Friday, February 06, 2015

Coffee, cats, and poor pony!

Where to start? The other night, we took a "Barista 101" course at our favourite restaurant, The Quirky Carrot in Alexandria. The class was a Christmas gift from me to Gordon, and we took along our friends Ronna and Richard. Although I don't drink coffee (I just don't like the taste, although the smell is divine!), I wanted to learn how to make the good stuff, since Gordon got himself a Rancilio espresso machine a while back that has been gathering dust since he hasn't been able to figure it out. But I think we're getting the hang of it now!

Ronna was great at tamping the ground coffee...

Richard and Ronna perusing the course notes.

The Quirky Carrot's beautiful beast.

Me taking a stab at tamping.

Vivianne, our instructor, explained the finer points of foaming milk.

Then she helped Gordon with his technique.

Ronna was an attentive student!

As for me... I have no future as a barista!

Gordon and his little baby!

Looks pretty tasty! For coffee.

Some antique espresso/steamed milk doohickey.

And now, for some cats. Or at least, A cat.

That is not Emerson.


It's Honey, the failed barn cat. 

Sigh. Seven cats in the house, six in the barn. Sigh.

And it was a hard day for our pony Esme yesterday...

Finney and Esme today

She foundered, but fortunately I noticed early on and got the vet here immediately. They come pretty quickly if you tell them your horse is down and can't get up! (Although she did stand up after I made the call.)

 It was our own damn fault, too. Even though I knew when we adopted Esme that she had foundered before, we inadvertently fed her some hay with too much alfalfa in it. Too rich for her, and wham, yesterday she was in pain from her hooves, lying down in the snow. The vet checked her over and gave her a shot of Bute, an NSAID that relieved her pain. I am giving her more in powder form twice a day, mixed with applesauce. She also now has a thick layer of shavings in her stall and outdoor shelter, to cushion her feet. Her whole demeanour and stance were much better today. It was awful seeing her in pain yesterday.

The vet thinks she'll be fine and we learned a lesson about being more careful with the hay. I knew we had to be careful with her diet because of this, but we just didn't realize that some of the hay we bought was alfalfa heavy.

This poor pony has been through a lot in life: blind in one eye due to recurrent uveitis, foundered, and when she was seized by the OSPCA, she was in the same barn as my pig Ophelia, abandoned in frigid February with no food or water.

Despite all that she is the sweetest pony you could imagine and we love her to bits. I want her life here to be happy. I keep telling her she's in her forever home now! Here's hoping we don't make any more stupid mistakes. Our friends Debbie and Luc, who have helped me learn a lot about horses, came right over when I called them yesterday and checked Esme out while we waited for the vet.

So here's hoping for a drama-free weekend and maybe we'll give the espresso machine another try!


  1. Poor Esme! I'm sure she knows she's in loving care does Miss HoneyHousePants!

    We have a mini espresso maker also and it is Da Bomb.

  2. Coffee 101 looked like a real hoot. Maybe you'll get a job as a barista! Horses are very finicky with food. I hope that's the last little surprise.

  3. oooh, I'm going to have to see if there are courses like that over here. I love coffee!!

  4. Far too complicated for me...I'll stick to the French press!
    My bunch are still waiting for that Fax from Honey.
    Jane x

  5. My hubby would love to go on that course, I don't like coffee. Beautiful Honey makes a great house cat. Hope you have a peaceful weekend.

  6. Looks like you all had fun making coffee ! Hey animals cant talk so we dont know what's wrong with them till it happens these things happen no one fault . Lovely photos ! to funny Honey is cuddling up there lol ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good weekend and hope Esme feels better !

  7. I'm mighty impressed with all the critter knowledge you must keep in your head to keep your menagerie happy and healthy!

  8. Poor Esme, she's had a tough go of it hasn't she. Now that you know the issue it should be easier to monitor - I'm sure she knows you want her to be well and happy.

    I guessed it was Honey! She sure is settled in, pretty girl.

    I'm a black coffee kind of girl, never could understand why anyone would want to ruin a good cup of coffee with milk and sugar and all those fancy things. Now an iced cappuccino...that's different.

    Have a peaceful weekend!

  9. Wonderful pictures of Honey shedding quietly into the printer. I'll stay tuned for the next change of the 7 house/6 barn stats. 8/5, then 9/4. . .
    I can tell the big fancy coffee machine for your lesson is genuinely Italian. The maker surely didn't realize the suggestive nuances in English - for a restaurant yet - when he named the appliance Simonelli.

  10. That coffee class was so much damn fun...and I know appreciate baristas a lot more! You have to get everything just right. Thanks, was a blast!

  11. Ohhhhh I LOVE coffee (and espresso!!) Love that Honey just LOVES being inside! She is sooo happy!!!! Of course Esme stood up right after you called the vet, it always works that way. So glad the vet was able to help and hopefully she won't have alfalfa overload again! :)

  12. I too love coffee and espresso! Although we do own an espresso machine, it's a small Nespresso... nothing as elegant as Gordon's, but it does OK. Really good espresso is wonderful! Your title caught me too as cats, coffee, and ponies are my favorite things. If you had added chocolate to that, you would have cornered all my weak spots. Glad Esme is doing better.

  13. Poor Esme! Well, we all make "stupid mistakes" with animals we love. Here's hoping she bounces back, now that you are aware of the alfalfa problem.
    I LOVE the way Honey has made her preferences known. do you think she might revert once the warmer weather arrives? Wonder if any more barn cats will defect to the warm indoors.
    I love espresso, but I don't want another machine on the kitchen counter.

  14. I'm glad you got the vet to her quickly, Natalie. Yes, she does deserve a good home and she is in it now.

  15. The barista course sounds like a lot of fun! And like you, I don't like coffee, but the smell of the grind coffee IS divine: The taste just doesn't live up to it's odour. Not Emerson is looking great behind that printer. A friend of mine has horses and I know how little it takes to upset their health. I am sure Esme knows how much you love her.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!