Sunday, February 12, 2017

Never in a million years did I think we would have this latest addition to the family

In case you read the title to this blog post and thought I am pregnant: I am not.

The new addition to our family is of the canine variety: a rescued Shih Tzu from the Animal Shelter.

Never, never in a million trillion years would I have thought I would ever own one of these ridiculous toy dogs.  But alas: now I do.  I'm head over heels in love with him.

Read on to learn why on Earth the Sahlin family now has a tiny dog.

I used to make fun of people who owned dogs that look like they ran into a wall.  But for over a year, I have noticed these little doggies, and more and more often I have exclaimed "Oh, how cute!", while Steve disbelievingly looked at me, his tomboy-motorcycle-riding, huge Saint Bernard-dogs-favoring wife.

And yet.  There's something about a little animal snuggled up on your lap.  And since I'm allergic to cats, and since our other dog Raka grew from a lap-sitting puppy into an elephant, I have been craving a little doggie.

On Thursday, we ran into our neighbors as we walked our (big) dogs, and I told them how much I have been craving the company of a lap dog.  Speaking it out loud made it real, and after the walk I got on the internet to look at dogs up for adoption at local animal shelters.

The Bellingham shelter, one and a half hours away from us, had a little Shit Tzu up for adoption, but they told me that six other families are already interested in him.

I knew we had to act quickly, because he would be gone in a second.  So the whole family showed up in the morning, 5 minutes before the animal shelter opened its doors.  I didn't really think that we would bring home a dog that day, but since 3 minutes after we showed up all the other people who wanted to adopt him appeared, we made the choice very quickly.

Yes, of course he needed to go home with us.

Naturally, we had brought Raka with us, and the two met and were very friendly with each other, so this sealed the deal.

Raka and Chowder (this is the name he came with) have sniffed each other, licked each other's fur, gently nibbled on each other, and I assume this means they will be pals for life.

The first evening we all spent together was quite the comedy show, everyone competing for space and attention on the sofa, and getting to know each other.

Of course we are showering Raka with lots of attention so she won't get jealous or sad that she is no longer a single child dog, and she's taking this change in stride.

She is even sharing her own personal sofa with her new boyfriend, who likes to perch high on a throne made with sofa cushions and blankets.

Yep, this dog has royal roots in ancient China all right.

I'm sorry to overwhelm you with dog pictures in this post, but this is kind of a big deal for our family, and since you will be seeing more pictures of our Chowder, I thought I'd introduce you.

Besides lots of rain and the snow finally melting a little bit, not much is going on.  Yet.  Soon, I'll start onion seeds and get my head wrapped around gardening, but for now, homeschooling, coaching women, and making good food are my priorities.

And snuggling with a little toy dog named after soup...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Homesteading in Paradise - January 2017 Highlights

Since not much homesteading is going on in January - except taking care of the animals, of course - this month's short movie doesn't feature much gardening or putting food by.

What it does feature, though, is the natural beauty here in winter - and what a winter it has been! Right now, there's a foot of the white stuff in our backyard.

The movie also shows some gorgeous scenery from our vacation in Maui.

Click here to watch it!

Back at our --- snowy --- homestead

Going from our two-week vacation in Maui to being back home at our homestead has been quite a shock to the system.


Because we went from this...

... to this:

I know, I know, I'm not allowed to feel sorry for myself, but damn!  It's cold!

We are thrilled to be back home (some members of the family more thrilled than others) and to get back into our homesteading-in-winter routine.

Our dog Raka was beside herself with joy when we came back home at 2 in the morning.  She didn't know which one of us five to lick and cover in dog slobber first.  Poor thing, she has never been without us in her whole year of life, and having us gone so long must have been quite stressful for her - despite the wonderful housesitters who took care of our place and all the animals.

The kids are messing with doting on her.

The goats, ducks and chickens are fine.  The goats look fluffed up and more pregnant, the ducks seem pretty pissed off at all the snow, and the chickens are hunkered down nice and snug.

Doing chores in the morning takes some muscle, since I have to trudge through deep snow and schlepp warm water in buckets, for their royal highnesses.  They produce for us, we spoil them.

With our sun-kissed bodies shivering and fussing, I turn my attention to providing warm, home made food for my family.  There's nothing better than eating food that we grew months ago, and then cook it in the cozy kitchen.

We made sausage (our pork and goat meat) before we left for Maui, and I still have lots of sauerkraut and potatoes stored up in the root cellar, so there's a  bunch of meals right there!

And how can you go wrong with bread fresh out of the oven?  I teach how to make this bread in my online fermentation workshop, by the way, and if you want to get into the course for 10 percent off, go to the website and enter this code: valentine2017.

This morning, I took Raka for a walk, which couldn't really be called "walk" because I was either sliding on pure ice (aka our driveway and 1-mile long forest service access road) or stomping through 1-foot deep snow.

After being outside for 15 minutes, I was sweating with the effort.

It's so pretty.  Branches are deeply bowed with heavy snow, bald eagles perch on tall evergreen trees and then fly off when they see me, mosses and ferns wear fancy white caps.

What's happening at your place?  Are you snowed in?  Is spring showing up?  Please tell me that spring will come!

PS: Instead of giving boring old chocolates and flowers (well, okay, maybe not boring, but quite predictable, don't you think?), you could give your loved one my online fermentation course.  Just think: I teach how to make yummy bread (see above), sauerkraut, kombucha, Greek yogurt and beet kvass.  The whole thing costs only $39, and with the 10 percent coupon code (valentine2017), it's even cheaper.

You get to keep all the materials for life, get my movies (yours truly demonstrating everything in my kitchen), my ebooks and access to me for questions.

It's a deal!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

One more day... and then it's back to 50 degree colder weather...

We have one more day left, and then our vacation is over, which means we are swapping one paradise for another.  Our own paradise in the Pacific Northwest is 50 degrees colder than this one on Maui, but both paradises are lush, that's for sure.  And Maui has better sunsets and waterfalls.

Still, I am very much ready to go home.  I really miss our dog Raka, and whenever I see a dog at the beach or on the road, I try to entice it over so I can pet it and baby talk to it.  The owners usually give me dirty looks, because I'm quite desperate in my need for a dog fix.

I also miss our amazing drinking water at home.  Here on Maui, we have to buy water in yucky plastic bottles, and it tastes terrible.

I miss eating lots of vegetables and food that we put up in summer and fall.

And I miss hanging out with my goats at our beautiful homestead.

Honestly, I get a little bored doing nothing.  I'm not complaining - I like to relax, reading at the beach, sleeping in, watching buff surfer dudes and hot chicks... but enough is enough.

On this vacation, I've been happiest when we were hiking.  The landscape here is so gorgeous, lush, colorful, delicious-smelling and different, and I'm most blissed out when I get to be in the company of nature.

We went on several hikes to amazing waterfalls, through mind-blowing bamboo forests and palm trees, past hundreds of plants we can't identify.

Nature is surely showing off here.  Luke and I have been taking hundreds of pictures of flowers, and since I can't possibly upload them all and do them justice, I'm sticking to trees here.

Let me show you:

Even with all the hiking, relaxing and swimming, we get some work done.  I am teaching Eva how to read, and by golly, a vacation won't get in the way of that.

I've also been having coaching sessions with clients on the phone, which is really amazing - working on the beach!

The whole family is tanned, sunkissed, or sunburnt.  We will enjoy the heck out of our last day, and then we'll hop on the airplane and wave goodbye to Hawaii.  It has been beautiful.

Without any more words, let me sign off with pictures to send some Aloha  your way.