Archive for June, 2012

News from the Farm

I have a peep!

Do you see it? He/she looks so much like Mom that he/she is tough to pick out. Yes, I don’t know if it’s a he or a she. It’s nearly impossible to tell with chickens until they’re several weeks old. Fingers crossed for a hen, though!

Meanwhile another of my hens has gone broody, and the two silly broody blue girls seem to have worked out a joint custody agreement. They share the little nestbox 24 hours a day and snatch unhatched eggs from each other.

I’m a little worried about mommas and baby with the heat wave expected this week. High temperatures could get to as much as 105 a couple of days. The mommas aren’t getting up from their nest to drink or eat very much, and the baby is going to need water soon, too.

It’ll be a tough few days for the horses, too. I’m glad I’ll be home all week to check on their water (obsessively) and hose them off if they seem too hot. I’ve replaced the fans that weren’t working in the barn and I can always bring them in during the worst part of the day if needed. The barn is well insulated. Generally it’s much cooler in there than out in the sun.

Good news on the foster dog front! I’ve been taking care of a big black lab named Blaze. I took him in from a local shelter that had a fire (hence the name) and needed to move some dogs out quickly. He is really a lovable big lug. He fit in nicely with my pack and was just easy to have around, so I wasn’t all that anxious to see him go. Wouldn’t you know, he got adopted at his first adopt-a-pet? He went to a great home with a really nice lady, though, and some canine brothers and sister to play with, so I know it’s a good thing. But I was sad when I got home and realized he’d been here such a short time that I hadn’t even taken a picture of him.

I’ll take a short break to dote on my dogs, but eventually a set of sad eyes and needy face will call to me and I’ll do it all over again. Why, when their are so many hundreds of thousands of homeless animals out there that saving one at a time can’t possibly make a dent? The answer is found in my favorite quote.

Saving one dog won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that one dog.  –Author unknown

Have a good life, Blaze buddy!

Life with dogs…and cats, horses, donkeys, and chickens!

The best thing about living on a farm is that it’s never boring. There’s always something to to–usually a long list of things.

The night before last, my search and rescue dog, Boogie, had an allergic reaction to something (I think). In the middle of the night he started scratching and biting at himself frantically. All. Night. Long. Neither of us got any sleep. In the morning, I checked him over with a flea comb, but found none. Gave him a bath just in case, but he’s on Advantage II and has never had a problem with fleas. I haven’t changed his food and to the best of my knowledge he hasn’t gotten into anything. I have no idea what caused it, but it got so bad that he chewed a small bald spot on his tail and both of his ears swelled and got hematomas. I checked his ears–no infection, no mites. Cleaned them just in case. Finally I went out and got some Benadryl for him. Within an hour he was no longer scratching. Now he’s in bed sleeping off the drugs.

As I went to feed my German shepherd dog last night, I realized I had run out of the special enzymes that must be put on her food (she has a serious condition called EPI, long story). Never fear…I keep a stash in a little baggie in the kitchen just for emergencies. I reordered the enzymes for her. That stash should last until the new package arrived. So if you’re ever in my house and find a baggie of white powder in my kitchen cabinet…it’s not what you think it is.

Down in the barn, one of my hens has gone broody. That means she’s actually sitting on a clutch of eggs to make them hatch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ignored her for a few days. That was a bad idea. Because when I finally picked her up, I found 16 eggs under her! Hmmm. I’d thought a baby chick or two would be cute. 16? Not so much. Oh well, out here in the boonies there’s always people that’ll take chicks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll notice I’ve taken a pen and marked the ones she’s sitting on. Now I have to lift her up twice every day and make sure she hasn’t stolen any more! You’ll also notice that most of those eggs are not hers…as evidence by the different sizes and colors.

Meanwhile out in the pasture, my miniature donkey, Mo, has gotten fat as a full tick on all this spring grass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve cut him off from the feed to keep him from exploding. Unfortunately, he shares the pasture with two mares. He has now perfected the technique of walking under their feeders, hunching his back, and knocking the feeders off the fence. He then runs off the paint mare and eats all her food. He might only be 28″ tall, but there’s a reason I call him “Mighty Mo.”

Ah, life with animals…

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Healthy Eating Idea #3

It’s no secret that I’ve packed on a few pounds these last few years, a victim of middle age and the butt-in-chair lifestyle of a writer. Thankfully, I’ve recently been shedding them back off with some careful eating. I’ve dropped 22 lbs. and I’m still rolling strong!

One of my strategies for losing weight is to take every opportunity to trim a few extra calories off of my favorite meals (instead of giving up those favorites). I like tacos. I mean, who doesn’t? But those corn taco shells add a lot of extra calories for not much nutritional value. So as I was thinking up way to have tacos without breaking the weight bank and a way to use up some romaine lettuce in the fridge without having to eat another salad, a light bulb popped on (in my mind, not the fridge. That one was already on as I stood there contemplating while all the cold air escaped).

Taco boats. Yep, I was going to make taco boats.

I’m still a vegetarian, so I opted for a portabello mushroom sauteed in taco seasoning filling, and kept the toppings light–some salsa, a slice of avocado, a few black olives, a small crumble of queso fresco; however, this idea will work fine with whatever you like to use as a main taco filling. But I saved over 100 calories by forgoing the corn taco shell in favor of a romaine lettuce boat. I was going to put lettuce on the taco anyway, so why not use it as the containment vessel?

Here’s what I did: I sliced a stem of romaine lettuce in half lengthwise. Then by hand I peeled out the innermost leaves (putting them back in the bag for use in a salad another time). The remaining lettuce was a perfect little boat. I put my portabello filling in, layered on my toppings, and it was done! 

It turned out so great that I devoured it. I did some quick calorie calculations and determined that with my vegetarian filling (I’ve since also done this with a taco-seasoned black bean mix and a Spanish rice mix) I could have TWO taco boats for less calories than I would ingest with just one taco in a shell.

So give it a try. It’s a perfect summer dish: cool, crisp and pretty.

How do you go about trimming a few extra calories from your diet to achieve your weight goals? Or to maintain your weight for those lucky enough to be in a healthy range?

And hey, don’t forget my psychological suspense/thriller/horror short story (plus a bonus inspirational short story) is now available on Amazon for just 99 cents. Jump to the book page by clicking on the cover below.

A new release!

I’m known in some parts as a romance girl–I read romance, write romance, and promote romance fiction, and I’m proud of it. But I’m also more than romance. I love mysteries and thrillers and horror and science fiction, among other things. So I’m happy to announce that this year I’ll be stretching my..er…pen into several different genres. To kick things off, I’d like to show you my new release, out today in Kindle format. Don’t worry if you don’t have a kindle. You can get a free reading app for your PC, Mac, Smartphone, or tablet (or just read it online using the Kindle cloud reader without downloading any software) by clicking here.

So without further ado, here is my new release, Of Heaven and Hell.

Explore the light and the dark side of faith in two new short stories from national bestselling, award-winning author Vickie Taylor.

At only 15 pages, it’s a short–but intense–read. And hey, it’s only 99 cents! You can buy it by clicking on the cover image above.

I hope you enjoy this first departure from my romance roots. Please let me know what you think by leaving a review on Amazon.com.


Available Now!

western romance novel boxed set

7 men as tough as the West. 7 women ready to Cowboy Up

Available Now!

Psychological Suspense short story with a bonus inspirational short story included

Coming Soon from Vickie Taylor

Fantasy Romance Novella

What am I reading today?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker - Just started, but I'm intrigued so far!

Last five books read:

TEXAS GOTHIC - Rosemary Clement-Moore - Awesome! Great fun and spooktastic at the same time!

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN - Ransom Riggs - Really creative idea. Enjoyed it very much!

BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - D.D. Scott - Very enjoyable, fun book!

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Diana Layne - Awesome! Get it now!

GOT YOUR NUMBER - Stephanie Bond - Fun little mystery!

What’s on my TBR List?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker

Reader’s Guide to E-publishing

Find your next e-book here!

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