And I say it again and again.
Age comes with a price. A good price. A fair one. But a price nonetheless.
I would’ve always thought that that price had something more to do with wrinkles, a sligh crackling of the knees, a wheeze in the voice, headaches, heart disease, morning sickness, chronic back pain, dementia, blindness, loss of sexual organs and the like. But in THIS case. In MY case, my birthday brought a whole different class of “pain”.
Let me regress for a moment. Two months ago a hen that lives in the back of our yard started to “brood” meaning she would lay on the eggs to hatch them. This was amazingly exciting for us, the thought of hatching and raising baby chicks was something we had wanted to do for a while. Well it happened, a mere 22 days later after she began to brood. Baby chicks were born, two at first, beautiful, fragile, and VERY VERY well protected by their mama hen. It was wonderful, until three days after their hatching. We woke up, got the chicken feed, headed to the coop, and…gone, all gone, the eggs the mama was laying on, and the baby chicks? Nowhere to be found. They too…were gone. I noticed that there was dig holes all around the coop. This happened multiple times. There was a mean predator on the loose, one with the taste of baby chickens and eggs in it’s mouth. Time to take action. Emma and I headed down to the local Farmers store and picked up two “Live Traps”, we set them both up outside the coop where the dig holes were and put bait in there to catch the killer at hand. First morning all we found was Charly our cat stuck inside one of the traps. Poor Gal.
Well….Two mornings later (the morning of my birthday), there she was. The killer. A skunk. I was put in a predicament that I was hoping to avoid during my time in breathe. I had caught an animal, and an animal that had been long killing born and unborn fetuses from the flock of ladies that were under my care. I thought…
"No problem, i will somehow pick up the skunk and cage and release it on someone elses land. Now, not only is that completely unkind , but also i found out that to release a skunk on anyone elses land is highly illegal due to the destruction they can cause, and the diseases that they so often carry. And so, I made a choice. The skunk was to die. It might have been one of the hardest things I have had to do. To take the life of another creature whether for self protection, companion protection, animal protection, hunger, and or appetite is a very hard justification.
Now, I just finished typing all of the details of how I put her down, but to show a bit more respect to her and her part in this whole thing of life I chose to not include it in the post. I chose to defend my ladies by putting her down, and since that morning we have had no more break-ins or deaths. I wish her well wherever her energy has gone.
My Pain, her pain. The funeral.
After the funeral that morning Emma took me to the big city. She took me to my favorite thrift store, and then to my favorite (or one of them) Indian restaurants in downtown Salt Lake. The food was incredible. But the company? The company was even greater. I have spent 8 years of my short life with that beautiful lady and in that small, slightly dirty booth at the Indian restaurant I was overcome with IT. It being the feeling of overwhelming joy and happiness for having someone to share the good and the terrible. I couldn’t have went through with it that morning if it weren’t for the lady by my side. GOOD GOD! I am a lucky man.
Post lunching we headed to see birds at the Tracy Aviary, and on to the Broadway Theatre, where we would glue our eyes to the images that would race across, creating feelings of sadness, excitement and anticipation. The film? The new Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom. It was beautifully done, I felt young again, I felt again. And to FEEL! To FEEL ANYTHING!!! The movies ending began the setting of the days and her events. It had been a lot to take. A day of death, a day of life, a day of love and feeling. It was hard to take too much more. We drove home, talked with the dogs, paid a visit to the goats and headed to bed.
The day after my birthday The TEETH took me rock climbing on the holy mountain in Rock Canyon. It was a three pitch climb and it was wonderful. REAL friends elevate you. And it was elevation that I felt that HOT HOT june day.
HOLY MOUNTAIN climbing.
Four days later we had been invited out on the BIG BOAT with Tom and Susan (Emma’s parents) We were to fish, to converse, and to enjoy the beauty of the Deer Creek Reservoir. How could we say no? We couldn’t, and didn’t. The morning was early. 5:20am the alarm went off.
“KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK” on the door, and there was Tom.
“Let’s GO!” We hopped in the souped up Ram 3500. Listening to “Classic Vinyl” on satellite radio, Tom drove us to the dock at Deer Creek and we got the boat in the water. The day was new, the morning a bit brisk, but wonderful. We fished for 4 hours. Not a single one of us caught ANYTHING (There were five of us). But the commradery was wonderful, I enjoyed being with my family and one of my best friends. I couldn’t really ask for more.
Timmy The Teeth. Givin it HELL.
When we returned back home I noticed that there was a message in my email’s inbox that stated
“SLC EMERGENCY, Car Broken Down, Nowhere to Stay”
My interest was peaked. It was a message that comes from a wonderful community of people that open their homes to road weary travelers that have grown tired of the terribly overpriced and underwhelming status of the HOTEL industry. It is called couchsurfing. There is a whole website dedicated to it www.couchsurfing.org I decided to send the couple a message to tell them that my house was much too large for just me, my lover and my animals, and that we had way more food than our mouths could handle, that they were welcome to join us on the MTN. And join us they did. Emma and I got the idea to give them a “Welcome to Utah” BBQ. We invited the whole gang. We played croquet, dined on black bean burgers and homemade hummus, had a fire and ended with a raucous rock n roll session. It was a night none of us would soon forget. I thank them for causing such an occasion. It is now Tuesday and I am grateful for what has been bestowed to me by the mysticness of life. GOOD GOD IT IS BEAUTIFUL!
I love her. She loves me.
Here are 2 recipes that I have made recently that I found UNBELIEVABLY delicious. Especially the Lima Bean Dish. Now, I know that lima beans get a bad rap, but PLEAZE try it. UNREAL.
LIVE LIFE. LIVE ON!
Giant Chipotle White Beans Recipe
(stolen from 101cookbooks.com)
1 pound of large, dried white beans (corona, giant limas, gigantes, or any giant white beans you can find), rinsed, picked over and soaked overnight - or up to 24 hours.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 big pinches of red pepper flakes
2 pinches of salt
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
1 medium clove of garlic
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
big pinch of salt
2/3 cup kale or chard, washed, de-stemmed, and very finely chopped (we used Beet tops from the garden instead)
1 1/2 cup whole-grain breadcrumbs, toasted in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil
To prepare the beans. Drain and rinse the beans after their overnight soak. Then place them in a large saucepan and cover with an inch or two of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the beans are cooked through and just tender. This can take anywhere from an hour to two hours (potentially more) depending on your beans, but do your best to avoid overcooking. Remove from heat, salt the beans (still in bean broth) with about a tablespoon of salt - enough that the bean liquid is tasty but on the salty side. Let the beans sit like this for ten minutes or so before draining and setting the beans aside.
In the meantime, make your tomato sauce. Place the 2 tablespoons olive oil, red pepper flakes, couple pinches of salt, and chopped garlic into a cold medium saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant - you don’t want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and the fresh oregano and heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the adobo sauce - carefully take a taste (you don’t want to burn your tongue)…If the sauce needs more salt add it now, more chipotle flavor? Go for it. Set aside.
Make the cilantro pesto by combining the clove of garlic and cilantro in a food processor. Pulse while you drizzle in the olive oil - alternately, you could do this by hand. Season with a bit of salt and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. In a 9x13 baking pan (or large oven-proof casserole/dutch oven) toss the beans with the tomato sauce and the kale. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the top-third of the oven for roughly thirty to forty minutes, Remove from oven and let sit for about ten minutes. Top the beans with the breadcrumbs and just before serving drizzle with the cilantro pesto.
Serves about 6.
High Protein Vegan Breakfast Burrito
(stolen from www.ohsheglows.com)
Yield: Four (3/4 cup) servings
- 1 package extra-firm tofu, rinsed and pressed
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups diced sweet onion (about 1 medium)
- 1 cup diced potato (~115 grams or half a medium potato)
- 1.5 cups sliced mushrooms (we used zucchini instead, we didn’t have any mushrooms on hand at the time, and it was still unbelievably tasty)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3-4 tbsp minced fresh basil (we used dried basil)
- 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- 1-1.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt (or to taste) + black pepper
- For garnish: chopped pineapple, salsa, green onion, Herbamare…or whatever you like!
1. Press tofu: Rinse the tofu with water and place a couple kitchen towels on the counter. Wrap the tofu with another towel, place another towel on top, and finally place several heavy cookbooks on top. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to soak out the water. Alternatively, you can use a tofu press if you have one.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onion for a few minutes over medium heat. Add in the diced potato and mushrooms and sauté for 12 minutes, reducing heat if necessary and stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
3. Remove tofu from towels and dice on chopping board. You want the tofu very small (see picture below). Now, reduce heat to low and stir in the nutritional yeast, tofu, fresh herbs, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking on low until potato is cooked through, only a few more minutes, if necessary.
4. Add 3/4 cup of the mixture on a large tortilla wrap, spoon on salsa, and top with Daiya cheese and chopped green onion if desired.
Approx Nutritional Info (per 3/4 cup, without wrap or garnishes): 183 kcals, 5 g fat (1 g sat fat), 331 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 6 g fibre, 6 g sugar, 17 g protein.
Band of Brothers
P.S. There have been fires lately that have consumed thousands of acres of land in Utah. Photo taken by my lover, Emma.