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Christmas Week is Flying By!

It’s been a surprisingly busy week, considering I am supposed to be just sitting at home doing my work.  I’ve had the dogs out to my friend Jay’s farm a few times now, which has been a lot of fun and given me some fresh air and them the exercise and brain work they need.  I so wish I could train more regularly.  I am starting to put my own brain into high focus on trying to sort out how to improve my sheep access for the coming year.

I have also been working on getting my back and general health into shape, at last, after the accident.  I am realizing now just how important it is to seek help as soon as possible after a trauma of this sort.  I didn’t think I had much to worry about since I wasn’t overtly injured in the accident, i.e. no cuts, bruises, broken bones etc.  But the effect of the impact on my body has become clear over the ensuing weeks.  My back started to hurt, I started waking up many times a night, developing inflammatory pain in my hands and one foot and so on.  Strange stuff.  And getting worse with every passing week.  I finally went to see an osteopath last week and she determined that my spine had been compacted by close to a centimeter, my hips were misaligned, various joints had seized and that my internal organs were all out of place.  Whoa!  What a mess!

Osteopathy is the gentlest means of realigning the body, using deep tissue massage and other very subtle techniques.  After one session, I slept better than I have in weeks.  I had a second session yesterday, and she did more work on my back including massaging some pressure points.  I could hardly hold my eyes open for the rest of the day!  Obviously something was released as today I feel even better.  I go again tomorrow.

Today I met with a new homeopath, who will hopefully be able to help me with sleep and other less tangible issues that have stemmed from the accident.  Our initial consultation session took 4.5 hours!  She did not decide on a remedy for me, even after all of that time, and is going to work through my case carefully before prescribing.  How different this is from conventional medicine, where doctors only have a couple of minutes to figure out what you might need.

After yesterday’s adjustment session, I was too tired to do much mental work.  Instead, I did some basic chores in the kitchen: making bread and yogurt.  I had to run to the mall to buy a thermometer for the yogurt, and a pizza stone for the bread.  What a mob scene!  If that crowd is any indication, we are not having any collective economic concerns.  Two days after boxing day and the place was still packed.  I popped into Benix and bought their last two pizza stones, on sale for $8.99 each.  I then managed to get out of the mall without being out trampled!

Once home, I started on phase two of my bread baking experiment.  I decided to use this recipe as I left my bread book behind this trip. This was my first time trying sourdough with a new recipe.  I also woke up the starter in a different way than I usually do.  My sister-in-law said that she just adds a table spoon for so each of flour and water, every time she thinks of it (i.e. every couple of hours) over a day or two.  Soon the starter is bubbly and happy and ready to use in the aforementioned recipe.  I am used to doing a 3-day build before baking my bread, which produces a really lovely and subtly sour bread.  I’m not sure if it is something about this recipe, or if it is how I woke up my starter (my guess would be the latter) but the final product was much more sour than I am used to.  It is really lovely, however, if you like sourdough (which I do!).  And the crust was fantastic.  I bought two pizza stones to better simulate a brick oven, placing one above and one below the bread.  You can also achieve this by lining the top and bottom racks of your oven with unvarnished tiles.  I also added steam 5 times, instead of three, which may have had some effect.  Now that I can reliably produce a decent loaf of bread, I need to experiment with the variables to see what I like best.  This new recipe certainly was nice for a single day bread and I will make it again, probably later this week.  This loaf won’t last me long.  Yum!  I’ll probably make more on Friday for when my family returns.

The yogurt also turned out well, and since I was able to produce both a decent loaf of sourdough and batch of yogurt in a new kitchen, I expect that I am finally understanding the  key points to these simple but touchy recipes.  I started making each exactly a year ago, so apparently not as simple as they seem!  Trying to learn basics like this from books instead of a person definitely is a slow, slow process.  If ever we end up all having to go back to this type of cooking out of necessity, we’re hooped!

The week has been flying by much more quickly than I had expected.  Here it is, Tuesday evening, and I have hardly scratched the surface of what I had hoped to accomplish.  Getting my back in order was priority #1, and I am  happy to say that this is now well underway.  The mountain of paperwork and logistics of who to see in what order, who signs what and so on – all to make the insurance company happy – has taken up several full days.  So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my other tasks still sit waiting.  For example, I still have some essays to finish grading, most of my interviews to transcribe, and Christmas cars (or rather, New Year’s cards) to be sent out.  And then there’s my lofty plan to set up a budget for myself.  If I’m going to get into sheep rearing on my tiny income, I need to get really, really smart with my money.

Speaking of sheep, I hope to get out training again tomorrow and Thursday, and perhaps even Friday.  That may be it for the winter as I hear we got a lot of snow in London area.  Everything is white here in Niagara but the snow is not yet too deep to train.  Once the snow gets close to a foot deep, training has to stop for the safety of both dogs and sheep (and handler for that matter!).  I don’t mind taking a break over the winter, but I feel like I’m just getting going with the younger dogs.  Oh well, there’s always agility.  For now, I had best get down to some grading or transcribing.

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