Scottish Highland Cows

It all started in a conversation between Owen and Ahna, two of our family members at Big Bills.

“Do you think Michelle would like to photograph our cows?”

Heck yes! A date was set and I showed up! Before I begin I’d like to give you some background on this breed.

“Aptly named, Scottish Highland cows originated from Scotland and were commonly seen in the Highland region.

This area was known for harsher weather and other conditions where the cattle had to adapt quickly. That caused the region to be hard to survive in, so only the strongest of the bunch survived. There were originally multiple variations of this cattle, and because of this the breed has many unique characteristics.”

“The genetic makeup of the Scottish Highland breed is tough and has become even stronger over time. They have evolved to deal with tougher conditions and to fight off sickness.

Susanna, Ahna’s mother who gave me the Queens tour, is fearless. These cows are her pets, her babies. I followed her over the fence and into the pen. There I was, in the midst of these large docile animals and no further away than an arms length, and at times a body.

This breed of cattle tends to be very friendly with people, they are well behaved and like to have your attention. An exception to this is when they feel that their young are in danger. If that is the case beware. Highlanders are very smart animals and can actually be trained in many ways that other breeds do not have the capacity for. Though they possess horns, they tend to be very easy to work with.

This bull was in the pen with us also. He stayed a distance away, but always had his eyes on me (I think). You can distinguish a bull by the shape of their horns which suggest masculinity and strength.

Their horns are level with the ground and curve slightly forward. They may rise slightly towards the tip but nothing more.

The female Highlanders horns suggest majesty and femininity. They are narrower at the base than those of the bull, longer and finer at the tip, and should always rise after exiting the head.

The bull usually weighs in around 1,800 pounds, and the cow is close to 1,100 pounds when fully matured.

What are these cows raised for? I’ll let google tell you:

“The cattle beef has a marbled effect that makes it unique. It also has a savory flavor that is distinct from other beef dishes and is lower in cholesterol. Use it in stews with potatoes, peas, and carrots during the winter for a hearty meal.

You can also brown the meat and serve it as a main dish, stir fry it with vegetables, or fry it and serve with cheesy potatoes or mac n’ cheese for a special occasion. There are many other ways to cook and eat their meat, and they have recipes made specifically for cooking and serving it.”

Milk is another choice:

Highland Scottish cows produce up to two gallons of milk each day. People don’t typically raise them solely for their milk producing capabilities as production cows produce more milk.

However, one Highland cow will produce more than enough milk for a family. Their milk has a high butterfat content which can be used for drinking, baking, and cooking. For instance, the butterfat from the fresh milk will help make your stews thick and filling.

Not only were there Highlanders on this farm, I petted a Turkey, I petted a chicken, I rubbed noses with a horse and had it not been a chilly morning, I could have taken a dip in their crystal clear pond!

Thank you Susanna for a very fun morning!

INTRODUCING ……

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Mr. and Mrs. Ward

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Kevin and Lizzie Ward

June 20, 2020

Springtime, from my lens to yours …

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Other than the colors of Spring being spectacular I have never been a fan. Why you ask?

 Well, I like to say that Spring is our coldest season … and it is.  In the Winter time one dresses for the weather, but in the Spring season the temperatures can range from hot to down right cold  … and my coats are no where to be found.

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But this year is different. This year I have enjoyed every day, rain or shine, snow or sleet. I have become one with nature, another silver lining in this bizarre and peculiar time.

  With this virus controlled economy, and the state of being, I have had more time on my hands than necessary.

The upside? I have been out and about.  Fortunately, I live in a small community that has allowed its citizens to enjoy Gods ‘green’ earth.

Spring is the season of new beginnings, the buds are in bloom, critters are out and about, and the earth seems to rejoice once again.  However, if you blink you will miss it.

This is where I come in …

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How fortunate am I to have enjoyed, and loving, every minute I can of this cold, yet exquisite time of year.

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I am optimistic about life today.

This beauty, this metaphor,

 cannot be overshadowed, beaten down, or destroyed by a few more than necessary naysayers.

Good will prevail!

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The definition of Optimism:

* a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.

* the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.

* the belief that goodness pervades reality.

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Let’s enjoy this very awkward time that will never, God willing, happen again.  Count your blessings, enjoy your family and friends, take walks with the appropriate distance, wear a mask if required, or stay 6 feet away. Most importantly, don’t succumb to fear.

If you do, you lose.

Keep your head together, be your own best advocate, educate yourself, read both sides of the coin, check the facts, be safe and keep positive.  It’s a slippery slope when one gives up.  We must keep our wits about us, we must not stop living 

God Bless !

 

 

The Quaren-tini-tail

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    I hope you are well, safe, and staying positive. This pandemic has tossed us around, shook us up, and is now pouring us out …. out of our comfort zone.

Conversations have come to a crawl …  there is nothing to write home about.  But that doesn’t mean we need to stop living.  As dire as your mood may be, the silver linings are abundant … you just have to look.

My days include long walks, inhaling the colors, the sounds, and the new growth that is rich. Sharing a meal with my boys is not a thing of the past, and one on one with a friend is priceless.

Our list of projects have been started, but more importantly finished.  I have been enjoying my kitchen and cooking once again, sharing my soups and passing out biscuits. Giving back has been the most rewarding …

  Those are just a few of my blessings, there are plenty more …

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Now that I have had my say, let’s get to the bottom of this   …   or is it bottoms up ??   

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The Cherry Quaren-tini

  • ounces vodka
  • ounce kirsch
  • ounce cherry brandy
  • 1 ounce cherry juice … and a few Maraschino Cherries 

 

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The Limoncello Quaren-cocktail

  •  1 shot of Limoncello
  •  2 shots of Sanpellegrino
  •  3 shots of Prosecco
  •  lemon for garnish
  • sprig of mint for garnish that I forgot

 

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The Jalapeno Vodka Quaren-cocktail

  •  Jalapeno vodka
  •  Jalapeno for garnish
  •  hold the vermouth!

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….  and my favorite Quaren-cocktail of choice

The Dirty Gin Quaren-tini-tail

  •  Bombay Sapphire Gin
  •  Garlic stuffed large Olives
  •  some juice from the Olives

 

This post kept me busy. My sister planted the seed, and I watered it. Another lining rimmed with silver keeping my skills honed, my imagination vivid, and my whistle wet.

There needs to be an ‘Un-Quaren-tini-tail’  Party … keep me in the loop, I want to join in the celebration.   Hoping soon to see the smiles and hearing the laughter of friends and family from not so long ago …

Stay safe and enjoy life !

CIN CIN   or cheers!

 

 

 

And lastly, The Camels

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The Dromedary Camel is an ‘Old World Camel’.

It is estimated that the dromedary camel has been domesticated for perhaps 6000 years and has shaped the civilization of the entire world.

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Camels are very specialized animals. Their famous humps are stores not of water, but of fat, and can sustain them without water for as long as a month in the harshest desert conditions. They stand over 5 ft at the top of the head and weigh nearly 800 pounds.

They maintain themselves in conditions that would kill nearly any other creature, with specialized expanding feet and lips that can chew thorns and even specially shaped blood cells.

 They have a third, clear eyelid that protects their eyes from blowing sand. Two rows of long lashes also protect their eyes. Sand up the nose can be a problem, but not for camels, they can shut their nostrils during sand storms.

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The red blood cells of camels are not circular but oval shaped – unlike any other mammal on earth. The theory is that the oval shape allows blood to continue to circulate even if it is thickened from lack of hydration.

When resources are scarce and a camel is living off the fat of its hump, the hump slowly deflates, and may even flop over as the contents are depleted. And when a thirsty camel finally arrives at a water source it can easily drink up to 40 gallons in a matter of minutes.

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Camels like to stay together in groups called herds. The herds are led by a dominant male, while many of the other males form their own herd called a bachelor herd. Camels are very social and like to greet each other by blowing in each other’s faces.

Humans have used camels as a means of transport for thousands of years. They can carry about 375 to 600 lbs. on their backs. This earned these beasts of burden a nickname, “ships of the desert.” Domestic camels are often the main source of meat, milk and even leather or wool products.

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After a gestation of 12 to 14 months, a mother camel will find a private spot to have her young. Female camels usually only have one baby, but sometimes camels have twins.

Baby camels are called calves. The newborn calf is able to walk within 30 minutes, though the two won’t rejoin the herd until around two weeks later. Camels become fully mature when they are 7 years old and live to be about 17 years old.

Camels can run at 25 mph for long periods. If their owner is in a hurry, they can kick their speed up to 40 mph.

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Camels are known for spitting on people. In fact, the animals are throwing up the contents of their stomach along with their spit. This is a defense tactic when the animals feel threatened.

The large beasts make a variety of moans, groans and deep, throaty bellows. One of the camel’s noises was even used to voice the character Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies.

all the above from google

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The above photo was another group that joined us at camp that night.  This group knew how to have fun! At night, around the camp fire, they were a hootin’ and a hollerin’.  Next thing I knew I was right in the middle of it all, dancing under the stars in the Sahara Desert with a group of Arabs!  My pal Cathy also joined in,  the two from Chicago …

And let me remind you …. it is against the Muslim religion to drink.  Yep, they were having a grand ole’ time stone sober. 

Hmmm, no alcohol???  two weeks ?? Well, we did manage to hit a couple stores that sold beer and wine.  We purchased our wine and drank it with our meals.  However, to imbibe we had to hide our bottle under the table and refill our glasses down there too.  One time we used coffee cups as our vessel …  This only added to fun.

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I loved this country and it’s people, Morocco was unlike anywhere I have ever been, truly an eye opener.   Thank you Digital Photo Mentor and Danny for a great time! And to Ali our incredible guide …. !    www.digitalphotomentor.com