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Friday, February 6, 2015

Mani-Pedi

I, Fenway Bartholomule, had the esteemed privilege of receiving a professional mani-pedi from none other than Northwest Hoofcare's Ali McMahon yesterday! During the procedure, I was accused of looking baleful, forlorn, woeful, and even morose. My excuse? I don't usually like to hold hands on the first date. Nonetheless, I was a gentleman—and yes, she wants to see me again!

This morning, on the other hand, I am enjoying my beautiful, symmetrical, and athletically-balanced hoofies. In fact, I awoke feeling like a coiled panther, balanced on four chiseled, muscular limbs and ready to spring with a predator's grace on the first flake of hay to show itself. It came sailing over the fence, and I pounced. It was demolished.

Miss Arrietty got a rating of 9 for manners and 10 for cuteness—and if there's one thing I like better than being told how handsome I am, it's being told what a beautiful girlfriend I have.

Thank you, Ali. Next time, can you add some little lacquer palm trees?


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fenway Bartholomule's 2015 State of the Farmlet Address

Friends, humans, and fellow hoofpeople,

It is my pleasure to greet you this afternoon from the sunlit slope of my own dear paddock, which measures 21 feet by 400 feet and sits in one corner of four wooded acres of particular beauty. I gaze down from my lofty realm upon a grassy lawn, still green despite the travails of the long, dark Solstice season, and see below me a charming barn ideal in location and proportion for both yours truly and my darling Arrietty.


I, Fenway Bartholomule, am sound, round, and happily blanketed against the battery of winter rain. My mood has improved considerably since Christmas Eve, at which time I was permitted entry for the first time into my new barn. In December, I was grinding my teeth and weaving in my free moments. This month, I spend them dozing, strolling, and grooming my Arrietty's withers with my powerful but gentle incisors. Life is good.



My little barn provides a roof over my head, and what it lacks in trim, paint, gutters, or interior walls it more than makes up for in beauty and comfort. Construction is on hold until the next influx of money, but I couldn't be more happy with it in the meantime! By spring, it will be painted red and buttoned up nicely.



Miss Arrietty is recently afflicted with a locking stifle, for which problem FarmWife will be enlisting the aid of a skilled barefoot hoof trimmer. We do not doubt that Miss Arrietty can overcome this challenge, solutions to which may range from a shortened toe to a restrictive diet. Egads, one hopes it does not come to THAT.


Missy, Empress of All the Light Touches, is getting on much as every good old goat does: with a middling appetite, a reasonable degree of frolicksomness, and a bit of stiffness in the joints. As long as she can still get up for breakfast, enjoy a daily walk and a twice-daily back scratch, and cavort on those occasions when the scent of spring seeps into her heart, we think of her as happy.


The houseweasels (AKA dogs), Clover and Russell, are enjoying the layout of our new property—specifically, the lawn encircling the entire house. It is the perfect track for their daily zoomies—good for the maintenance of happy hearts, both literally and figuratively. With the amount of running they do, their cardiovascular fitness must be second to none. I am still a little bit jealous of how they get to sleep under FarmWife's covers while yours truly does not, but I try to be a man about it.




Desmond, the more regal of our two housetigers, hardly deigns to set paw outdoors anymore. At the tender young age of 10 he has already decided that he is too mature for things like weather, or dirt, or unfiltered sunbeams. He spends most of his time lounging about on the rug or the furniture with his eyes half-slitted in a look of worldly contemplation. He remains, like me, a specimen of stunning physical excellence.


Townes, our second housetiger, is in need of a vet visit due to what may be a recurrence of his chronic herpes or what may be something worse. He seems to have developed conjunctivitis in his left eye today, and has a sudden painful swelling on the same side of his face. I do not dare hypothesize—but FarmWife, who ALWAYS ventures a diagnosis in such cases, suspects an abscess in the vicinity of his molars or jaw. Tomorrow, he meets his new veterinarian for the first time since moving this summer. His urinary health remains fragile, and his lifelong condition of impaired neurological function combined with his current acute discomfort makes him look like a sad sack indeed!



Our little rats, Lily, Tippy, and Marion, are delighting everyone with their tender little fingers and slender little tails and darling little ears and shiny little eyes and glossy little coats and teeny little tongues and tickly little whiskers and . . . . you get the idea. They are adored. If you could meet them, you would adore them too. I do not wish to invite a dialog on the merits of barn rats, but merely to invite you welcome these three as members of our glad little family.



The minimules, AKA rabbits, could not be happier. They are in marvelous health, and enjoy the company of both one another and the humans immensely. Their new quarters are arguably more comfortable than their old quarters in Wickersham, seeing as the ceiling of their outside run is now tall enough for human entry (without stooping). Harriet remains the softest animal this side of the Mississippi, and Beyonce the cutest (present company, plus Arrietty, excluded).






The humans are well. The small ones are now in 9th, 4th, and 2nd grades, respectively! I'm told that R. is learning to do organic vegetable gardening as part of her 2nd grade curriculum, which I find to be very exciting. I wonder when the carrot unit is due to begin? Will she have to turn in a final project? Will I get to eat it after it's been graded? She and her sister D. are studying the art of taekwondo, which I presume to mean that they will be able to defend my paddock against invasion with their skilled execution of knife hand strikes and spinning side kicks. Mulenappers beware!

Photo courtesy Armstrongs Taekwondo

FarmWife is gainfully employed in managing communications for an environmental & social justice non-profit, and her office is a 100 acre conference/retreat center where she and her colleagues convene and support leaders in their work of enacting positive change. FarmHusband is gainfully employed in building giant steel oceangoing vessels, and his office is a shipyard spanning four city blocks. One could not hope for a wider range of professional skills in a married couple. They are both very busy, which means I get more hay than attention . . . but one cannot complain.

When FarmWife is not at work, she is usually caring for her family—and when she is not caring for her family, she is usually doing vegan/animal rights education and advocacy. She has also developed the inscrutable habit of exercising daily, to which she attributes her ability to actually work all day and still have energy for home and hobbies. Can you even imagine? She has discovered that there is some pleasure in daily physical exertion, and so each evening she jumps around the living room and hefts steel objects into the air for half an hour. I watch through the window, trying to wrap my head around it.


Each evening, inspired by her efforts, I exert myself by rolling once on the left—then rising—then rolling once on the right. Then, with visions of breakfast dancing in my head, I enjoy the restoration of sleep.

I bray for your happiness and good health.

Ears to you,
Fenway Bartholomule
Chief Mule of Mossflower Wood




Friday, December 12, 2014

Vegan Spring Rolls

I, Fenway Bartholomule, am a vegan: of course I only eat plants, not people! My human is too, so I'm sharing my blog with her today so that she can participate in the 2014 Virtual Vegan Potluck! When you're done perusing the recipe for these delicious spring rolls, click "back" or "forward" for the entire potluck experience!

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Spring Roll Appetizers

Beautiful? Check. Healthy? Check. Delicious? Check. Easy? Check. Fancy? Check. Quick to clean up after? Check. Vegan? OF COURSE! If you're looking for something portable, colorful, and crowd-pleasing for your next potluck, look no further than these simple vegan spring rolls! The best part? You can substitute ANYTHING. I never make these the same way twice, so play around with cilantro, kale, cabbage, scallions, or whatever you think sounds good!



Ingredients

  • Veggie mix:
    • 2 carrots (grated)
    • 4 oz mung bean sprouts
    • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts (raw, or roasted and salted) or other nuts
    • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
    • the juice from half a lime
    • 3 tbsp mae ploy sauce (sweet chili sauce), or sub 2 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tbsp hot sauce
    • 1 tsp organic sugar
    • 1 tbsp ume plum vinegar (or substitute soy sauce)
  • 10 spring roll skins
  • 3 oz. thin rice noodles or glass noodles
  • 2/3 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 oz. fresh basil, removed from stems

Directions

Prepare veggie mix, cucumbers, and avocado while bringing 2 quarts of water to a bowl in a medium saucepan and an inch of water to a boil separately, in a large iron skillet. 

When water boils, turn it off and prepare noodles according to package instructions—usually, by soaking them in hot water for just a few minutes. Rinse with cool water, and drain.

Allow a spring roll wrapper to soak in the skillet, with heat off, until pliable. 

Gently spread wrapper on a cutting board, then place the next wrapper in the skillet to soak.

Layer ingredients, about 2 tbsp. of each, in this order: basil leaves, then noodles, then veggie mix, then cucumber and avocado.  


Close the spring roll wrapper by tucking in the sides, then folding up the bottom and rolling it into a tidy package. 

Serve with peanut sauce or sweet and sour sauce. 

I recommend this dipping sauce: 
  • 6 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • enough water to make consistency dippable, about 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger; all ingredients whisked over a low flame until warm. 
  • Cilantro or crushed peanuts for garnish.


For more great recipes, continue on! Go back for Edamame-Coconut Trifle with Spelt Crumble by Juicy Dishes, or forward for Walnut Falafel sliders with pickled beetroot and a lemon mayo by VegHotPot!












Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ears to you all!


My beloved friends—hello! It has been some time since you've heard from me. I've passed these months in relative contentment, watching the progress of my barn (coming along, coming along!) and learning the ins and outs of our new neighborhood (bray-borhood?).

There are a number of beautiful brown deer with whom I share my home, and I hardly lift my head when they hop in and out of my paddock on their daily meanderings. There is one white and brown pinto deer who scares the shish kebabs out of me. I spook, bolt, stare, and snort when he passes by. My humans can't understand why he strikes me through with abject terror, but I say it's simple: whoever attacked that poor deer with a bucket of bleach is coming after me next! 

There are 30 tons of fine gravel, 700 square feet of geotextile fabric, and a beautiful 2 story barn with a 320 square foot footprint, in a state of partial completion, at the top of my little hill right now. I have not yet been permitted to set foot therein, but I am assured that all will be most gloriously comfortable for me as soon as preparations are complete. In the meantime, Miss Arrietty and I are slogging about in some muddy mud while we wait for that day to come, but we're being well fed! It could be worse.

Grandpa comes every weekend with his little white tractor, moving manure hither and thither, moving gravel hither and thither, moving dirt hither and thither. FarmWife says she could get used to having all her chores done by machine! 

This weekend, FarmWife is going to share a vegan spring roll recipe here on my blog as part of the annual Virtual Vegan Potluck. Check it out! It is going to be AWESOME. In exchange for letting her borrow my blog for the purpose, I've pulled from her a promise to help me blog more often, myself. I'm bursting with ideas, but until someone invents a hoof-sensitive touchpad I'm going to need her continued transcription services! 

We have three more family members—Lily, Tippy, and Marion, the rats—and I'm due to report on Missy, who enjoying her golden years in the paddock beside my own. 

Life is good—hay is sweet—time for me to go and eat! 

Brayfully yours, 

Fenway Bartholomule