they recommend vitamin supplements. While I admit to giving my dog glucosamine and chondroitin, and I take selenium and co-enzyme Q10 (when I remember), I don't think it's necessary for living a healty life, unless you live in a place that has a soil deficiency in a mineral (such as selenium in NZ), have some health problem already, or eat a poor diet (McDonalds every day).
I'm nearly finished with The Other Boleyn Girl, which is longer than I'd expected. Though I generally like historical ficition, this romantic drama is not what I would normally read. It is so sordid but also compelling. The film based on the book is getting mediocre reviews, so I think I'll stick with the book.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Introducing Ruby

Ruby was the pick female puppy in a litter bred by Rita Grenyer (Auckland), whose kennel name is Von Sahne. The litter was sired by her NZ Champion dog living in America with Nighthawk Kennels (see Baxter here), via AI, and a NZ Champion bitch she leased from Christchurch, Tart N Tights of Marqee. Baxter has also been breed to a hot stuff Rottweiler bitch recently, click here to see them. We all have great hopes for Ruby. Rita had intended to keep this puppy, but has a 5 month old pup at home as well. We met Rita in July 2007, and she has been in Rottweilers for many years. She has produced numerous NZ Champions, and is known for producing dogs with lovely temperament.
Ruby is, as you can see, very pretty. She's also very smoochy and cuddly. I don't think any of our prior 3 Rotties were this cuddly as pups. She's also very confident, playful, and curious. The cats have been chased a few times. Jazz is quite tolerant of her, and Ruby will lie down and bark at Jazz if he hisses at her. Latte, our other cat, tries to stay out of her way completely, for now. He's not afraid, just likes to watch from a distance.
Fargo is doing really well with her. He's very tolerant and calm. He stepped on her once yesterday, so she's careful to watch out for him.
I had forgotten how hard it is to photograph puppies. They move around so much and so fast. Many of the photos we've taken are blurry, so these are the best I could get.
She is not very happy to be alone in the crate in the bedroom, so we're a bit sleep deprived. This weekend was rainy, so we had a mostly relaxing weekend at home, getting the pup adjusted to her new environment. We had originally intended to go up to our new property, which we closed on this week. I made fresh Bratwurst sausages (5.5 lbs) on Saturday. Darin bought me a bunch of "medium hog casings" at the butchery supply shop, packed in salt, that will make 40 kg of sausage. They keep in the fridge indefinitely, I understand. The local butchers aren't allowed to sell them anymore for some reason, so now I have my own stash to last a decade. The sausages cooked up really nice when poached in beer. I make them lean, with pork and veal, using Penzey's Bratwurst seasoning. I love Penzey's spices. We're big fans of the Bold Taco seasoning, so if you come from the US to visit, I require that you bring some. (16 oz please).
The video below, forwarded by my friend Holly, made me laugh out loud, repeatedly. Enjoy!