For Our Troops......

For Our Troops......


Either you're searching for some information and stumbled across here, or already know me and are interested in what I/we do. :)

The dairy cow doesn’t ask for much, but she asks every day.
People who are creating wealth with a cow either are hardworking and reliable or get that way in a hurry. This is the way it has been for a very long time.
--Joann Grohman (Author of Keeping a Family Cow)

There are three kinds of people in this world:
Those who watch things happen,
Those who Make things happen,
or you can wonder what the hell happened.
--Captain Phil Harris (RIP)

A few of words of wisdom I have come across:

Choose not to just live within your means, but live within your needs.

If you don't want to be responsible for or defend yourself, please don't expect others to do it for you.

(My translation: Buck up and learn some skills!)

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best!

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the AmericanGovernment take care of him; better take a closer look at the American Indian."--Henry Ford

**~*~**Spread the word!**~*~**

Small Family Farms need our help when ludicrous charges have come up against them. Maybe someday it could be one of us on this "make an example out of you" chopping block.

Pushing back (via donations, interviews, getting the word out, etc) and standing up for what we believe in will send a clear message that we refuse to just roll over and give up!

When we know what we're fighting for, we fight harder--Sgt . Gary Stein (USMC)


Click for Jansen, Nebraska Forecast

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Fine Week!!

What is left of Icicles hanging on a spiders' web on an overhang--they look to be hanging in mid-air

It's been a long week already--work, then off, cooking for extra people, (and making sure Jared gets his 'requested' favorites), laundry,and of course chores. But it's been a great week--the weather has been awesome!

The little black calf was limping Tuesday night, and I couldn't get a good look at his hoof. Wednesday I tied him up and tried to look at his hoof again, but he was too strong for just me, and no helpers around.
So Thursday I tied him up again and Jared helped me. Poor little fellow had a piece of old rusted barbed wire shoved into the bottom of his hoof. No wonder it took the both of us to keep his leg out so I could work with his hoof. The wire came out easily, but I wasn't happy with what came out with it as well--puss.
A quick text with a photo to 'cowfriend' Ann got me the answer I already figured--yep, hit him with the meds.
So he got a couple of SQ shots of LA 200 and I had some leftover medication (of the same type) to put into his feed for now along with some Probiotics. (Easier on the patient, that's for sure--Tetracycline burns when injected--I've been on the 'receiving end' accidentally at the hog farm a couple of times!)
I will say he's a happy little patient, and Friday let me soak his hoof in Epsom salt/water mix while he munched on some alfalfa in the stanchion area.

Of course I had other helpers--Dolly, Nessa and the white calf as well. Either someone is trying to lick me (Dolly!), or get something out of my jackets' pockets (Nessa!) or right behind me waiting for a treat (white calf!)--so I about trip over him when I turn around. I swear anytime I go into the stanchion area to access the chicken coop either Dolly and/or Nessa is there looking for a handout! HA HA

I got an MP3 player for Christmas so can stick one earbud in and jam out while doing chores. I realized I actually missed having a radio out in the 'barn' area. (No electricity out there.) All we get at work is the local country station--which is OK, but I like my rock-n-roll! :) Kyle has over 1,200 songs already on the computer for me to choose from to put on the player, so that helps!

Here's the mangled heater for the tank that I talked about a couple of weeks back (stupid youngsters--grumble grumble!!). This thing is supposed to be a rectangle and not touching the bottom!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Great Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas!

A quick update:
The weather has been great--and its even good enough for grilling! :) The animals are enjoying the reprieve from the nasty cold.
I have enclosed the chickens since they continue to escape. Of course egg production has dropped, but am still getting plenty.

We are enjoying the time with Jared while he is home on leave. Kyle has actually been home more! :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Busy Weekend!!

Kyle playing Trombone at the High School Christmas Concert. He is on the end. :)

What a busy weekend! Friday we picked up Jared from the KC Airport.....its good to have him home!!

Saturday was our Russell Christmas party and a small birthday party for Jared afterwards. Lots of fun, good food and seeing how all the young ones have grown since this summer!

Sunday was Kyle's Christmas concert and not only did he play the Trombone, he also played the drums for the dance group.
(He is in the background in the second photo)

All the calves have Winter Dysentery. :( Smelly, stinky poo that not much can be done about. Kind of like a human cold. Make them comfy, keep them hydrated and I'm pushing the probiotics as well. Thus far Dolly doesn't have it. But she's had it before and may get a mild case or not at all. Time will tell. Everyone is acting normal---goofy at times. They are youngsters after all!!
Friday during the night the stupid calves (one of them anyway-the white one for sure) managed to get IN the 100 gallon tank and smash the water heater. A) it drained all the water and B) the heater was damaged beyond repair to use like it should be. (Oh it still works, but the threads and seal is broken, and I didn't feel like playing engineer 101 to *make* it work. I just bought a new one!) I did keep the old one for an emergency back up.....IF I make a suspension cage of some sort for it!

Jared outside the high school:

This week means work, a Christmas Dinner, and then some R&R for everyone!! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Birthday for Jared

Jared has this on his truck. He likes Hello Kitty and that's an M16 it's holding!

Jared's birthday was yesterday--a year ago I couldn't even send him a birthday card because he was "in limbo" and was en route to Ft. Bragg from Ft. Benning. (Wow, it's been a year already?!!)

Today the base gets a visit from the President, more info here:

We've gotten rain the past couple of days, I'm just glad it's not snow--much easier on me and the animals (and travel)!
I made a chicken pen for my naughty roving chickens so they stay home for a change. Pretty bad when the bus driver comes into work and gives me 'chicken updates' of where they are! Gah!! Lets see how well they like me today. (not!!) ;-)

I need to get a turkey out to thaw--Jared will be home in a couple of days. He has a smorgasbord of foods he wants to eat while he's home. (Cheesecake, spaghetti, lasagna, steak, turkey [with 'taters and gravy] pumpkin and apple pie and I know there's more!) :) He'll get plenty of variety right away with the Russell family Christmas Potluck Dinner that is Saturday!

Kyle has been getting up early for band practise. Their Christmas Concert is Sunday, and besides his usual trumpet playing, he's also on the drums for another program. He is still busy as usual but I have seen more of him this week.

I actually cleaned my windows and washed my curtains--both long overdue. :) Patrick was sick this past weekend and managed to mess up his back. So Monday I had to take him to the Doctor's' office and was late to work. He is feeling better--as long as he takes it easy. Good excuse for me to be bossier than normal......oh, did I say that?!! ha ha ha ha :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rain and Snow!

Ok, we got snow.....not much but enough to make everything white. We had over an inch of rain before it turned to snow, so there is a nice icy coating that got laid down first. I'm thinking the weatherman got his "snow" and "ice" prediction amounts backwards!
I am just grateful it wasn't a worse coating of ice and could of turned nasty pretty quickly.

Got another big round bale of hay Friday--my hay guy is pretty awesome, I have to say! (Thanks Jim!) I picked up a few small bales of grass hay from another person the other day for bedding/back up hay. Usually he delivers it, because he doesn't like people to know of his hay stash. (Can't blame the guy!) But once his sister told him who I was, he figured I was trustworthy enough to meet them to come get the hay. ;) (He knows me from work.)

Why am I using hay and not straw for bedding? Wellllll--I can't find 'cheap' straw that isn't in a big round bale! Dolly it seems loves to pee in their shed, or right outside to help make a muddy mess. So I pick the best parts out of the square bales for them to eat and put the less desired portions down in the shed for bedding. I also pitchfork what they've scattered off the big round bale for bedding as well. (Cows!! They have me trained well I think!!) :/

It has been an interesting week here.....some will say I had a "flip out moment". Anna was traded to a trusted friend this week for some beef calves and other goodies. Things have settled down and Nessa only moo'd about 24 hours later for awhile. Easiest weaning I've had!! So now 'chores' are taking on a different but easier tone for me. And I have an extra 'meat on the hoof' to barter with....or sell if I'm inclined to.

Last Milk Meal :)

Jared will be home on leave in a couple of weeks. The first weekend he is back is crammed with Family Christmas activities, his poor girlfriend will have to tag along and suffer. ;)

Kyle went to a college day thing and thought it was pretty cool. So he may be modifying post-high school plans.....I think his girlfriend has something to do with that (female persuasion!!) ;) I can't blame her....they have a 'baby' for Parenting class this weekend. I got to watch the little bugger while Kyle worked Sat morn. Guess her parents got the same honor the other day! ha ha ha

Patrick got the front door done and Monday we got it installed, frame and all. He did a great job and the big test--no air coming in, and no water when it rained! Yeah!!! I get frustrated with his pickiness,(it all has to be square!! I'm like just get it done already!!) but it pays off in the end with a product that works like it should! (Maybe I frustrate him?? Nahhhhh......bwahahahaha ha ha!!)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Quick Thanksgiving Update

Helllloooooo says Nessa as her mama Anna walks to the hay feeder.

Thanksgiving here was good! Actually, we cooked one of our turkeys, made the stuffing, a salad and pumpkin pies and took them over to Pats' folks. Pat's mom made the green bean casserole, mashed 'taters and gravy. Kyle and his girlfriend came as well. It was nice, simple and quiet.

Jared ate "the good stuff" out of some MRE's he had for his meal. He was playing his bass guitar when I was talking to him. (Keep practising, kid!) hahahahaha He went fishing but didn't get the bass that kept eluding him. ("I wuz gonna EAT HIM!" I guess for his supper?!!) Guess he is going back out tomorrow to try again.

He'll be home in less than a month--yipppeeeee. They almost didn't get leave, but things went 'back to normal as planned'. (Whew!) We will have another Thanksgiving Dinner next month--we still have two turkeys left in the freezer. Jared will get his meal, just late!!

Kyle and his girlfriend were going out shopping for black friday. (Ugh, they can have the crowds/chaos--not for me!) It's nice to see everyone get some needed R&R for a few days!

Pat is really close on getting the front door done. It might have to wait until next week when I have a few days off to help him. Maybe I won't have to hang a big rug in front of the door this winter when it's really cold and windy out now! :)

It was so nice out today, when we got home I took lots of photos of the cows. Nessa and Dolly always walk to me--out of the shot. (They'd rather sniff and/or lick me!) Weird cows, but lovable cows!! :)
Today was absolutely beautiful--this was the temp at 4:00!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hold on to your hats folks

This is similar to what has happened in our nearby community! Downtown is a shell of what it used to be......and they are trying hard to get businesses back there.

If you've noticed, I've added a couple of blog links lately (bottom of the page). These two blogs help keep me updated (fast) on what is going on around the world.
Interesting to note, both blogs within the past week have info on financial advisers getting out and/or warning of the whole system going south. I've seen the signs as's just a matter of time.

Diesel here went from $3.979 to $4.159 overnight. Little brother (David) in Texas says it's went from $3.649 to $3.879 down there. Gas is holding steady (The cheapest [with ethanol] was $3.439)....but it will follow suit soon I'm afraid.
Now......with diesel getting high once again (the highest we paid was back in 2008--the high here was $4.989). It took us here at our house almost a year to recoup from the higher fuel prices (heating/driving). Grocery prices weren't up so high then as they are now, either.
Prices now in the grocery store have gone up on most everything in the past 6-9 months. Everything I used to get 'on sale' is now double that when it's 'on sale' again. The regular price is like 3 times higher than what 'normal' price was a year ago.....ouch!

The higher fuel prices weighs heaviest on those who depend on it for a living.
Farmers, over-the-road truck drivers (hauling anything from livestock, and our food to farm/livestock/people supplies, grains and even toilet paper!), local haulers (dirt, rock, cement, lumber, etc.) and your delivery people. (UPS, Fed Ex, USPS, etc)
This means what we pay for retail will be higher, even if commodity prices go down.
It costs more even for us to get to work (for the same pay). Someone has to absorb those higher fuel costs--that is US.
I made a joke the other day at work I was going to have to get an extra part-time job to help pay for fuel just to get to work! It used to be that it took 1/2 an hour's worth of pay for diesel to get me to and from work each day. Soon that might take an hour's pay.......yikes.

I think once the holidays are over, and income tax time (refunds) has come and gone and things settle into the 'normal' paycheck/income routine is when people will really have to start tightening their belts.
I am sincerely hoping our winter is on the mild side, a good ol' ice storm/blizzard or two could knock some people off their feet financially (repairs, loss of work time, etc) in a heartbeat. Time will tell the story.

I will keep investing in MY 'stock market' out back that I feed/water/care for everyday. At least I have some say and control of that!! I already have big plans for the garden next year.....bigger is the key word!! :)

OK back to news here! Jared got issued some different ACU's (camo clothes) today--I forget the technical term. He also got issued some heavy duty equipment--good grief his armored vest alone weighs almost 50#! In a month he'll be home on leave, that will be *~*awesome*~*!!!

Kyle's enlistment date is supposed to be June 18. Of course subject to change, but at least we have a target date to shoot for. Speech team practise has started thing ends and he's got another thing going on. Good thing he is young, I can barely keep up with what he's doing!

Patrick is still working on the front door, the weather turned windy and cold, so it's slower going. I went deer hunting with him Monday and had a deer come waltzing out right in front of us. Most of the time I've seen them I've either been riding (horses) or trying to avoid them with the vehicle! So that was pretty cool for me. This fellow lived another day because he wouldn't turn sideways as needed and decided to disappear into the woods and grunt then snort a few times. We heard him later snorting again a few times as we were leaving.

Got my stock tank clean, moved, heater hooked up and plugged in. It's working fine thus far. I need to get the dogs/cats heated water bowl out and plugged in as well. I wish they sold a solar powered one for I have no electricity to the shed, just a solar light. I just switch their waterers am's and pm's, and I do that with the waterer for the rabbit as well. The chickens waterer is in the coop and hasn't frozen yet. (A good thing!!)

Wednesday night it started snowing for half an hour or so. Big, fat pretty flakes, but I am so not ready for that! I *know* it's the middle of November already; where does the time go???!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just another day.....

You missed a spot!

I didn't realize when I snapped this photo last August that Dolly was giving Anna a bath! ;-)

Pat went deer hunting with a couple of buddies Saturday and is working more on making a front door today. More hunting is in the plans for the week as well. ;)

Kyle had Marine PT ("We ran a lot and got yelled at" was his reply when I asked him what they did). I told him to get used to that and add 50+ pounds of weight on his back as well. :( He also had the last night of the play at school and an after-party. I was amazed he left early, he was tired (rightly so!).

I am winding down from working all week and grateful for a couple of days off. I have plenty here I need to do!

Jared's promotion is to Specialist, and next rank is Sargent. :) I'm not sure what Specialist means, but as long as it's a promotion that is good. He had a cold and is getting better with some R&R. He is veg-ing and playing video games, and taking lots of Vit C as well. He has to go back out in the field this week for more training, so I harped on him to take it easy this long weekend. I don't want him getting pneumonia like he did last year!

It's nice out, with a chilly wind today. I know its just a matter of time before the cold north winds come, along with winter snows. So now the lawn is mowed for the last time this year and the tank heater goes back in the tank. It will get a thorough cleaning and moved to it's 'winter spot' so I can plug it in as well.
Yep, it's 'winterizing' time around here! I like to do what I can before it gets too nasty out so I don't have to do much more than the 'usual' chores. (That's always the plan, but it doesn't always go that way.....)
The cows' shed is cleaned out (I'm sure they've blessed it again with poo--a mere few hours later) and it'll be back to maintenance cleaning when it's cold.

One of these days we'll get the pesky roosters dressed.....they aren't going anywhere (they are in the chicken tractor) and continue to get bigger. :)
I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and we are stocking up on pre-holiday sales at the store for things like sugar and extra butter. Figure I use lots of it at times, and I don't think it will get any cheaper so might as well stock up when it's on sale!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans' Day

Just a quick note to Thank all those who are able to be honored on this Veterans' Day.

Our Military now is all volunteer, and no matter the reason of "why" they join, they put their lives' on the line for many others besides Americans.

Freedom is not Free, and too easily taken for granted. Freedom is fought for with blood, sweat, sacrifice and many tears.

Please keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers.....many are once again not able to be with their families for the upcoming holidays.

It's been a quiet week here, colder weather has come, but the days are still somewhat nice.
Jared has a cold,and had a 24-hour CQ duty, but got to have lunch with some Vietnam vets in the mess hall. Since he did CQ duty, he now gets a 5-day weekend instead of a 4-day weekend. (Veterans' Day Holiday)

Kyle is always busy and Patrick is working on making a new front door for the house. I have been working alot, so haven't had much time to get 'homey' stuff done other than the usual chores. Sometimes we have to slow down and just enjoy life. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

If I hear this one more time.......

In reference to our Military and where most of those folks are going in the world.
IRAQ they are pulling people out of, but adding yet MORE troops to Afghanistan.

Soooooooo if I hear one more time: "I thought we were getting out of there"---people are referring to Iraq, and obviously NOT paying attention to anything else.

As my dad says: You want me to draw you a map and color it in fer ya too?!? ;-) So I'm a butthead--here's a map, and note what is where half way around the world. (Or on the other side of the world, however you want to put it!)

This week has gone by fast, hard to believe it's November already. The weather is colder, and we even had rain and sleet and sleet wrapped in snow on Wednesday. It was slick driving to work. It all melted off before dark. It was weird!

Jared is an alternate for Dog Handling, and he's getting promoted. I haven't had a chance to talk to him much to get more details.

Kyle is helping with the play at school, and is finally catching up on some sleep today. School, work, school activities, (band too), practising for Military Band, doing Military stuff and his girlfriend keep him busy these days.

Pat gave his cold to me, then I must of gave it back, then he gave it back again to me! Or else mine has just hung on longer than his.......but I'd still like just to blame him! LOL Actually with the weather changes and drier air has many people sniffling and their sinus' driving them nuts. Count me in on that latter statement!!

A couple of my chickens look bald and scruffy--they are molting. Today I'm off to finish taking down electric fence for the winter time and do other odd ball things and call Jared and then both my folks and Pat's folks to update them on what's what with him. Never a dull moment it seems........

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Jared's Kitty :)

We indeed did get a freeze last week. Last minute scrambling ensued of getting house plants back inside and harvesting from the garden. (Then working on preserving all those goodies one way or another!)
And of course, the temps have swung back into the 70's, but it won't last long. Cold air is coming and it will feel like Fall again, not Summer!

Pat is down with a sinus issue/cold and feeling pretty crummy since Sunday. Kyle I haven't seen much of, school, work, girlfriend and other stuff keeps him on the go. (Accidentally on Purpose I think.....) HA

Jared is out in the field for a week. I asked him what they would be doing, his first reply: "Freezin' my ass off!" Their daytime temps won't be bad, but 45-50' at night won't be so nice plus maybe some rain. We all know it could be worse, but it's not like he has any choice in the matter in the first place! ;-)
He does not know where he'll be going for Thanksgiving, poor kid misses out on another one here. Sigh......

My oldest sister was back a couple weeks ago, it was nice to see her and sit and chit-chat and drink coffee. Miss those days from when she lived next door! I find it funny that many times she knows more of what's going on here than I do, and she lives 1,000+ miles away! (I'm just a recluse I guess!) ;-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Winter Forecast

Not sure who has/hasn't seen this yet, but here it is from Accuweather:

We are to get frost tonight and a hard freeze tomorrow. The house will resemble a garden for a few days with buckets full of "stuff" that needs processed in one way or another. (Or just eaten!)

Correction on my last entry: Jared was in the Arms Room (I said Armory). Guess they had a meeting to see who qualified to be a Dog Handler. Then they asked who was interested, of course he said "sure!". So change of course for him with training. (He thinks 'Fluffy' is a good name for a dog.....HA HA)

Pat and Kyle changed the starter on my truck Monday--it went out Sunday. They also changed the oil. Pat finished getting the nieces' baseboard heaters in so they won't freeze their butts off the next few days! :-)

OmahaDave: Nettles are actually medicinal--sounds like you've got a good plot for growing more food next year! You're an inspiration to other City Dwellers that it can be done! Good Job!

OK that's the quick update for now!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bad Seal, Observations and Rant

I was moving last year's canned salsa around in the cupboard to make room for more canned stuff from this year. As I grabbed this jar, the lid moved.
Uh-oh, NOT a good thing! The seal must of been bad, but took this long and my nudge to pop off.
Anyhow, this is what it looked like (those black dots near the dis-colored top are tomato seeds--see the 'normal' ones down lower in the jar?).
Then I snapped a photo of what it looked like when I poured it into the sink. See the brown color at the top? YUK-BLECH!

No way would I have eaten ANY of this......botulism comes to mind, and I'm sure a risk of a host of other food horrors I can't pronounce or have a clue of how to spell them!
I guess the motto is: If In Doubt, Throw It Out! (I wasn't even going to risk the chickens by giving it to them, either.) Good call/bad call? Safe call I say!

I've ran across some folks over the past 6 months who have canned or processed home-grown meat(s) for the first time. I hear over and over: "That's alot of hard work and takes time!"
Ummmm yeah, I call it a labor of love (I like to eat ya know!).
Did you notice a TASTE difference as well?? Not nearly the same as your cheapo or name-brand can of whatever factory produced food many are used to. Home grown/canned/preserved whatever excels over factory food because WE have quality and freshness control over the whole process. An added bonus is we put in more/less of what we like/prefer and tweak it to "just right"! :)

Do I SAVE money by doing my own? That is the big question (subject to interpretation) and many can argue the point all day long. For me, its about QUALITY of food.
Yep, I can get it on sale at the store.....but the quality is just not there. (Quantity is.....) If 90% of the ingredients I grew, then the new lid and say, spices is what I paid for, yep its cheaper. I had to buy sugar for the Apple Pie Filling, the rest I had on hand. So some things are cheaper, some or not.

One good thing is: We know how to do it, and Food Preservation is a skill I believe most should have. Meat/food recall? Thankfully, most of the time I can ignore it. Lots of what we eat came from HERE, grown/preserved by US. I don't need to look at a conglomerate of dates/labels/processing codes on the packages to see if it's "safe".......

Take milk for example; an older-than-me co-worker asked me the other day (insert accusing tone now!) "What do you need all that milk for? What do you do with it?" When I replied I can make Sour Cream, Creamed Cheeses, Cottage Cheese, Mozzarella, Butter, Creamed Soups and other Cheeses she about choked. (I saw the "lighbulb moment" click on in her head--gee we've only worked together for three years! I guess she doesn't really "hear" what I say I do.....).

I guess many look at "milk" as milk, not realizing all the foods you can make with it. They don't realize the industry skims most of the cream off and uses it to make 'value added' products that invariably cost more. (Yes, she did comment on "How high that stuff is getting in the store".) She is another farmer that do not really USE what they grow, they just make money off of it. So sad, really. I see it over and over and over here in the Heartland. Farmers who do not consume nor use any of what they grow. :'(

Maybe I'm not so crazy to can/preserve/grow food and have a milk cow in her mind. (Ask me if I really care what she [or others] thinks.......HA) But EDUCATION is amazing and comes in simple conversations.
These are the type of people (with an all too-common mindset) that thinks "we" should work full-time and "garden" on the side. Work all week for the paycheck and turn around and give it to the store(s) for food. Make sense? Not in my mind.

I don't fit into molds very easily....and when questioned stopped defending my (desired) part-time work (paycheck) status a looooong time ago. My work at home IS important. If I don't have a job tomorrow, yes, I will have to tighten my belt some, but I am not going to starve or be homeless, that is for sure.
Prepping is always high on my priority list.....even simple things. Better to have extra food and not need it, than to have no food and need it! (Same goes with supplies, critter food, etc).

Looks like the low (night) temps are going to take a nose-dive next week. I got some more spaghetti sauce canned last week and will make more today. We'll be pulling up plants and dehydrating/freezing/canning what we can before a freeze comes.

"Baby" Nessa is 5 months old now--I've got to call and make her shots/dehorning appointment. The chicks hatched early this summer should start laying anytime now. I finally got them trained to ALL go into the coop at night--they were roosting on the stanchion and making a poopy and feather mess!

Jared had a jump yesterday, it was kind of windy and he hit feet, butt, head and got knocked out for a bit. He realized he also got dragged by the parachute. He had a headache, but Medics said he was fine. Today they get a new CO, so they get to march and stand for hours in place while the ceremony occurs.
He is no longer in the Armory as they put him back as a Rifleman. (Drat!) I get disgusted with the "politics" the Military does. (Basically they just used him to fill in a needed spot in the Armory until it officially got filled....and someone else got it who needed out of what he was doing and had to be put somewhere.) GRRRRR

Kyle has been busy all week, and managed to help with Security (via the Marines) at the Nebraska football game last week. So he got to watch the game as well. He is always on the go--this Saturday is All-State Band auditions. He was actually home twice this week to eat supper, so I made him one of his favorites: Beef Stew!!

Pat took JJ (outside cat) to the vet--and $67 later she is fixed up and has meds to take for a week. Not sure if she got hit by a car or what, but she is feeling much better already!

And that's the long and short of what's been going on here this week! Never a dull moment!

Rant Alert.......again! HA

On another note; I watched a documentary of a family that got lost in the wilderness for over a week. I was astonished--they depended on their car, well, until it ran out of gas. (Cell phone didn't work).
Here they had all these natural resources literally surrounding them, and they had absolutely no clue how to use them to their advantage, for signal fire, or heat or shelter or even food/drink.
I've been noticing how unprepared people really, really are, and that show I realized cemented the fact. Clueless!
Most are too worried about "entertainment [aka fun] value" of things....their "reality" is NOT what the Real World (Nature) has to offer, and it can be a very swift and harsh teacher. Everyone wants comfort and convenience, fast and easy is the norm.
Most people are also very naive and woefully unprepared and waaaaay too trusting. People NEED to learn to take care of themselves, and stop depending on others all the time.

Simple skills (and communication--let someone know where you were headed/change of plans) would of saved the husband and they wouldn't of been so cold, desperate and hungry and lost for so long. Wow, I was shaking my head.....what a senseless loss. I am sure all the families effected by this have a different outlook on dependence, planning and surviving/prepping now. It's just rotten of HOW the lesson had to be learned. (I don't want to sound judgmental, just the honest facts. I do have a heart!)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trees are Turning Color

The trees know it's autumn, even if the temps aren't correlating! 80's+ for highs and 50's for lows is odd, but I'll take it!! :) I know soon enough it'll be chilly, rainy and plain ol' dreary!

We are all busy with work around here. The garden is still producing, so we keep preserving. I am looking at winter with a raised eyebrow, hay consumption here has doubled. Instead of getting one big round bale a month, I've been getting it twice a month. Prices have stayed the same (for me so far) but still, since they are eating more, it's double the price per month. I need to cull, but who is the question. I have wrestled with this all summer, and still do. Each critter has a pro and con list....when I got Anna a year ago, I knew all of these decisions would have to be made sooner or later. Since she calved early, everything got fast-forwarded one whole year, from milking/training, to (re-)breeding, to culling decisions.

I also have too many chickens.....I counted 11 hens now since the younger ones are about ready to lay. (I only need about half that many in reality!!) I put the pesky roosters in the chicken tractor and two older biddy's who I don't think lay very well into a different smaller tractor. The Axeman will come sooner or later for all of them, unless someone needs them for an occasional egg and lots of entertainment! ;-) HA

Here is Mr. Chase-Me-Rooster in the crockpot with some salt and pepper on him, about ready to get cooked (he weighed about 5#):

And the Tom Turkey in my sink, he verily fit!! (He was 24 1/2#!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quick Update & Pie Filling

I really, really don't want to know what this conversation was......maybe: "Kyle, you're boobs are bigger than my butt!" ??? :)

Kyle got first runner up (second place) in the Ms. Fairbury Jeff Contest. (He raised the second most amount of money for Relay for Life.) I'll have to get the totals later, too much noise at the time to hear very well! (We were standing in the Band section.)

We got Mr. Rooster (pretty, but he decided he liked to come after me one time too many) and the final two turkey hens butchered today. I don't have weights yet as I haven't weighed them. Things slowed waaaaaaay down on the last one, as Pat threw his back out dunking it in the hot water to loosen feathers. (They aren't light, let me tell ya!) We used the homemade feather plucker.....Pat does a much better job than me with it!! (I forgot to get photos of it, I will eventually!)

And once again, I can't comment on my comments! :( I use Tammy's (Cupp, from KFC) Apple Pie Filling recipe, same as last year. It's on her September 20, 2010 blog post. It actually let me copy and past it here:

Tammy's Canned Apple Pie Filling

4 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
10 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
6 pounds apples

1. In a large pan, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add salt and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
2. Sterilize canning jars, lids and rings by boiling them in a large pot of water.
3. Peel, core, and slice apples. Pack the sliced apples into hot canning jars, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.
4. Fill jars with hot syrup, and gently remove air bubbles with a knife.
5. Put lids on and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.

We tripled it, and did 12 quart jars full. I could of just doubled the ingredients (but the apples) as we had a 1/2 gallon jar of 'sauce' left over. Oh well, I'd of rather had too much than not enough!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Officially Fall

Apple pie filling! :)

Oh wow, the first day of fall! There is a crispness in the air--nights can easily get under 40' already. Time to think of moving house plants from the outside back inside. NE parts of the state had frost warnings last night. I hope it stays away from here, the garden is getting a "second wind" and there is lots of tomatoes and peppers ripening. (I see more canning in my future!) HA

Kyle is in the running for Ms. Fairbury--Relay for Life puts on this contest every year for the highschoolers during Homecoming week. It's a fun way to get donations; guys dress up like gals and donations are put into jars with their 'girlie' photos. Whomever has the most money in their jar wins. We shall know the results later today at the Homecoming parade and "Crowning". :)

Jared has been doing more training, and has spent more time at the Armory (yeah!) He spends lots of time at Gander Mountain--kind of like Cabelas' or Bass Pro Shops stores. (Probably spends too much time and money there!) HA

Patrick and I canned Apple Pie filling this past week. We used his requested Christmas present (finally): and apple peeler/corer. I poo-poo'd it, thinking it wasn't going to save THAT much time, but by golly he proved me wrong! It worked pretty slick and I almost couldn't keep up with him--he ran the peeler/corer. (I got it at one of the chain feed stores.)

Pat also made us a 'feather plucker'--we've put off butchering the last two turkeys and annoying roosters because plucking takes the longest part. It's a simple plucker that fits on his drill. (I'll get photos later for y'all.) It's modeled after another one a gal made (from KFC), and she got the instructions from someone else. I will report on how well it works. :) This weekend is their 'date with destiny'! (Thank goodness my Mother In Law has extra room in her freezer--the last two turkeys were so big, they took up what room I had left!)

Pat has been keeping busy with helping my niece with re-wiring and putting in baseboard heaters before the winter cold comes. And I realized last night there were several bikes in my yard--the great nephews and niece need Uncle Pat to fix them! :) They have him trained well! HA HA HA

And to Omaha Dave: the site is PMS'ing and won't let me reply to your comments. :( I am always encouraged by the awesome work you do--you keep on keepin' on!! You might be encouraged by this article as well. (Acres USA is an awesome magazine--it's not just for "farmers"!) :)
Coming Home To Farm is the title of the article.

(If I mess up--its here: --you'll have to copy and paste.) I'm still blog-illiterate! It's best I stick with the cooking' and critters! Giggle!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cooler then hot then Chilly

A Bumblebee collecting pollen. Notice the flower on the left has already been cleaned. There was a flurry of Bee activity last week with all my Sunflowers.

The weather has been, well, weird. Cooler, then hot, then chilly. But I think the days of "hot" (90'+) are fast coming to an end for the year. Fall is on its way in! While I am thankful for the cooler weather.....I really don't want to deal with Winter. (Ah I know I say that every year!)

Pat and I butchered the two biggest turkeys a week ago Sunday. The Tom weighed 24 1/2 pounds (dressed--meaning minus feathers, head, feet and guts--I think they should call it UNdressed! HA) and the biggest hen was 21 pounds. Yikes! Glad I had room in the freezer, the Tom took up lots of space! We 'vacuum sealed' them with a big plastic bag and the vacuum cleaner. :)

Nessa is 4 months old today. (already)I bought her a pretty blue halter. (Pat wanted hot pink--I said no--HA) I have yet to get a photo with her wearing it.

Kyle has been working lots (the photo of him a couple of posts back was on his 18th birthday, stupid blog wouldn't let me change it after I posted). I worked all last week and have a couple of (needed) days off.

Pat has been helping the niece with her electricity and water heater to get things squared away before winter comes. Talking about winter preps--I had a 'talk' with the propane guy last week....I like to treat customers as all the same: no matter what their lifestyle/finances are, its None Of My Business, period. They are still human beings with feelings. Back to the propane people; I think they are a bit too snoopy and judgemental to be honest. They live in a different (privileged) world than me. Good for them, but leave me out of your office conversations (when I'm not there)! :( I don't think he thought I'd show up to his place of business to ask a few questions about what the driver said to me (at MY work). SURPRISE!! :)

Back to my "Stock Market"--I have two turkey hens and several roosters that need to go into the stockpot and/or freezer. I have a steer lined up (from my younger brother) but am still waiting for the flooded Missouri River to go down and roads fixed so I can get over to my Big Brothers' (where Little Brothers' bovines are).
The eggs keep a'coming, my hatched-this-summer young hens should start laying soon. I'm going to corral and pen two older hens whom I don't think are laying. I don't want to feed them if they aren't laying. (Ha ha spoken from someone who has a Pasture-Ornament [non-productive] Cow: Dolly!) ;) Y'all can laugh heartily now! Giggle!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Temp Flux

Here is a wonky lid (from the factory--center front) on some hot pepper relish we canned. I'd never seen one like this, Pat said it came out of the box "as is". I didn't notice it until we were done canning, it sealed ok. This particular jar is at my in-laws refrigerator as you read. :)

The temps have been day in the high 90's (heat index of 108) and then the next night 57! Three days ago I sweated and sweated working on fence, it was HOT--upper 90's again! This morning I get up, it's 52!

We have been doing more canning and freezing ('tis the season ya know!), one large Zucchini will yield about 6-7 cups shredded (I've lost count how many bags we've got in the freezer). Zucchini bread is a favorite around here in the winter time.

I'll write more later in the week, today is supposed to be turkey butcher day....we'll see how that goes! ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Busy and School Starts

School starts today, Kyle's last year. He performed Sunday with Leroy again at a Church function, and when the crowd was told he was going into the Marines, he got a standing ovation. (He takes all of this in stride....we're proud of him!)

Jared is done with training (for now) and is back to doing more boring, "ho-hum" stuff. He is buying a Kayak, and when I asked him what he was doing the other day, he was playing with his new fly rod. I asked him if a paddle came with his's a mom thing! HA HA

We have gotten more salsa and relish canned, we have more tomatoes and zucchini that needs put up. I mowed weeds in the pasture, planted some wheat (experiment for me) and Pat has been working on his truck. He was on his way to JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) Day and the truck started to have major issues. (His Blackpowder club helps with JAKES Day. Read more about it here: )
He had to change U-joints, and now things are much improved, but he missed out on JAKES Day and his Blackpowder shoot! (Kyle was gone to a Marines PT training session.)
Last week Pat changed the transmission filter and fluid, long overdue! I'm just glad it was a simple fix, and not a tranny rebuild (BIG $$!) So for now, the truck is better, but still needs a little fixin' and TLC. ;)

Everything is growing, the calf, the chicks, the kittens, the turkeys, the garden.....and thankfully things have cooled off. The heat broke last week and we even got some rain, three different 1/2" (or so) rains.

Our town had their 125th Anniversary this past weekend, and it was nice to see lots of people come and enjoy the parade, flea market and festivities! We had fun as well, I took lots of photos (too many probably!). A good time was had for all. I could hear the band late into the night, it was interesting to be doing chores and hearing live music! :)

One of our firetrucks, the guy driving lives down the road. Good to have folks like him who are willing to train and volunteer! (Thanks Steve and fellow firemen!)

Great nephews and niece getting a "candy haul" at the parade, and a "flyover"--very colorful! Had the kids mesmerized! :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Canning Has Begun!

A storm is east of us and the sun is shining on the tasseling corn field next to our place. The light makes it look gold-topped!

It's still hot and no rain, we keep getting missed when it is in the area.
Bwocky the Bantie hatched out her three chicks today, not sure if the last one will make it. She was too busy dealing with #1 and #2 to pay much attention to #3. The chicks are not hers, I have her 2 eggs from the Red hens and 1 egg from a Barred Rock hen.

Jared was out in the field all last week, and called bright and early Saturday morning (7:30) to let us know they had pulled him from the field for a jump. He said he had a great landing, but was tired, sweaty and hungry. They had to work on the post Sunday, then back out to the field on Monday until who-knows-when. The rotten thing is, the temps are hovering around 100 degrees for them, and high humidity. Ugh, I feel for those guys!

Kyle is practicing a (trombone) song with Leroy again, I guess Leroy wants to accompany Kyle on another song in Church on the 14th. I just found out about it Sunday when Kyle went to go practise with Leroy after Church.

Sunday we got some salsa canned, and today did some sweet pickle relish. And yes, I've found you can 'recycle' jars/lids from commercial foods. Just once, but it saves me on jars and lids. (I found this by accident one year, using similar jars and tossing the hot canning leftovers into the fridge, and they sealed themselves.)
Here is about half of what we got done, along with my non-fancy labeling! :-) HA

Monday, July 25, 2011

Still HOT!

Brotherly Love----->

Yes it is still hot and humid. Several storms have formed near here, and finally we did get 1/4 inch of rain last night. Something is better than nothing, that is for sure! It also helped cool things off, but I am sure today it will heat back up again.

The garden is getting babied in the heat, and we get enough produce for meals, but many of the tomatoes shall come ripe at the same time very soon. (Canning time!!) Except for the Zucchini---we have been blessing many folks with the bounty. When Pat's mom found out he'd planted three plants her reply was: "Patrick!" HA So of course she's been blessed with the bounty as well. (giggle!)

My little Bantie decided to set on some eggs a couple of weeks ago. (In this heat no less!) The problem was....there were no eggs under her! So I gave her three eggs from the other hens. I'm not sure if she's turning them, time will tell. I put her in the old chicken coop, where she can get some air. The new chicken coop isn't as 'airy', its great for the winter, tho!

Kyle had some Marine camp-out on Friday and Saturday. He slept lots when he got home and was sore. This gives them a taste of what they are in for when they go to Basics!

Jared got back to Base safe and sound and managed to get himself a tattoo while he was here (Pat went with him). The Airborne motto is "Death from Above" and Jared has been thinking of this particular customized tattoo for awhile. It has the Army (coat of arms?) thingy on the hat instead of the Airborne one.
The outline, then working on shading and the final product:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Nessa Queen Pester-er! :)

Woo-wee it has been hot and humid out the past week or so. High dew points (70's and 80's) combined with upper 80 temps and upper 90 temps makes things quite sticky outside! Usually we have a breeze, but not always. I've been checking the water several times a day on all the critters, making sure they have plenty, and salt as well. (Even Walter the rabbit!)

Jared is still here on leave, but I don't have any photos downloaded onto the computer yet, and Pat and Jared have the camera this afternoon. Kyle is out frolfing, he has the day off.

We've had BLT's several times from the tomatoes that are starting to ripen up in the garden. Canning will soon be upon us! We have gotten several Zucchini's as well. I have baby cucumbers...not quite pickling size yet. I can taste the homemade (canned) sweet relish...we are out of it! (One year we had a bumper crop and the dill and sweet relish lasted 3 years! Good thing, as the cucumbers the following couple of years didn't fare well.) I've learned to can like crazy when there is a good crop, because one never knows what the next year (or two) might bring for harvest.

A couple of parting shots--the house cats grooming each other and Anna giving Nessa a bath as well.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nessa Color Change

June 9th is the first photo. June 19th is the second laying down photo, look closely along her back, you can see her stripe color starting to come in. The two standing (showing her 'stripe' and mousey face color) were taken July 1st.

And a quick update, Jared is back for two weeks' leave. Homegrown Prime Rib is on the menu for celebration! (Saved for a special occasion, and this is it!)

I heard the Cicadas for the first time July 1st, so I shall mark the calendar--90 days should be the first frost after hearing them. (I love hearing them, but the longer they wait to emerge for me the better--means the garden will last longer into the fall!) :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice!

Tryin' to take a nap here, quit pestering me! :)

Time is flying by--its officially summer now!
We had more storms go through the past couple of days, we got 1 1/2" of rain that came down hard and fast.
Everything is growing! The chicks, Nessa, turkeys, kittens and the garden! We have one green tomato and lots and lots of blooms! A few zucchini are almost ready to pick as well. Everything else has small produce on it and lots of blooms as well. Now if the hail will stay away....!!

I planted the rose outside that Patrick gave me for Valentines' Day and it's blooming again. So pretty!

Blogger isn't letting me answer comments (could be operator error!!) HA But for those asking, here are details and more photos of the chicken (poultry) tractor from my August 2010 post: http://

The last photo is when we got the turkeys. They have grown alot in just 5 weeks! They should be ready late August/early September.