Archive for the ‘Chaos’ Category

Who Gets the Deer? Me or the Dog?

I looked at the text message through watery eyes, trying to make the words make sense. I was sick in San Diego, which is not nearly as romantic as being Sleepless in Seattle. I was on a work trip in which we were trying to fit four days of work into two days. My brain and body were not cooperating. Staring at the text was not clarifying the message. Clearly, this required a phone call. This is the story Dave was trying to tell via text message:


Dave and Toni (the Good Captain Morgan) were clearing out deep brush from the site of the future horse pasture (which is a much larger undertaking than we originally thought.) Over the roaring of the chainsaws, they heard a noise. It was an anguished scream of a mammal. Giraffe they thought but no, we don’t have live giraffes on the property. They ran towards the goat pen, thinking something was attacking the goats or alpacas. (Oh yeah, in the last year while I was not blogging we got another goat and two alpacas, who are collectively approximately 300 years old. We will talk more about them later.) A quick head count confirmed the heard was accounted for and everyone was fully intact. That’s when they found Chaos, who gleefully lead them to a mortally wounded deer. I hesitate to call it a fawn because that incites thoughts of Bambi, which makes Chaos the bad guy.  She was a little bad but mostly, she was just doing what dogs want to do in the deepest, darkest recesses of their doggie hearts. Hunt. Even your Pekingese wants to hunt wild creatures.  Or should I say, your Pekingese especially. Those little guys are fierce! Chaos was super-pleased with herself. The young deer was not quite dead but was well on her way and in quite a bit of pain. She had hung herself up in the fence and Chaos had mangled her back leg and underbelly. Dave, bless him, who is not an animal killer by nature, decided the best way for him to dispatch the deer has beheading. They decided Toni was to hold the deer down and Dave was to cut off the head. There was some discussion about the need for accuracy. Toni having survived her tours overseas, did not want to contemplate the tragic irony of losing a hand in a non-hunting accident and Chaos was still attempting to do drive by licks of the deer, putting her snout in harm way. They had nothing to fear. The deer was small and Dave is strong; it was a swift death, worthy of a wife of Henry VIII. Decapitation is not really the Boy Scout approved way to kill a deer but it you are in a pinch, it is effective. Chaos continued to trot around gleefully.


Having no knowledge of how to properly butcher a deer, Dave immediately called the woman who helps us butcher the meat rabbits. Just the week prior she and I had been discussing the possibility of me shooting a deer from the front porch (I was kind of joking) and she had said she would butcher it if we did. How’s that for strange timing? Dave and Toni lined the back of Toni’s Land Rover with contractor bags and transported the bled out carcass. I’m not sure what Toni thought she was signing up for when she moved out here but I’m guessing a bloody dead animal in her rugged-luxury car was not on the list. I’m just glad my Subaru was parked at the airport waiting for my return! The butchering went smoothly and quickly. You will be happy to know, I don’t have photos. They paid her the front half and kept we kept the back half, which was then further split between the humans and the dog. Chaos got the mangled half and we took the good meat.


(This reminds me of an old 911 call about the deer, the dog and the bambulance. Listen to it here. You will find yourself asking, “But what I want to know is who gets the deer, me or the dog?”)


So it came to pass that three nights later, when I returned from my trip and the fever had died down, Toni found a recipe, prepared and served the deer. It was, in a single word, DELICIOUS. I don’t know why people eat anything else. It was tender and flavorful. It puts farmed meats to shame. Also, the berry sauce was to die for. I like it on mashed potatoes, in place of gravy. I might also like it with gin, as a tasty cocktail base. The recipe for the venison and sauce can be found here (you’re on your own for the cocktail):


Sauce is something like this but I think she made it without the meat stock:

Hungry? Go forth and RELEASE THE HOUNDS! Let your Yorkies bring home dinner. If that dog won’t hunt, you can always buy venison online (or invite yourself to dinner at a hunter’s house.)

(Deer animal activists, while I am sympathetic to your plight and agree with many of your principles, this is not intended to spark a debate about hunting with dogs. The idea of hunting with dogs is discussed mostly in jest. I do not really condone any form of animal slaughter which causes undue suffering and hunting something with a dog does in fact cause undue suffering. This post is intended to have some fun with the crazy things living with animals brings to our lives.)


A Moving Story

It’s been a while, I know. No excuses. I was just busy and depressed. The combination meant I was using the very little “give a crap” that I had on things that I had to do so people wouldn’t start to get concerned, like moving and personal hygiene. Let’s talk about moving.

We moved in two big rounds and lots of tiny fragments. For the first round, Sarah and Detective Paranoid came up and helped. We took several trucks full of stuff; all of the non-essential items. Here we are loading up the truck and moving to Prunetucky, just like the Beverly Hillbillies.

That’s Detective Paranoid getting some kid help. His head is not shaped like a pea green polygon in real life. It’s just for the blog. You know, changed to protect the innocent and paranoid.

After the first round or moving,  we were left with the basement, which was quite full and all of those things we can’t live without, like clothes, four different blow dryers, 60 bottles of wine. You know, just the necessities. Dave kept his tile saw and six large coffee cans full of nails. Then for a couple of months, every time we went to the ranch, we took some items with us. One would think that the second round would be cake after all of the pre-moving. It wasn’t. It was grueling, torturous, and some other adjective that means really miserable. We barely made it out on time. Our cause was probably not helped by the fact that we went to a charity tequila tasting the night before. However, it was at that tequila tasting that I roped yet another friend into helping us. I would rather forget most of the event but it was about 14 hours long and ended with a coupe de grace that went a little something like this….

It’s early March. Dave and Marsha are 13 hours into the final phase of moving. Marsha I helping Dave unload stuff that took two men to load. Marsha (that’s me!) does not possess man like strength. She is pissed and therefore Dave is pissed. Everyone is hungry; the night is pitch black and it’s threatening rain. The dogs go running off into the night, most likely chasing a deer. We continue to drag the heaviest antique furniture out of the moving van and up the stairs into the garage attic.  About 15 minutes later, the terrorist terrier, AKA Lily the Weasel, starts barking a big (for her) angry bark. An alert bark. We try to call them back but they don’t come and neither one of us is in a position to care enough to tromp into the woods looking for them. Minutes later, they return, drooling, snorting and reeking of sulfur. Apparently the deer they were chasing, were really skunks. I wanted to cry but at that point, I hit rock bottom and when you’re at the bottom, you can only look up. I started to laugh that hysterical, maniacal laugh. I am so thankful that we had the moving van because that’s where the dogs spent the night.

The next morning, I went to the Safeway where I purchased four quarts of hydrogen peroxide, some dish soap and a box of Arm and Hammer. The checker looked at my goods, looked at me and deciding I was probably not feeding a strange addiction, said, “Are you doing a science experiment?” I desperately wanted to tell that I think that’s what my life has become but instead I told her that the dogs were skunked last night. “Oh yuck,” she said. “Do you live here?”

“We do. Actually, this happened while we were moving in, last night.”

The checker at the next stand burst out laughing and shouted, “Welcome to Prunedale!”  And from that moment forward, I have been in love with the people in this town.  By the next week, everyone at the Starbucks knew about our moving and skunking, thanks to my chatty husband. There’s nothing like a skunk story to band people together and create a community. We are home.

So we are officially moved in. There was some trial and tribulation at first but we are settled and living peacefully, more or less. Stay tuned, I have lots of updated photos and fun tales (tails?) from Redemption Farms.

Monday Morning Dog Photo

Please enjoy this highly stylized photo, created in Photoshop, to make up for the fact that I don’t have any really good photos of Chaos.

One of the challenges of photographing Dutch Shepherds is trying to get them to stand still. My little point and shoot just wasn’t designed for their level of action. Someday, I am going to buy a Cannon S100 (that someday comes after we get a kitchen, flooring, a round pen…the list goes on!) Meanwhile, I will settle for photos of her, taken while she sleep in the sun.

Monday Morning Dog Photo

Haven’t done one of these on a while…

Play hard, sleep hard, is Chaos’s motto:

Monday Morning Dog Photo

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Monday Morning Dog Photo but I had such a great photo of chaos that I had to revive the tradition.

I don’t know why but I keep singing “Mack The Knife” to myself.

“Oh, the shark babe, has such teeth, dear

and he shows them, pearly whites..”

Swamp Things

Dave took my Camry, AKA the ranch truck to the car wash to clean the upholstery. It looked lovely…for two days. Since having clean upholstery violates several laws of nature, within two days, my car looked like this:

That little mess was brought to you by the swamp things.

Her coat hides dirt well but Lilly looked like this:

I made the mistake of leaving my car door open and the dogs, thinking it was time to go, rocketed their muddy, filthy bodies into my front seat. I almost cried. I think maybe we’ll wait to try cleaning the car again until the mud dries up. Or maybe Dave will just give up on the idea of a cleaning my car so we won’t have to go through the heartbreak of clean upholstery.

Monday Dog Day

It’s the dog day of Monday. I’ve been packing, even though there’s no house to move into. Chaos says she’s ready to go, too.

Release the Kraken!