Jen Pietsch
Orcas Island, WA

I love spending time outdoors, gardening, running and raising my fleeced friends!
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Sunday, December 30, 2007

postheadericon Bing and the Chocolate Factory

"We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." -- Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Oh my, our little dog "Bing" the Border Terrier has just eaten a pound of Toblorone chocolate while I was out on a run. The children don't seem alarmed; although they did pick up the wrappers... Thanks guys! And now my husband has gone off screaming like a g--l about the dog dying and it being all my fault on account of my weakness for chocolate.

"Jen, Call Animal 9-1-1 and tell them we are on our way!"
screaches my husband.

"Whoah Nelly," I think to myself, "I am going to have to handle animal emergencies much worse than this soon enough, and let's face it, I don't want to have to foot the vet bill every time. I can do this -- at least I can try! Heck, I'd better be able to -- in less than a year I'll be birthing cria with a catcher's mitt. Right?"

"Mam, Was it milk chocolate or dark?" says the bland
voice on the other end of the phone.

Why the type of chocolate should matter, to this moment I haven't a clue. I do know, however, from reading a recent New Scientist article, that cacao beans are deadly to dogs. They apparently don't have the genes to process the stuff -- poor dears!

"Milk with almonds and nougat, you know Swiss-Toblorone,
the good stuff, "
I quip with my best "strong" voice.

The receptionist kindly instructs me to "induce vomiting" by making Bing "ingest" 2-3 Tablespoons of Hydrogen Peroxide. Thankfully, we have some on hand but no, funny how she didn't manage to outline how one forces their pup to "ingest" peroxide! Now here is how I envision the proceedure: 1) catch dog, 2) hold dog, 3) make dog drink what dog doesn't want to drink, 4) rock dog midly for good measure, 5) get dog outside, and finally 6) watch dog vomit. Piece of cake, right? Is it ever?

So I ask my dear husband and partner in life to help me catch Bing, "I don't want a kidney, Dear, I just want you to hold the d-mn dog while I force this peroxide down his throat!" Needless to say, I am on my own...

Catch, dose and release -- ahh, here is where I manage to miss a critical step as previously envisioned, and I release Bing not outside -- but into the house -- and now we have chocolate-smelling dog vomit all over the joint. Talk about lessons learned! Well, at least Bing is safe.

Here is to greater, more pleasant (if less sweet smelling) adventures in the New Year!

A Helpful Link ~ What to do if your Dog Eats Chocolate

Saturday, December 29, 2007

postheadericon Orcas Island Moon Rise

Friday, December 28, 2007

postheadericon Reflection

Normal day,
let me be aware
of the treasure you are.

Let me learn from you,
love you, bless you
before you depart.

Let me not pass you by
in quest of some rare and
perfect tomorrow.

Let me hold you
while I may, for
it may not always be so.

--Mary Jean Iron

postheadericon Letter to Friends

December 2007

Dear Friends & Family,

Our little news has apparently flown the coup. We had really wanted to tell you each in person, but now that it's out there -- the rumor is true: the Pietsch's have "bought the farm" -or- "gone 'round the bend" -- choose your favorite fun idiom! As of last spring, favorable real estate conditions and Jeff's location independent job have allowed us to pursue a long-held dream of moving our family to a "small island in the Pacific" (Northwest, that is).

The decision was both very difficult, and very easy. The hard part, of course, being the thought of leaving our home of ten years and all the close friends and memories it now holds for both us and our children. In particular, we will miss our dear neighbors and long-standing friends from our faith community at St. Athanasius. The easy part -- where we are going is a place of tremendous natural beauty and presents what we believe will be an exceptional childhood experience for Garett, Kahana and Luke.

It is difficult for us to believe that Garett will soon be entering high school! Time moves too quickly and it won't be long before Kahana and Luke are there as well. By the same token, we are quite cognizant that this may be either the best or worst decision we will ever make together as a family. Here are the facts:

  • Where: Orcas Island, Washington -- An island about twice the size of Manhattan in the center of the Salish Sea/ Puget Sound, featuring dramatically varied terrain and a small, tight-knit community of about 5,000. It is about two hours north of Seattle, but with about half as much rain!

  • What: A working, twenty-acre alpaca farm and forest lands -- "Orcas Moon Alpacas." Yes, you read that correctly. Are you surprised, really?

  • When: Sometime next June after school lets out.

Jennifer is already seeking a new teaching position, and Jeff will continue to operate his business in collaboration with Mr. John Wiley. And, the schools are excellent thanks to strong support among the islanders. Gary Larson, for those of you old enough to recall the cartoonist's name, is apparently one of our neighbors!

We are so very blessed and excited to share this news with you, and look forward to filling you in soon with more detail face to face. We have so appreciated all of your support and friendship through the years. On that note, our boys will need all the support you've got as they face this exciting, but significant change in their lives. We hope you will come visit us!

Again, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year. Please feel free to share this as you wish, and our apologies if we've missed you on the first pass.

Me ke aloha palena 'ole,
The Pietsch's

postheadericon Winkin, Blinkin and Nod

Winkin, Blinkin and Nod one night
sailed off in a wooden shoe.
Sailed on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going and what do you wish?"
The Old Moon asked the three.
"We've come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea

Nets of silver and gold have we,"
Said Winkin, Blinkin and Nod.

The Old Moon laughed and sang a song,
as they rocked in the wooden shoe.
And the wind that sped them all night long, ruffled the waves of dew.
"Cast your nets wherever you wish, never a-feared are we,"
So cried the stars to the fishermen three
Winkin, Blinkin and Nod.

So all night long their nets they threw to the stars on the twinkling foam.
Then down from the sky came the wooden shoe,
bringing the fishermen home.
'Twas all so pretty a sight it seamed, as if it could not be,
And some folks thought 'twas a dream they dreamed,
of sailing that beautiful sea.
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Winkin, Blinkin and Nod....

--Eugene Field

postheadericon What's in a Name?

Dear Reader:

"Honey," said my husband, "you've just gotta pick a name for that blog and start writing. Here, I've reserved ten for you. Now please just pick one, sit down and write -- you have fifteen alpacas to market!" It's that sitting down part I hate!

Now over the years, I have been asked to name many things, but the frequency of this request has really gone full tilt since we decided last Fall to acquire a new home, farm, business, lifestyle and future in the middle of the Puget Sound! All this in one fell swoop. Who knew one "simple" decision would require so much naming? Did I mention I can't sit still for such things? Ah, the "farmer's life" for me. But first, that incessant naming...

  • "Jen - Can you name the farm?" - Be careful, Jen, you will have to live with this name and it will become your brand. My MBA marketing classes somehow left me quite unprepared to for this one! We selected "Orcas Moon Alpacas." Yes, you read that correctly, it's an alpaca farm. (More on that later!)

  • "Jen - Can you name the baby cria?" - Be careful here, Jen, you want to select a name that you can use to market them: strong, but gentle... not silly. My children thought "Fluffy" was a suitable name; I chose "Channel" in keeping with this season's designer theme. Oh, by the way, a cria is a baby alpaca!

  • "Mama - Can you name the guinea pig babies?" - Are you kidding me guys; that's what I have you, my children, for!

Well, you get the idea, lots of naming to be done. And these are the relatively easy decisions! The bare-bones of it: we have a 20-acre farm complete with 15 alpacas and eight chickens, and are now planning to move our entire family of three children, three dogs, a guinea pig, a gerbil and half-a-dozen or so Lady Gould finches some 3,000 miles westward from the northern suburbs of Chicago, Illinois to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Northwest, Washington -- all to live the farming life. After all, I've always been a farmer at heart.. hey! How is that for a blog name? Isn't life grand?

Welcome to our Adventure,
Your "Farmer at Heart"
Jennifer Pietsch