Friday, January 25, 2008

Berk's day off the farm.

Neil and I were up early this morning as today Berk, one of our Anatolian Shepard Dogs, was scheduled to be neutered at the vet in town. He needed to be at the vet's office at 8am and that is almost 30 minutes from us. I scheduled it to be done on a day that Neil would be home from work so Neil could help me load him into the Suburban. As a livestock guard dog, Berk does not wear a collar nor is he leash trained. You simply can not walk him from the pasture to the vehicle on lead. We needed to take the large wire dog kennel into the pasture and then lure him into it with some food (without having him eat it!). Berk did not want to go in and pushing him was not an option if we wanted to keep the flesh on our shines intact! After we finally got him into the kennel the two of us had to carry that 150lb beast of a dog through a gate, then a door and finally up into the back of the Suburban.

I delivered Berk to the vets right on time. I helped the techs carry him into an exam room through a back door and then waited for the vet so I could help get a muzzle on him and give him has pre-anesthetic injection. Now, I might have been overly cautious about Berk but there was a great potential for things to go wrong. Berk is a wonderful dog when he is in his pasture doing his job protecting our livestock and us, but not even I would attempt to force him to do anything without risking a limb. Getting him in a sleeping state as soon as possible was the safest way to go about things.

This vet's normal procedure (which was thrown out the window for Berk) is to keep surgery patients until at least 6pm or later before going home. The vet and I discussed this before hand and we agreed that he should go home as soon as possible. Still he estimated it would be around 2pm before Berk could go home. Let's say I wasn't surprised when I got a call just after noon that I could come and get him at any time!

Tonight Berk seems fine. He spent the afternoon in the 10x10 catch pen by himself recovering fully. He was quite happy to be released back into the pasture.

Last night I started a batch of sourdough bread and set it by the wood stove to proof over night. So today, while at home, I punched it down and shaped it into two loaves and set them back by the fire to proof a second time. The second proof took about 3 hours and then into the oven they went. I made these loaves with 50% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour and %50 Organic AP Flour both from King Arthur Flour and they came out as a very tasty but dense loaf. The dense nature had more to do with my neglected sourdough starter then the flour I am sure. I should have fed my starter for a few more days before trying to use it. Still the loaves are very tasty, at least to the adults in the house, the kids don't care for the flavor of sourdough yet.

For those not familiar with sourdough I have found that the Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin "Baking with Sourdough" by Sara Pitzer a wonderful resource to begin your adventure in sourdough. On the most basic level a sourdough starter is created by catching "wild" yeasts in a mixture of flour and water. These living yeasts feed on the flour and in doing so produce gases that cause a dough to rise. Like any living thing your starter must be cared for and fed regularly or risk killing it off. The more you use your starter the healthier it will become.

The chickens gave 17 eggs today.

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