Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Post-Weekend Catch Up..

The trip to Sleepy Hollow was amazing, and, all our fear of bad weather was for naught. Even though it was a cloudy/rainy day it was good because it thinned out the crowds. We saw the whole nine. There was a border collie demonstration that was hilarious.. and .. made me rethink my want of a dog a little bit.

A very nice upstate sheep farmer came to Phillipsburg Manor with four of his herding collies. Dot, Jen, Sweet and .. another one. Oops. He also had a small handful of sheep in a pen. First he did a lot of explaining of the border collie history. For example, his came from Wales, and had been bred for many many generations to sheep herd. The good of it being that they were amazing at it, the bad being that they weren't really good pets. The dogs have a hard time staying still. Which was hilarious, because the man couldn't get through more than a minute of explaining at a time for either their barking or Dot's running about.

So... he lets the sheep out of their pen and man, Dot goes wild. She is on them like white on rice. She is the FBI of border collies, the Big Brother of sheep. Never mind that they don't do much but roam a bit and she's got no commands yet. These sheep aren't getting away.

The farmer [ I wish I had caught his name ] got around to doing a few demo's and explained that to this day the words used for commands and still derived from gaelic. He can have the dogs bring the sheep in a counter clockwise direction by saying something that sounds like ' way by me ' and clockwise by saying ' come by '.  He did this a few times, much to the exasperation of the young sheep who weren't used to herding yet and seemed to want him to make up his mind where they were going.

We also met some very nice cows, but I didn't get to commune with them as much because The Brat became bored by them after just mooing at them a couple of times. Ah.. the cows. Punky's favorite was a red and white one. I of course wanted to hug the one with the long pointy horns. Someday, I'll get around to telling you guys about the time I nearly electrocuted myself trying to hug a bull.

Very very nice ladies in colonial clothing held various demonstrations on wool, everything from picking it clean to spinning it on a wheel. Bonus lesson, flax. We also learned about natural dyes, and I now fear for our clothing. Punky's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when the nice ladies explained that to make the wool yellow they just boiled it some water with onion skins and daffodils. I fear any day now I will wake up to a yellow wardrobe. That aside, we're now keeping an eye out for a tree called Logwood. Apparently, when you grind up its dead or dying limbs it makes the prettiest purple color in the world. Punky's inner fashionista was very inspired.

Unfortunately, this trip was not the most stimulating for The Brat. He enjoyed looking at the animals well enough, but he's much more of a hands on kind of person, which I should have remembered. The clothing/wool demos weren't much fun for him.

We all did have an amazing lunch at The Horseman's Diner in town. Very good chicken tenders, and a surprisingly good quesadilla. We also took a small walk about town, but there wasn't too much to see that can't be seen at every other small NY town. So, we went back to the farm and picked up souvenirs for ourselves and the family.

Beyond our day there, yesterday the neighbor in need of a codename came by. I called to ask for her help moving a tv we were throwing out and she came baby and all. We had a nice neighborly chat, and are making plans for another movie date soon. Next up is The Kings Speech. I'll need to think of a snack to bring over. In the meantime, her boys are out of school same as our boy and Punky and I have been tearing our hair out trying to think of an excuse to invite them over. Not just an excuse really, but a craft or activity that they could enjoy.

Sadly, we have limited experience with teens as we were just recently teens ourselves. [ Or so we tell ourselves. ]  There's one particular craft we have in mind, fairly cheap to gather the ingredients we don't have, and highly customizable. Here's hoping we work out the kinks and put it all together. We really love the neighbor lady's boys, as they are like the coolest kids ever.

Furthermore, as the greatest pick-me-up in the world... Punky cleaned out the fire escape last night while I napped. Yesterday was a bit of a crummy day as I'm struggling with health and depression. One leads to the other unfortunately, and while I wait around for my new insurance to kick in, I'm falling apart. Unfortunately, it's pretty deep dark hole I fall into when I do, and I tend to push everyone away. Punky was having none of it though, and fixed up my sanctuary for me. If the weather is nice tomorrow, I will drag the laptop out there and try for some pictures of it. I have been dying to share it with you guys after all.

Getting The Brat ready for his big day on the twentieth of next month has been slow but good. Since my paranoia has been up lately, I might be keeping mum about that for a bit. I don't need abusive exes finding stuff out.

Ummm.... Dieting.. Out the window for now. I can't diet and be depressed. I'm a big time stress eater, and comfort eater.. so.. yeah. The sooner I can kick this in the butt, the sooner I can get back to business.

 Also.. I need a camera like nobodies business. I'm currently defrosting a huuuuuge skirt steak which I will be cutting into manageable pieces and cooking for the first time ever. Pictures must be taken of my culinary adventures. Maybe once I straighten out this weeks finances I can start saving pennies for another camera. I'd really like another Kodak, since the first one served me so well.

I think that's about it, except for a bit about Pirates. I'll save that for next time mateys.

Hungry Hungry Hippo,


  1. Great post! Oh, I miss country outings. And sheep. I love sheep - we watched a shearing demo once and it was amazing! I once considered learning to spin wool, but since I'm a lousy knitter there doesn't seem much point. However, I too got pretty excited about dying things with onions for some reason.

    I hope you feel better soon - and that you don't have to wait too long to see a doc. Now that I live in the land of "free" healthcare, I forget how insurance companies invade/control life in the US.

    I am looking forward to your culinary photography. I too have been experimenting with new recipes!

  2. Sounds like the weekend outing was fun! :0) Dogs trained to herd sheep are amazing animals. I grew up in sheep country and saw many highly trained, intelligent dogs do some pretty amazing things with sheep! And because I grew up in sheep country I know how to care for a wool fleece - wash it, card it, spin it, weave it. And my Mom made sure I learned about natural dyes. Beet juice will give you red, black walnut shells give you a dark brown. And to set the color in a fabric (fabric must be of natural fiber) use Alum.

    So sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. Do hope you are not under the weather for long!

    And would love to hear about your culinary adventures. I'm usually a really good cook but lately it seems that all my cooking ends in disaster.