Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cowgirl Jessie

This isn't the best picture but time was of the essence this morning!

Today was costume day @ preschool. For the last two months, all I've heard is "I want a Jessie costume"! We had a perfectly new dragon costume but no, oh no, she's not into dragons anymore.....(Hello Craig's list?!)

I did look at costumes, on line and in stores. I'm not against a store costume, the boys have insisted on being Ninjas and Iron Man. That said, those costumes rarely hold up and often get thrown away. This is sad because my kids don't get that "once Halloween is over the costumes should go away." What?! Huh?! No, costumes are totally in vogue at the Rafter Lazy H; everything from the Darth Vader and Optimus Prime head gear to the Clone from Star Wars to Ninjas, cowboys, football players, pirates and the all time favorite.....gunslingers!

My thought was to create a costume that "Jessie" could wear long after the trick-or-treating is over. Enter the sewing machine! I should explain that the last time I fired one of these deals up, on my own, was in high school Home-Ec. To make a long story short, I ditched the class after a semester and headed for shop. It's not that I didn't like to sew, I HATED it. There were way too many steps and details for my energetic little being. I also had a great fear that I would screw up the machine, horribly, beyond recognition and....I had a heck of a time sitting STILL that long!

I've had a couple of Christmas project ideas that required a sewing machine, and being the cre8tive gal I am, I enlisted the assistance of gifted pals! I can soar in the department of avoidance.

I inherited this machine a little over a year ago. It belonged to my Grandma Ruth. Grandma was quite the seamstress. I remember wanting a Cabbage Patch Doll badly. She bought a kit and made me one in a weekend, complete with little outfits. I named her Patience Ranae (probably because I had NONE and....I was into "Colonial" names!) I was in awe of how fluid she was, the machine seemed to be a natural extention of her creative ideas. She made it LOOK easy to run! I discovered otherwise....

I figured I'd learn to use it "when I had time" which would be like?????? I was happy to welcome it into my craft room though. It reminds me of Grandma every time I walk in. It brings a smile to my heart to know how many hours she sat with it. Plus, it's totally "retro", and that supports my love of old relics! Remember this was about "looks" I wasn't itching to learn how to use it, just content to have it present.

A couple of weeks ago I began piecing together a Cowgirl Jessie outfit. I found a white shirt, yellow fabric, red t-shirt paint, milk cow print fabric and a snappy yellow ribbon!

On Pake's birthday celebration, my mother-in-law joined me in the craft room. She put a whip stitch on the red hat (contributed my our friends Shelley and Paige!). I started cutting and applying fabric glue.....easy peasy. I then moved on to the milk cow fabric. At this point, Judy read the label of the glue bottle and we discovered that it likely would not hold up in a wash machine (*sad face*) (*sigh*) (*double sigh*) and then the suggestion....should we sew the chaps on?

"Sure I said," if you want to! Of coarse I was open to learning how so I watched. I observed and asked questions that any beginner would, "Where is the power button? How do you make it go?" The costume began to take shape and it was very exciting.

I came back the next day to work on another shirt. I had made two so BS would wear one for play and save one for Halloween. I also figured I'd need some practice. In a very brave moment of total surrender, I "fired up" the sewing machine and began to fasten the yellow fabric. SUCCESS! I'm happy to report I did not wreck the machine and thank goodness the bobbin didn't run out, I don't remember how in the world to rethread it!
I managed to sew on yellow cuffs too.

While I don't consider myself capable or confident in the world of sewing, I did feel a burst of excitement (and 1,000,000 questions forming)! I want to learn more for sure. I can see this will be a beneficial skill. I'm not "hooked or addicted" to sewing, as I am to knitting" but I do want to continue. I don't see myself sewing prom dresses but I sure would like to make aprons, blouses and skirts. The question right now is when. Time is a precious commodity!

Do you sew? What is your favorite homemaking skill, you know, one that you enjoy and don't look at it as "work"? I'll knit for as long as my eyes and fingers work. I'm still undecided about sewing but at least I've taken the first step and I have one very happy little cowgirl! Yee Haw!!!!!

Happy Halloween!

It's OVER this time...I really mean it!

I think I've burned myself out but darned if I'll let any tomatoes got to waste. I worked way to hard to get them to grow. I won't be doing anything fancy or elaborate, just skinning and bagging them for soups and stews. All the canning equipment is neatly packed away in the storage room. Hopefully I'll be in the mood to can next may take a nice lomg break for me to restore my motivation!

But mark my words, this time I am really done. The chickens get anything that grows after this. What would I ever do if I could have four season farming?!?! The answer: give up laundry!!!!!

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homemade Halloween Cards

Funny that the previous post was about list making and schedule keeping. I've made the executive decision to go off plan: I needed to finish a Jessie The Cowgirl costume and since I was down here....I made Halloween Cards!

Have you ever tried using alcohol inks? I been intrigued by the glossy, unique designs they create so I gathered supplies and gave them a whirl----this a a totally beautiful and FUN medium! If you are into card making, scrapbooking or just want to exercise your creative vibrations, give these a try, you'll have a blast!

And before I forget, if you are in the area and would like to join me, I'm looking at November 13th for a Cowgirl Craft afternoon open house. Bring your pictures, projects, knitting, or whatever else your hearts desire. We'll have a "play date" here in the craft room! Message me for details if you'd like to join in a relaxing afternoon of conversation and creating. I'll have the hot cider ready!

Time to fly, I've got to go pick up "Jessie" aka Blue Sparkle aka Wolf Cub aka my daughter!

List Making The Key To Success

Are you a list maker? There's no question that I am! I make lists for groceries, homework, home improvement, farm/ranch projects and even writing ideas. It could be said that I am a "chronic" list maker.....I fit the bill.

Part of my drive is the stern dislike of being unorganized and scattered. For those that follow Nine Star Ki, I am a one water/three tree so I do have the ability to "go with the flow and adapt". I also crave new vistas and learning experiences, which can certainly appear as scattered, unplanned and chaotic! Post youth, I'm more inclined to finish a project before the deadline versus burning the midnight oil like I used to do. My motto in college was that I worked better under pressure. This may have been true to an extent, but now, the adrenaline doesn't negate the stress!

As part of organization and time management classes I teach, I research strategies and ideas to help streamline time and efficiency. The challenge for me is always how to cram more in a day AND still find time to do things I enjoy.

I had a grand revelation this summer: I bought a huge white board, removed a lovely picture and hung it in a prominent place.

On this board hangs lunch menus, invitations, a favorite picture, drawings, kids' chore lists, reminders and a daily/weekly over view. When I know what's coming down the line it's easier to plan ahead. I'm a very visual person so having everything in one spot is supportive.

I used to write down grocery lists but I find it more efficient to put that list in my phone, which is always with me. Too many times I've made a grocery list only to find that it is 30 some miles to the south when I hit the store and rummage through a full messenger bag!

I also am using what I call a "Mom Planner" I wasn't going to spend $50 on the one I saw on line. Instead I spent $12 on a purple one when we were school shopping. It has school calendars, health information, christmas list ideas, and any other information I need to keep track of. It's too bulky to pack around so it sits near my desk for quick referral.

The other device I've incorporated is a notebook that lists what I accomplished for the day. In the rush to get so many things done, I forget what I DID, as opposed to all the things I DID NOT! I list important accomplishments, significant data, the weather and even funny comments my children make. I guess it would be sort of a diary but I don't include my personal feelings. (I have another journal for that!)

Many wonderful readers have sent emails asking, "how do you do all that you do?" This is how, though I'm not above scrapping the list in lieu of something spontaneous, magical, more important and just plain fun! Listing and organizing is important so that you are able to take advantage of wonderful opportunities as they arise.....guilt free!

Happy Listing!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Halloween Tree

I'll admit, this may be a little over-the-top! I'm one that often comments on how we don't have time to enjoy the present season before retail stores are putting the next season's good on shelves! So I am questioning what feels and looks like a fab idea!

I fell in love with this tree as soon as I laid eyes on it. First, it's my color! Second, when I saw it, I had an instant vision of antique toys nestled under the branches. I've been pining for a "girlie" tree, one that is simple, fresh and fun, one that I can haul upstairs myself and one that requires little to zero clean-up. My idea of a Christmas tree is as follows: grab, fluff and display!

Though I adore Christmas, I despise laborious decorating. I have a blast going with my family to choose a tree but past that, I turn it over to the pros! I am not known for my patience in hanging each and every precious ornament. Pass. I'd rather whip up something tasty to sip or much after the tinsel has been put on. It's a long story and maybe I'll write about it sometime; for now, suffice to say....elaborate tree decorating is not my bag baby!

So after the cleaning and reorganization today, I rewarded myself with the delight of putting this "champagne" tree together! It's so pretty and the colors compliment fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now that is what I call a multi-purpose tree! (I hope I won't be tired of it in another month?)

BS was happy to help me throw some little pumpkins on the branches. We placed bigger ones around the base and presto-chango', we have ourselves a cute, little Halloween tree!

Interestingly, I've been so darn busy that I haven't put out any Halloween decorations. Oh, we'll soon drag out the pumpkin carving paraphernalia and creepy music but we won't go all out this year. We'll be traveling Friday and Saturday and home in time Sunday to make the rounds so we'll focus on "turkeys" from here on out.

I'm not sure how long this baby will stay up but I as I write I just had a vision of pheasant feathers sticking out of the branches.....hummmmm! I think its a keeper!

What do you think? Crazy? Ridiculous? Cool? Creative? I need more fresh air! Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Happy Fall Ya'all!

Is This Crazy?

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Football and Knitting

I'll admit, I have a hard time just doing one thing. I am a "chronic multi-tasker". I appreciate the aspect of being "in the moment" though I have a heck of a time sitting still! I do my best to focus on what's in front of me, but it's really best if my hands have something to do. Enter knitting:

I learned how to knit about a year ago. I'm still very much a beginner though I see my pace is improving. I realize knitting IS slower than crochet, though at this time, I'm content to keep expanding my knitting skills. There is something magical and amazing to me that two wooden sticks and a ball of fluffy yarn can be made into a scarf. Even more fantastical is the I am the one doing it! Excuse the self-boasting but HOLY CRAPPP!!!!! I'm actually knitting....and it looks good enough to give away!

This is coming from a former child who gave her Grandmother a reminder that like flowers and wine, patience really is a virtue! At one time my hyper-activity/ADD tendencies were what would earn me a trip outdoors to do something "constructive" and give the folks around me a break; those same tendencies are now responsible for scarves, purses, sewn halloween costumes, canned goods, grouted floors, painted walls, homemade cards, and weekly cooking experiments! I like to think such random, scattered energies have been transmuted into refined, creative vibrations that actually produce a viable end product!

I do sometimes admire others who can solely focus on "one thing at a time". I can when I choose to. I think of watching/listening to football and knitting is how I get the MOST out of couch time! It's rare that I even sit down so I'm going to make it count.

Plus this is a perfect day to knit. The weather is on the cool side, overcast and dreary. I love nothing more than to curl up and let my fingers fly. Flannel shirts, leggings, wool socks, hot coffee and knitting. This is my idea of a very enjoyable fall afternoon!

I may or may not get off the couch tonight. The laundry, dishes and floors can wait. They always do! Now, if I could figure out a way to read all the books in this house and knit at the same time I'D BE SET!

Here's to a cozy fall night!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Carpet

This isn't the best picture of the new car-pet-o but my camera card is full and I am in the midst of "moving back in" to a place I never left! So maybe more pics later?

If you are a regular of this little 'ol blog, you know I am OCD when it comes to floors. My favorite gadget in the world is a Kirby vacuum, I heart it. With one itty bitty house pooch, three kids, hubby, and a constant stream of traffic out front, back and side doors, that piece of equipment is essential. Right now we're not fighting mud, we're battling burrs---sandburs everywhere. I HATE stickers, especially on the stairs. Grrrrr!

Flies are the other nemesis. It hasn't frozen so they are swarming the house and windows by the billions This is actually not that much of an exaggeration. It's bad when you look through the window and can't see daylight...... So, the vacuum comes in super handy there too.

I've been on the go for the past few days so things are not back to order yet, but they will be soon. I did pause for a moment to reflect and enjoy the new floor. It looks great and I love seeing it versus the previous covering. It makes me remember the importance of dreaming and positive affirmations coupled with luck, determination and good old fashioned muscle power! New carpet may not sound like much, but to me, wanting it for the last five years IS a big deal. I've wished and hoped and saved bucks for this expense because there were a lot of other things that did come first. I get that, and there's no reason why we can't hold on to those dreams that feel out of reach. Just because what we want is not here RIGHT NOW, doesn't mean it won't ever be. Our dreams may be hiding at a time in the future, waiting for just the perfect timing so we'll truly appreciate what we're about to have!
They may be just down the road, maybe closer, maybe the next step away. The important thing to know is that are there, and this is what we can carry in our hearts TODAY.

May the sunshine light you path as you journey on.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Sweet Baby

Twelve years ago today my life as a "Mommy" began! I had gone to sleep, very tired and heavy. I'd woke up early in the morning thinking my bladder had exploded! I was dreaming of going to the bathroom but couldn't make myself move, I was sooo tired. Little did I know that my water had broken and my baby was on his way.

Labor was quite pleasant but had stalled by the time we arrived at the hospital at 6 am. I was then given "pit" and went from no contractions to "just let me stay passed out"! Delivery was speedy quick, one of the nurses called our boy "The Silver Bullet"!

At 10:42 am, I laid eyes on a precious red-haired little pumpkin and my heart would never be the same. Little did we know that Pake's first 6 month (6 years actually) were going to be a challenge. He was born with a rare blood disorder that took until April and an act of God to diagnose. Folic acid, Dr. Brittan, Mary Dailey, Dr. Hayes, and several amazing nurses, as well as family and friends supported us during these years. We became a living testament to the power of prayer and positive beliefs. From that first week in ICU, talking to him and encouraging his little body to heal, all the way to age five and a splenectomy, we grew and experienced life, laughed, cried and learned. We know that we are not in control, rather we co-create and pray for the best and highest good in every situation. We realize we are never alone, we are all in this thing called life, together. Nothing is a
given, nothing is set in stone, yet we have unlimited choices and support in every moment of every day. How we look at any situation and keeping a positive perspective, as best as possible is key!

I didn't ask for this kind of "lesson" and yet, having this experience with Pake has helped me open to and appreciate all the support and blessings, from the smallest to the most amazing.

After surgery, Pake is considered medically cured. He's grown tall and eats more than I do (he usually watches to see what I have on my plate and then volunteers to help me "clean it up"! He wears my shoes and coats and can't wait for the day when he's taller than his mother!

I usually don't focus on those rough times of the past, it's hard to when I see that wide grin and tall, lean body saunter into the kitchen after school. His eyes are still the same bright blue, his little scar from the mask is barely visible, but he is still and always will be my baby.....the wonderful little being that made me a mommy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

See What I Mean? Gross!

I detest this carpet. I have for a long time. I've just finished clearing out all the things I could move.

I now need a big, strappin' lad or two to take apart beds an a desk so we can get to ripping out carpet. Yes, it's a lot of work but oh so worth not having to look at these disgusting stains. I've cleaned and cleaned and there's no getting them out. The next color coming in will hopefully "hide" the various markings of country least I hope so!

Moving on now.....

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One of the rituals I love is walking out on my deck each morning. Hot coffee in hand, and three deep breaths sets my day off right.

Sometimes I see the "grazing crew" down in the canyon, sometimes by the windmill, on occasion, they're roaming near the arena. My favorite of coarse is when I spy them just past the back deck, making their way up the hill, placid, regal, beautiful.

I love that they appear to be tranquil but can, in a split second, bring the sound of rolling thunder with their hooves when they hear Chad calling them in for their daily grain rations. I adore my dogs though there is something magnificent about the equine species. I am really glad we live where we do. I like having this view.

The house is now quiet and the kitchen somewhat put back into shape after the morning scramble. I've been dreading and waiting for today. I'm about to pack up three rooms so that we can have a "carpet tearing out party tonight". This is the first of three steps left to complete for the upstairs remodel: carpet replacement in the bedrooms and office, new counter tops and tile floor in the master bath. There is no time limit, apparently I like to drag things out!

I'll be working solo for a bit since the kids are at school and Chad is working. I need to take advantage of not having extra hands because as soon as Blue Sparkle gets home, she'll be more than glad to help me rearrange!

If you are in the area, and are bored out of your mind, join me! I still have some delicious hot cider left from yesterdays' celebration and a couple of yummy cherry turnovers. I feed my helpers well!

Enjoy this brisk, wonderful, autumn day!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

These get an A+ for taste!

I've cooked up my "wonderful widdle" eggs and YUMMMM!

The first thing I noticed is how hard the shells were, unlike the flimsy white ones we get at the store. The size is on the small side but the yoke is rich. I think these eggs taste amazing, especially because of all the hard work that's been put into getting them here.

I now comprehend the relationship between work and food, the connection between human and animals and the joy of growing/raising your own. This definitely makes me savor and appreciate the simple meal in front of me. I am overwhelmed with the bounty and blessings.

It's not a fluke!

You know when something you want happens and then, you are so excited that you can’t believe it’s real? For me, things happen in 3’s. The first time I pause and go on. The second time something happens, I take note and consider it and the third time, I pay a lot of attention. It has to be repeated for it to be real.

Take the mountain lion I saw this summer. Three mornings in a row, my dog alerted me with her wild, protective bark! The first time, I couldn't believe my eyes, the second I was surprised and on the third day, I was looking for it!

Yesterday we had to reconstruct the top of our chicken complex roof. We'd placed a blue tarp to keep the birds in and keep the fox, coon, coyotes, and other varmints out. It is an illusion to think they aren't around they are. Since we've moved the foul to the great outdoors, out of the confines of the barn, it seems that the coyotes are even more daring, brave and present. Chad saw one dart across in front of him in the south pasture, on his way to check the cows in the canyon. I'm sure they know the chickens are here. I'm very glad we have a watch dog. She does her job very well!

The wild Nebraska wind's shredded the edges of the tarp where we had it zip tied to the fence. Last evening my genius husband, put the edge of the tarp in between two thin boards, screwed them together and zip tied them to the outside of the fence. I swear, this man is amazing when it comes to construction, the McGiver of Rafter Lazy H! It took several kids' legs and my arms/hands to hold the tarp down. I thought it was windy but today is much worse. I was in and out of the chicken house, listening for a "laying cluck"! I'm not sure that exists, I've never seen a chicken lay an egg but I've gathered a lot of them in my Grandma Ruth's chicken house. My bird is appeared to be an afternoon layer. I found the first egg on Tuesday afternoon. We came home late from town on Wednesday night and Chad brought one in. I'd asked the boys to go look and they came up with nothing, however their father found one on the north wall. (This is kind of like a daily Easter egg hunt, she doesn't know where the nest is yet!)

So I looked last evening. I looked and I looked and then I doubted..............maybe this was a fluke?! Maybe she was senstive to all guests in her space and was going to skip a day? We did make a lot of noise reparing the flapping tarp. I had every intention to sneak back out and take a peek but the evening got away from me. In the midst of supper making, I was called out to help load a renegade cow in the trailer. She's been on the loose for the better part of two weeks. I do believe she's worn out her welcome here. I suspect she'll be going to someone else's operation soon...........on down the road she'll go. We have no place for angry, mean, hooky cows.

By the time I came back from the one-cow round up, I whipped up spaghetti for six straving kids (we had a few little friends here for the day!) I never made it back out to check on the girls. They'd been fed and watered and were all locked up in their house for the evening. This morning, after breakfast, I stepped out for a quick visit. I wanted to let them out so they could get some fresh air, though they after being in a barn for so long, they are fair-weather foul, they don't like the wind anymore than I do! With much anticipation, I peeked in the doorway and there, in my path...............was the third egg! Yep, it's REAL. I have an official egg-laying chicken. Yeee hawwww! 

I have some crafts to work on, more laundry to wash, dry, fold and put away. We'll return a child and pick another one up and then.............we watch the Huskers play Texas. This household is all RED and we've all become "T-Magic" fans!  After the game, I have much today today to get ready for the birthday/1st Communion lunch tomorrow. Tomorrow night we'll move heavy furniture and pull up old carpet as the carpet layers will be here on Tuesday.

But with out further ado, I am going to walk into the kitchen and cook me up a little egg! I've been waiting for this day for a long, long time! Here's to a wonderful weekend, with a few delightful surprises scattered along your path!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A New Species: Gour-Pumps!

I would love to say this rare and interesting breed was totally planned.....and alas, that would be an untruth!

Apparently I mistook gourd seeds for for pumpkins? Or I had some throwback gourds from last year or some little garden fairies had a little laugh at my expense! No matter, we have fall decorations and that's what counts! We won't be eating these....just enjoying their unique appearance!

I adore pumpkins! Last year we had a wonderful crop. This year we have about 5 that look "normal" but very small. I don't know if this was a watering or soil issue. I planted giant pumpkins and pie pumpkins but I'm pretty sure something went wrong.

I usually have delightful corn shucks decorating my fence and deck (see 2009 archive!) This year the shucks went to hungry cattle who broke through the hot wire to taste test. There went corn for the freezer and decorative stalks (I refuse to pay $5 for a bundle at Menards.)
I'm also behind in the Halloween decor, not one thing is out or up. Some years it just goes that way. I did manage to get the kitchen put back together after making pickles today. Things were rolling along quite well until I was called outside to help load a renegade cow into the trailer. Here I sit. There are only a thousand other things that I need and want to be doing right now. Grrrrrr! Oh how lovely ranch life can be.....hurry up and WAIT!

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ready for Winter!

Blue Sparkle just informed me this cool hat is made out of wolf hide. Cool! I had no idea!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Little Treasure!

I am SO thrilled! I found this adorable little egg this afternoon when I went to feed! What a miracle!

In June, I lost 26 birds. It was devastating as I had to delay my hopes of having farm fresh eggs for a bit. I never gave up hope that there would be eggs on the Rafter Lazy H, I just didn't know when! Camo, the only surviving chicken and Feathers, the only duck, survived and thrived through the summer. I didn't know if she'd lay or not and truthfully didn't care. She's a sweet, sweet gal and will come up to me, without fear, to receive a light feather stroke. She'll always have a place here and in my heart.

I could focus on having only one measly egg, compared to the 26 that I could've had but I'm not! I am thrilled all over with the adorable little treasure that I just found. One chicken, one egg and a great big miracle to this cowgirl's heart! Who knew something so simple could bring me to tears and make me dance and sing with joy, in the daylight, in the middle of the chicken pen?! Maybe this was her way of thanking Chad for the new "mansion" she's living in?!

What a wonderful blessing! I just had to share!

Fresh Cream!

I had an impromptu lesson on the art of cheese making and milk separation this morning! Shortly after cleaning up breakfast dishes, unpacking the car from yesterday's excursion, making a quick cup of GML, I loaded up Egypt and headed south. My lovely nanny goat, is about to "meet her man". It's that time of year and in order for me to keep having milk, my girl needs to get with her guy so they can make a baby! I've never considered myself much of a match maker but in this case, I guess I am!

I always enjoy visits to the Double K Ranch. Our friends, The Kaiser Family, are such wonderful teachers and mentors. Elizabeth is my "go to Goat Lady". If I have a question, I call her versus getting on the internet and researching. She is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the caprine species. When she asked if I'd like to see how she separates, I jumped at the opportunity. (BS is was in pre-school and I am all about putting off tomato canning and pickle making for a few more hours!) She gifted me with this jar of delicious fresh cream to go in my coffee, which instantly earned her a HUGE hug!

I watched in awe as I saw her old separator do its job! Elizabeth takes the cream and makes butter, cheese and yogurt for her family. I was given a sample of one of her hard cheese creations............YUMMM! This is definitely where I am headed. It was delicious. I'm planning to start making cheese this fall. I'll be starting with my favorite, Feta. I think this is a good idea as this costs upwards of $5.00 for a small package in the store. I eat it on everything from toast to pasta. Feta is divine on broiled tomatoes sprinkled with basil too!

It may be a while before I'm in a place where I'll need a cream separator. I eventually would love to make butter but for the time being, I am content to have fresh milk and cheese. All in good time right?! For now, I've stored up a bit of milk in Egypt's absence. I'll miss the cantankerous old bat, simply because I love her milk, certainly not because of her personality. Come March, we'll have an adorable new kid to play with and tame down. I'm really not sure what we will do with it either. I haven't gotten that far. All in good time right?!

At this point, I am looking at possibly expanding my tiny herd. I've had several inquiries about goat's milk. So to the "powers that be" if you are reading, please note, this is INFORMATION, NOT ADVERTISING: Goat's milk can be purchased in Nebraska at the farm site. It cannot be "officially advertised" but it is legal to go to the site and buy it there! Cool. I learned something new today!

I have done quite a bit of research with goat's milk and I very impressed. It is extremely healthy, especially for infants due to the healthy fat content which aids in brain development. I am sure there is a slew of information if any readers are interested about the subject. I'd love to have it neatly posted here, but alas, I will skip that because I have a kitchen full of produce waiting to jump in jars and a house the need to be re-shui'd. (That is a word in my language, a shortened version of hollering at the kids and telling them if they don't put their crap away it will be "lovingly" hauled to Goodwill on my next trip to town, which incidentally is tomorrow!)

As a personal testament to the benefits of raw goat's milk, I can say this. I am now wishing I would have collected more and frozen it! I see my stores are thin and I will be anticipating having my girl, as crabby as she is, be back on the ranch. Previously, I've not been a big milk fan. In fact, my children have NEVER see me, drinking milk out of a carton here! I'll eat ice cream from time to time but drinking, well. I'll just keep that one to myself and simply say, I'm NOT a fan. Goat's milk however is very "light" and sweet. I have it in my coffee every day. I cook with it and...........I did something really amazing the other day...........I DRANK IT STRAIGHT UP! *Gasp*  I've had it in so many things and not been able to tell the difference that it actually came from udders in my back yard, that I wanted to try it out. You can imagaine my amazement when I discovered it tastes delicious, absolutely sweetly delicious! I could go on an on but instead, I'd love to encourage you to try it out for yourself. I highly recommend it in peach smoothies, strawberry ice cream, coconut cream pudding, and scrambled eggs! Tasting is believing. I'm looking forward to tasting this rich, fabulous, fresh cream in my coffee this afternoon, while I am canning the final produce of the season.

I'm looking back with nastalgia, as this time last year I was only dreaming about the possibility of having a goat. I now have two. We've enjoyed fresh milk since May. Though I didn't know how all of this was going to go and I certainly was ready to scrap the idea at times, I'm glad I've stuck with it. True, it is not easy to be "tied down" with twice daily milking, but thanks to our fabulous, supportive friends, I've been able to do some traveling. I have no idea where this "project" will go from here and I am happy to relax into the "adventure of not knowing".

If you are in the area, and you are interested in sampling goat milk, please stop in! Taste tests are absolutely FREE and so is the coffee!

Here's to enjoying a brilliant, autumn day!

Monday, October 11, 2010

This Is The Same Table!

This is how the table in the craft look is supposed to look----CLEAN AND CLEAR and ready for action!

I am happy to report that I finally met my goal of organizing and cleaning both top and bottom levels of our home. It is done, which is kind of a laugh because we all know that when it comes to home and cleaning, the work truly never ends. So, let me rephrase, Project Fall Shape-Up is now complete! Just in time to. I am in the midst of a very active month. Tomorrow, I'll be on NTV's Good Life at 9:25 am to talk about Feng Shui. I am thrilled to be sharing about Feng Shui and my passion for creating balance and harmony within our living and working spaces! My life is a testament to what following this philosophy can do; without it, I'm sure I'd be living in a messy pit of a home! Oh yes, my home is subject to that thing we call active chaos and sometimes the active chaos does become passive because some other task, obligation or responsibility has distracted my focus. The difference is that I now MAKE TIME to go back and bring each room into alignment, cleaning, clearing, releasing and rearranging as I go. I do a massive restructuring seasonally and each time I do, I find that I fall in love with my environment even more!

I still have tomatoes to can, squash and pumpkins to pick, and several outside clean-up jobs to be done before fall gets any further along. We have a house to decorate for Halloween, classes to teach, a First Communion, a 12th birthday to celebrate, carpet to rip out, new carpet to lay down, two bathrooms to tile, and  kitchen cabinet and shelves to build. Am I forgetting anything????????????

Chad leaves next weekend to go on an elk hunting trip. He's jazzed. Rodeos are his favorite but going somewhere with his brother, friend and GUNS run a very close second. The kids and I will hold down the fort just fine--we have several appointments and activities (its Homecoming week for the Tigers)!

It's going fast, October is. The days are a blurr. I have several opportunities that I need to sit down with and contemplate. I could be going back to school in January though I haven't make any final decisions yet. I am researching a library/media specialist endorsement. Just researching, not saying this is set in stone. I also have some wonderful invitations to teach, craft projects lining up for the holidays and............a goat shed that is ALMOST DONE! Which means that I have to go move my goats RIGHT NOW! (I am being called, loudly, from outside the house)

More soon!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Time to Roll Up the Sleeves

This is the last and final day of my "Fall Cleanse" I so badly want this room to be restored back to its original  order. Last spring it looked amazing. It was the room I've always wanted and never had. And now that I have it, I haven't been able to enjoy it. That changes today.

I've been on the computer most of the morning. I try not to fire it up every day. Computers are black holes, they suck you in and zap your precious time. Some tasks though are necessary and I've been tending to those for the last couple of days. I do love my blackberry as it allows me to be mobile, you'll note I often post blog "musings" on it in lieu of starting up the computer and getting the mifi to actually work (angry face).

I am in the final stretch now. The boys are due home any minute, they have an early out today. I am hosting a jewelry workshop here tomorrow. Susan Tolley, mother of my friend, Sheri, will feature her beautiful, unique jewelry. Susan has created some gorgeous peices for me and I would love for others to know of her special talents. She'll have finsihed pieces as well as loose beads and stones for those who'd like to make their own "custom" pieces. We'll sip hot cider and much on some yummy fall snacks. If you are in the area please join us, this will be a fun day.

I have a FULL week coming up so it is really important that I meet this last clearing hurdle. Its going to be a doozie, I can tell. To be honest, I'd much rather take a nap. I am dragging here I am rolling up my sleeves to reclaim the craft room. Wish me luck. If there are no further posts after today, you'll know it was all just too much. I will have packed a small bag and flown to an island destination.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Summer Vacation

Did you ever have a back-to-school assignment where you were asked to describe how you spent your summer?

Mine is a lot different from my school years, primarily because the word "boring" is no longer in my vocabulary. I can't remember what it is like to have idle time.

I'd sum up my summer season with one word......canning. Followed by, goats, foul, feeding pen cleaning, child care (referee), cook, clean, laundry and support staff (to a husband who hit the rodeo trail.)

If I were grading this paper, I'd get a big red F for excitement , a B for productivity and an A for stress! I'm not sure it is actually a paper I'd want to grade; it could, however, be used to induce sleep!

I've been feeling a bit frustrated that I hadn't gotten much accomplished this summer. There was no completion in the basement, the big blue storage unit didn't move one bit. I didn't get the backyard landscaped and we barely got the lawn mowed! I didn't lay in the hammock one time, or sip a glass of wine on my garden bench.

So where did my time go? I canned. I started in June and I'm still going....We have an entire shelf full of green beans. It's deep enough back that I cannot reach. We have bread and butter and kosher dill pickles, dill beans, green beans, tomato soup, chili base, pasta sauce, hot, medium and mild salsa and strawberry jalapeno jelly. I had to completely rearrange my storage room. That's a good thing! I have no idea what the exact jar count.....I'd say a lot!

I tend to be harder on myself than I probably should. I don't know that there is any changing that, I'm pretty set in my ways. I feel better, think better and relax more easily when I know that I've met my goal for the day. In fact, I've started keeping a journal of my activities to help me remember what I've done each day. This is becoming a nice "nightly reflection" ritual.

I have one room left to claim and then I will be writing about something lovely and wonderful....and different than cleaning, canning and organizing. I'm really looking forward to that! And if I have faithful blog readers, then it's likely you are ready too!

If you tend to be an uber-perfectionist, like someone I know, give yourself a little break! It is likely not a question of talent, you've definitely got what it takes. It may simply be a question of timing. I've been repeating this often "Do what you can, with what you have, when you have it and enjoy the rest!!!" Don't forget to......B R E A T H E!

Pumpkin Coffee

I've had a craving for pumpkin lately...which has led me to experiment!

Since I live a distance from any given gourmet coffee shop and the opportunity to buy fancy syrup, I reached into my spice cupboard to see what I could find. Pumpkin pie spice!

Here's my latest concoction: 1/4th tsp pumpkin pie spice in bottom of coffee cup, 1 c. Very black coffee, (my current fav, Dark Magic K-cup), 1 Tbs organic honey. Pour Goat's milk to the brim, stir and enjoy. In short, pumpkin pie spice is a delicious addition. If you don't care about calories, this would be scrumptious with a dollop of whip cream or.....two, or three dollops!

In about 10 minutes you'll feel ready to go clean out the storage room. Which is where I am headed now! I needed a lotta lattes to get me going today.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Marley the Cow Dog

Well, he's not really a cow dog but he sure thinks he is. I get a kick out of this little guy. He's supposed to be a dainty lap dog by breed but he has the heart and drive of a collie. As soon as he hears the Ranger fire up, he's up on the seat and ready to go. If he were to chase through the brambles and stickers as the Otis and Bo do, it would take until Christmas to get him clean. He is a sticker magnet!

I love that he loves me. He has no clue or sense about cows but he wants to be anywhere I am. That is THE trait I want in my dog!

Marley is adopted. His previous owner was unable to care for him. When his information came up on the screen, I had that instant flash of "he's the ONE"!

We brought home last December. My first impression was the same as nearly everyone else's.....Chewbacca! He was also quite shaggy so Bob Marley came to mind (no offense Bob, I actually like your music). Max was also a name suggestion. I let the kids pick. It took him quite awhile to adjust. He was very timid and hid (then again, I would've too with three kids all wanting to pet me!) He had a few issues with p n p (piddle n poo) but a visit to the vet and a "snip, snip" cleared that right up.

I did take a chance on the little guy and I'm glad I did. He's an excellent companion. He is my third adopted pooch. I'm a huge proponent of rescue/adoption. What's really interesting is just the year before, I was actually looking at buying a Shih Tzu, but had to decline. I had a two week old Otis to raise. (See prior posts on his story!) So when I saw Marley's info, I jumped at the chance to adopt. There are so many wonderful dogs and cats available that are ready for loving homes. If you're looking for a pet, ask around, check your local shelter or contact a rescue volunteer. My dear friend, Ann, is an excellent resource. She helped us locate our first adoptee, Myah.

Well, I'm being summoned. We're in the bottom of the canyon, driving cattle to their new home. We seem to have misplaced a cow? Of coarse she knows where she is, but we do not!

After the trying day I've had, I don't mind chilling out down here. Its calm and peaceful. I am definitely back in my element, with my fam and....Marley! And he's already proven his worth....its starting to cool down and he's keeping my lap nice and toasty!

Ever Have One of Those Days?

I'm late for an appointment. I've been waiting behind this truck for five minutes.

I find it interesting that my timing today could not be any more off. I'm rethinking my choice to get out of bed. Seriously.

It started with complications with my Verizon bill and waiting 45 minutes to get things set straight. Then I found out the carpet I've had picked out is no longer available.

Now, road construction and I'm late. I can sure tell my ki energy number is now "in the center" of the stations. This could be a long month.

Do ever have days like this? What's your best advice for keeping calm and....sane?