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Where horses are Food, not friends

19 Aug

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Let me get this right out in the open.  Kazakhstan is not a place for vegetarians or animal rights activists.  The population was halved by Stalin using starvation and gulags.  Kazakhstan values its children.  They are a main priority.  Animals are primarily for food.  In Kazakhstan people eat horses, cattle, sheep, goats, fish, chickens.  Though I never saw any pigs or pork I was told it, too, is available.  On the vast steppe one sees herds of hundreds of cattle, or horses, or sheep and goats grazing without fences in the care of one to three herders.

Horse meat is readily available in the bazaars.  Along with horse sausage.

IMG_0591Horse has yellow fat, which similar to venison, is around the outside of muscles rather than in the muscle tissue itself (like beef).  It is a lean meat.  The horse meat we ate was either boiled, steamed, or in some kind of sausage.

IMG_0340Behold Beshbarmak, literally “five fingers”.  Historically (and even currently) eaten with the hands, hence the name.  The horse is boiled in salted water, removed and large thin rounds of home made noodles are added to the salty broth to cook.  Meanwhile, thinly sliced onions are cooked in horse fat.  When the noodles are done, they are placed on a platter, then the horse, then the onions scattered over the top.  It is delicious.  Sometimes potatoes were cooked before the noodles and added.

IMG_1639Another bishbarmak, with horse sausage.   And yes, most people eat at least some of the fat.

IMG_1664My plate at a party.  Yum!

IMG_1797The other main way we ate horse was in manti, steamed dumplings filled with chopped horse, potato and, onion.

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Isabelle and I had fun learning to package the manti correctly.

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Manti were very popular.  Eaten hot right out of the steamer, maybe with a little hot pepper sprinkled on.

And here is another boiled horse dish which has thin noodles (they were called strudel) that are layered and boiled after the horse meat and potatoes.

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Here is a link to an old NYTimes article on Kazakh horse use.

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Autumn Harvests

15 Oct

Jay bought a new bow this fall.  The first new bow in over 20 years.  On one of his first times out hunting with it, he shot a turkey.  He was hunting deer.For a week or so Jay has been watching the deer which come to feed on the neighbor’s oak mast in the evenings, figuring their routes, the wind, where to put a blind, etc.

When he put the blind up in a small spot of woods near the oaks, the deer changed their route.  You might change the way you came to table too if a small box appeared in a corner of your dining room.

So he put up a stand in a white pine higher on the trail they use.  Friday night the wind was right.  He left a walkie-talkie with me and went out. About 30 minutes before dusk he called to say he shot a fawn.B y the time I made it over there, he had also shot a buck.  Two deer on one hunt with bow!

When we walked up the trail the buck had taken and crested a rise, there were two deer in the distance- a buck and a doe.  Two much larger bucks appeared in the further distance.  We eventually retreated and Jay waited for full dark.  Henry came to help him look.

The first buck we had spied had started and turned while we were watching it; the guys eventually found it had startled at the carcass of the buck Jay had shot.

 

A nice 8 point buck which Jay and Daren have yet to decide whether it is a yearling or two year old.

Friday night was also the coldest night so far this fall.  It got down to the low 20’s F.  Sunday I picked these:  a large acorn, one of the few horse chestnuts from our tree, and in the middle one of the first (very small) persimmons from the tree Jay started from a whip.

 

I nibbled just a tad on the persimmon.  This morning, though, I ate most of it.  Then promptly ran to the bathroom to brush my tongue and mouth before I vomited.  The sites I read afterward are correct: unripe persimmon is like talcum powder on the tongue.  We will leave the rest until after frost.  Or put them in a bag with some apples as ethylene gas ripens them.

Angels We Have Heard

19 Dec

There are quite a few scripture passages about people being afraid when they see angels.  And the angels are not described, so we assume

they look human-like. Winged messengers from God.  But what if:

There are giant chicken angels over the one small nativity we have out so far this year.

One of the visiting chickens, a Red Comet, accidentally stayed outside Thursday night when there were high winds.  Jay found her Friday morning wandering by the side of the house and returned her to the coop. We think she spent the night in the giant rhododendron. Chickens are not meant to spend the night out-of-doors in the cold winds. There were small spots of blood on the snow where she walked.  Her back end was icy.

Yet she seemed OK until Saturday  late in the day when Jay noticed she was not eating and was hanging apart from the other hens.  She was very light.  He moved her into a pen in the basement, warmer, dry.  Jay coaxed her to start drinking; she was interested but kept falling asleep–or was very hypothermic.  Eventually she started drinking, then drinking with gusto, then eating again; wheat, corn meal, apple.  I put her out with the others this morning.

Stalking the Wild Antlered Beast

18 Dec

Hunting was not as productive this year.  Yet for the first time in his hunting career Jay sighted,  stalked, and shot this 7-pt yearling buck the Thursday afternoon before gun season ended in a fallow huckleberry field a tenth of a mile from our home.

Season Change

1 Nov

The ancients were correct that this time of year is transitional. Just in the past week the weather has changed: snow twice, hard freezes.  Those freezes mark the end of raspberries from the garden, ferns near the house, bright leaves on the trees.

The rest of the apples need to be picked, and the stems of wild rose hips for bouquets.  The lst hydrangeas picked before the snow:

 

The girl spent more of her birthday money on a new haircut:  a long shag.  Almost half her hair was cut off but it is hard to tell, she has so much!

And I am readying for a trip to visit friends in a far off land, my first visit to the Mediterranean and the Mid-east.  Pounce looked last night like he was waiting to be packed!

He has been joining Hawthorne and me on our morning walks.

Field Trip

31 Oct

The four-foot-long orange Corn snake, Goldilocks, who lives here and helps by eating rodents we catch, went on a field trip last week.  A young lady from the local herpotology club picked her up from Jay’s office and then brought her back home after she had visited the local middle school.  She is a perfect color for a Halloween visit!

When the young lady learned that we feed Goldilocks live and freshly dead mice and voles, she was alarmed.  It seems to her captive snakes should be fed only freshly dead captive raised mice!  When I inquired about the reason for her belief, she said that “wild rodents carry disease and may bite the snake”!

Umm.  Yes.  We think that God designed snakes to deal with bites and germs.

Now I am assuming, which is not a wise thing to do, but it is to make a point.  Why would a good Darwinist not want a snake to be challenged by live prey?  Survival of the fittest, and all that.

For my part, I think it is cruel to keep a snake in a tank all its life and never be able to constrict its own prey, never able to hunt, however artificial it is in the confines of the tank, never to eat “natural” food.

For a similar reason I take Goldilocks outside and let her slither around.  Under observation.  Perhaps that is not “safe” either, but, gee whiz, life is not all about safety, even for a pet snake!

Where the Wild Things Are

22 Oct

Last weekend we sent to the farm. A Monarch came back tot the house.  It was found in the grass beside a cornfield being battered by the wind and rain.  It lived in the kitchen for over a day and then went outside. A second one was seen flying around the next day up by the airstrip.

Monday friends from overseas came to supper.  M especially liked the squirrels!

The mornings are colder now.  A bow hunter parked in the lane this morning.  It is deer season.  Jay went out and shot a pheasant with a bow!  A first!

When walking, the crunchy noise emanating from the drifts and layers of leaves  is so delightful it often takes my mind off what was being thought about.

One topic of repeated consideration is how much God has used/ is using Hawthorne to teach me about parenting.  Here are today’s thoughts:

Because of the hunter, this morning Hawthorne was on a leash for most of our time together.  He tends to pull, wanting me to go faster, or the way he wishes.  Not unlike a teen.  What works best?  Each time he pulls, I stop and stand still until he comes toward me, making the line slack.  It takes a long time to actually go anywhere by this method since it has to be repeated every few seconds for the first ten minutes.  But gradually he remembers.  Near the the end of the walk he kept the line taut but never pulled hard and always gave way if I slowed down or changed direction.  Then he went off lead for the last two fields home.  Hurrah!   Our children also have pulled on the lead ropes, wanting their head, wanting their way before we parents thought it was time.  And the best way to train them is to not give in.  And not yell.  Just quietly refuse to do business with their ideas of what is appropriate and slowly walk on.  And let them loose when it is time.

The girl just had a (to her) significant birthday: we will now allow her to wear a modicum of eye and face makeup.  The leash is loosening.  and today i heard her say that this year was going to be “the best: no lying, no deception!”  Straining at the leach.  I’m sure.

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