Animal Talk: The Rabbitry Learning Curve

This is Mneme.  She is 6 months old and having her first litter Friday.

(That’s one of my favorite thing about rabbits so far: their due-dates are so much more predictable than humans’)

The three Muses (so named because all of their line have “mythic” names and came from one breeder, as opposed to the B-rabbits, whose names, originally enough, all begin with B) were housed in a single cage until they reached breeding age.  We culled a few cages to empty, split out the girls and bred them that same day.  Or tried to. We bred all three of “The Muses” when we separated them, but only Mneme took.

This has been our learning curve: taking General Principles and filtering them through actual experience.

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Sunday Snapshots — playtime on the new homestead

We have such a good daddy. 🙂

This is from last spring.  Jay was trying to get away during Chase and the girls weren’t going to let that happen.

And here is Elisha, considering whether he likes holding something without a sphincter. Cute can win-out, if no one reminds him. (He’s this way about the young rabbits, too. Less so as they get older and more… self-controlled.)

M-B #9: More About Cognitive Functions.

Acknowledging from the beginning I’m treading on thin ice, here’s what I’ve learned about cognitive functions.

First of all (if you want to) refer back to the typing children post (and maybe even the original processes post), because the four groups we divide children into are what we refer to as the cognitive functions.


With two worlds to notice/spend time in (the inner world and the outer world), each of the cognitive functions develops first in one of those two directions.

When a child is developing his or her Dominant function s/he will do so in his/her preferred world.

That is, as in introverted, dominant-intuitive, I didn’t follow my mother around all day telling her stories. I spent my story-creating time *alone* (or, when I was a bit older, with a single trusted friend).

In contrast my extraverted, dominant-intuitive daughter once shouted at her brother (who’d reached his limit), “But I can’t tell it if nobody’s listening!”

My N is introverted (Ni).  The stories are rich, but largely private. As a child I hid in the basement to tell my stories aloud.

Melody’s N is extraverted (Ne).  The story doesn’t exist if there’s not someone else participating.

(This is not an ultimate definition, but CFs are slippery things, and I’ve found examples the easiest way of getting a clearer view of them.)

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Starting Gluten Free — Sandwich Bread Recipe

If you learned you needed to drop gluten, chances are you froze.

You are a capable, resourceful person and have mastered many challenges in your not-too-long life. And there’s a part of your mind saying No big deal. We can do this.

Then there’s the other part.

The tired part that probably is the reason you even considered taking on this extra burden (and it is a burden) of learning-under-pressure.

When I began, I felt like I was one ripple from drowning (of course, that was about the same time I discovered depression), but that’s all I’ll say about that for now.

At this minute everything seems huge and you just want something to feel normal.    

Well, as long as you don’t expect it to be *the same* I do want to offer you a recipe that will at least give you something useable to replace sandwich bread in your life. Then you might be able to feel a little more normal. If you’re a sandwich family.

Just make sure the fillings you choose are gluten free. Some sandwich meats have gluten-laced “natural flavors” added, so check your labels!

This is the way I make Amy Green’s Perfect Bread, once or twice a week.

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We have pictures!

Here is Natasha, sewing her cousin Brooke’s birthday present. She was so pleased to put the whole thing together herself.

It’s called a “warmy” in our home, and the kids each got one for Christmas (a fun surprise, since they knew their cousins were getting one each, and I made a second set after they went to bed Christmas Eve).

These next two are a couple of the pictures I wanted to include in this post.  They were the chosen ambiance for each room.

That’s the Elephant Thread-Holder you see to the left of the large quilt has a fun family story behind it.

My mom has a giraffe-shaped piece of wood full of finish-nails that holds her spools of thread in relative tidiness.

Early in my marriage I was very busy with quilting and sewing, and building up a healthy spool stash of my own.  I was the second child to leave the nest, and my parents began the long project of streamlining their household.

Behind the kitchen sink, all my growing-up years, as long as I could remember, there was an elephant-shaped cutting board.  My dad had made it of the bit of bathroom counter top he’d cut out years ago to put the sink in.

I knew it was old, and probably unsanitary and all that, but it was still hard to watch it disappear. Well, our second Christmas (I think it was) Jay hung out at my parents’ place more than usual, and surprised me with this thread board (with pretty matching dowels rather than nails) still slightly sticky with my favorite wood stain.

He had taken the blocky, familiar shape and recreated it as a memory-keeper that served a real and needed purpose.

And it was a total surprise.

This is my kitchen wall (three weeks ago. Now the picture at the top has been changed, and the slogan,

Ut tensio sic vis

has been added below the two bottom pieces.

It doesn’t have a clean/literal translation, but the meaning of the saying is “Strength in proportion to stretch.”  That is, think of a spring, or a bowstring.  The tighter it’s stretched the more force in contains.

I like how the words look, and use it as a reminder to let the tightness I feel focus my strength, rather than snap me.

And here is Natasha’s birthday party on the 14th. We had another -30 party and a handful of dear friends who joined us to make the celebration complete.

Yeah, that’s a doll in the middle of those candles.

We used a dress-form pan and filled it only part way so it would be a little-girl cake. (I looked through a few stores before I found just the right little girl doll to use for the centerpiece.)

So there you are: the highlights of January. Oops.  Sans rabbits.  But Jay’s on the editing computer now, so I’ll have to do it some other time.

The Twisting Track of my Mind.

So, it’s funny to me how my mind really compartmentalizes.

I can be really tired (or excited) in one area, and it can affect any other area.

And I can think of something else and completely shift my focus, and I forget what was weighing on me before.

For example:

Last couple of days I’ve been working out the next month’s menu

Somebody remind me to tell you about menu-planning for the month, rather than the week. Would you believe it’s easier?! (Maybe not faster, though.)

Then today I let a corner of my mind loose in The Novel, and 30-minutes on the treadmill flew by in a storm of delightful speculation and investigation.  I came back to the house more energized than when I left (which is good, because my body’s not used to the renewed demands yet.

So I was all keen to shift off the menu and work on the novel for a while.

Then I saw the time, realized the lights would be going out soon in the rabbit/hen house, and I had to decide if I wanted to bring my angora doe back to in finish plucking her

I got her back plucked clean Saturday night; need to finish the rest.

No, it doesn’t hurt, she sits quietly in my lap the whole time.

But I decided I wanted to write *something* so I framed a thinking-outloud email about the story ideas, to untangle them, then another to a local group that’s doing a “wool expo” in April.  Asked if they’d consider rolling angoras into the event {grin}.

Then, as I considered what I next wanted to put up here at the scrapbook (more M-B? GF cooking?  Lotso links to my fav recipes or foods of my own?) I got an email from a friend who is in the process of switching over to GF for her whole family.

And I thought of the other folks in recent months who have announced (or whispered) to me that they are embarking on the scary unknown path of Gluten Free and with each story I remembered my strong overwhelm, and I wished I could bring them home and cook them a simple dinner and tell them it doesn’t have to be scary (forever).

So, in dearth of clambering requests for more M-B talk, I’ll shift gears for a while.  We’ll squeeze into my little kitchen, and I’ll show you what I know, and how I made it not-scary for me.

Gluten Free Flour Mixes

I have two flour  mixes I use for all my baking.

Flour Mix A is my interpretation of Amy’s (at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free) bean-based flour mix.  All of the components are “ready” (from bags) in my pantry, so it’s by fall-back, especially when we haven’t ground grains in a while.

  • 22 oz. sorghum flour
  • 28 oz. garfava flour
  • 17 oz. potato starch
  • 8 oz. tapioca starch

Amy says this can be used 1-to-1 to replace standard flour in traditional recipes.  When working recipes by weight I use 5-5.5 oz per cup called for.


Flour Mix B is the simplest I’ve yet tried, and my favorite as long as I have a stock of ground grains (Yes, I know you’re *supposed* to grind your grain right before you use it, but our mill is hand-crank, and I will happily accept my husband’s labor of love filling all the flour containers in the place every couple months).  This idea/ratio came from Gluten Free Girl‘s Muffin Recipe post.  GFG is also the site that introduced me to the (nearly failproof) system of weighing ingredients rather than scooping out cups.

Weights allow me the latitude of substitution and experimentation so important to me as I find what I (and my family) enjoy most.

  • 70% (by weight) ground whole grains – Any combination
  • 30% (by weight) starches – Any combination
  • Isn’t that awesome?! So simple.  Easiest way to do it is with grams and start with either 700 or 1400g of grains than add 300 or 600g of the starches.

    For this one, also, I use 5-5.5 oz for each cup of wheat flour called for in a standard recipe.  Yup. By weight these mixes are completely interchangeable. I use both for anything, except when I know I’m going to want a finger in the batter, then I’ll just use the 70/30 mix, because the flavor of un-cooked bean flour is beyond nasty.

With either mix, combine components and whisk together thoroughly.

Over the next couple weeks I hope to write out my most commonly used recipes.

a) Because I’m always talking about them when I meet (or discover) people who also live gluten-free.
b) Because I’ve had some very frustrating moments when I knew *exactly* what I wanted to make, but had misplaced the recipe

Lately I’ve been getting (outwardly) organized.  As in, stuff I would have labeled *extreme* in my former life.  Working a schedule, menu planning for a month (would you believe it’s actually easier than for a week or two?), avoiding foods on personal evidence and a guess.

“Dedication, to the uninitiated, looks like obsession.”

But it’s been completely defensive.  And so with this.  I find this method (blog-keeping) to be the best way to keep from misplacing something.  SO.  Maybe one or two more M-B posts and then we’ll do my GF *bests* for a while.  Till then check the recipes category for what’s already up and if you need something in a hurry.

Myers-Briggs #8: Appreciating Differences

Whole charts have been created about how different combinations of Type make for different sorts of friendships or conflicts.

For example, you’re likely to have a fairly easy friendship with someone who shares your two inner letters, because you approach the world with a similar orientation.

Or, if your outer two letters are the same, you might be good roommates because you have relatively similar habits.

When your inner two letters are both reversed, you become one another’s “enigma,” wondering what in the world makes that person tick?

An ISTJ might be the hardest for me to truly understand (or me for them), but we tend to tolerate each others’ presence fairly peaceably.  We may neither of us want to be the other, but I think we are able to appreciate the unique contribution of the other person’s type.

The truly hardest type for me to appreciate is the Innovator, aka SP, quadrant. What they’re good at are things I don’t feel a need for, and it’s hard to value a group if you don’t see them as fulfilling a necessary role.

~ ~ ~

This really bothered me.

Here was a group of people (almost 50% of the population!) that I admitted I couldn’t see the value of.  Not only did it mess with my view of myself as an accepting, loving person, it seemed really unhealthy.

I read all the reasons of course (they’re in every typing book or article-series out there), and I understood them cognitively, but I was embarrassed by how little difference the information made.  None of the examples I saw in my real world were helping, either.

So I prayed about it.

Yes, I prayed about a personality quadrant. I hope you can understand why.

About this same time I was working to figure out the types of the people closest to me (some were taking the quizzes, some weren’t).

My parents and my husband were of deepest interest to me; my parents (I’ll admit) because I wondered how who they were had affected who I am, and my husband because, well, he’s so perfect for me, and I’ve got this private research going with type-pairing in successful marriages and my own little personality theory about the marriage’s M-B type.

Anyway, because of how balanced they all are (or maybe it’s just how well I know them?) they were as tricky to suss out as I was.

What I ended up doing (instead of trying to pick their preferences) was jumping to the deeper level of cognitive functions. (Please understand this has everything to do with how long I’ve been playing with this theory, not something I expect anybody to try.)

My husband has a delightful mix of traits that I appreciate in both my parents, but at a level I like so much better (which is perfect considering I live with him now, not them).

  • They all have a solid Fi (they’re much at ease than I when encountering opinions different than their own)
  • Jay and my mom both bemoan their poor memories (but since they know their weak spot, they know how to compensate for it, so they both are very conscientious and careful to remember important things) I called this Se
  • All of them are good at producing a quotable soundbite in a please-help-me crunch of time.  Which makes sense because Te is the natural opposite of the Fi I already mentioned.
  • And for Mom and Jay, the natural opposite of Se is Ni, which is my dominant process, and may explain why I can feel like I have a such a good connection with either one of them

(I’m giving this process much more organized and incremental that I ran it in real time, but I wanted to offer a model in case anyone else should find it useful.)

Now, for all that my mom and my husband are both very detail-oriented (Se), my husband is more fun to be around (sorry, Mom).  In terms of hierarchy, my mom’s Te is over her Se, while for my husband it’s reversed. She works before she plays. Sometimes to the extent that I wonder when (if!) she plays.

I lined out the remaining order of preferences and made a shocking discovery.

Best-fit I have for Jay is ISFP.

I am married to an Innovator.

And when I said that sentence aloud, I responded with, Yes, I knew he was brilliant but I didn’t know he was SP!

I checked my “math.”  And I laughed, and thanked God for his many good answers to many prayers.

Now I can appreciate SPs like I never knew I would, because I am learning how many people I already love and appreciate are this type.

And the ones that bug me?  Yeah, Innovators  also make the highest percentage of my bug-me group, but that’s to be expected.  We are most irritated by that most different from (or the most similar to) ourselves.

But God is always gracious: What he designs is good, and I firmly believe that if you ask any designer to elaborate on the brilliance of his design he will be happy to oblige.

Saying What You Mean

So Jay and I have been talking about a milk animal for our family.

Currently we have a goat-share which is down to a gallon a week, and we’re burning through that in a few days.

The next question is what kind of animal. Jay is more interested in a cow, while I’m just a bit overwhelmed at that idea, and used to the goat milk now.

We read this goat v. cow article which (humorously enough) reinforced both of us in our current bias.

Jay did more reading and became intrigued with the issue of A1 protein (in milk) vs. A2.  Which lead to a whole other speculative discussion about what it takes to import animals to Alaska, and how I didn’t want to go to that length until we’d lived with a cheap cow for a while first.  Assuming we did cow and not goat(s).

Anyway, even with Jay’s timeline putting such acquisition two summers out I’ve been trying to nail down a sequence at least (Blame it on my J-preference. It’s what I do), and was having a hard time following Jay’s patchy description.

Finally I cornered him (he was tethered by earphones to his computer and the weekly football watching).  “Just a little clarity,” I begged,  “I’m getting mixed messages, and have no idea where to apply my imagination.”

Now, someday I hope to do a whole post on this, but applying my imagination to something is so much more than “day-dreaming” or wishful thinking.  It’s a way of entering into a possibility and consuming it (The Blob fashion) to find the nooks and crannies and knowables to learn what it is I don’t know, in order to fix that.

It’s the best way I’ve ever discovered to learn about something.

Jay was admirably self-controlled despite my untimely interruption and said, “You’re getting mixed messages because that’s what I’m sending.”

So we’re not particularly further in the process, but I get the relief of at least knowing we’re on the same page: that he’s under no illusion that he’s actually given me enough to work with or to expect anything specific from me.