Bonnie, the Jersey cow

Our latest addition to the menagerie came last week in the form of a 4 yr old doe-eyed dairy bovine with fawn colored skin and a silky brown tail.  Ponderous belly swollen with her impending calf, she descended from the trailer and surveyed her domain. 







Our ten grassy acres with tall shade trees and a cool clean barn was  a far cry from her former living quarters.  Up to her knees in muck with no dry place to lay down and no shelter, her old home was not worthy of her highness.  This new place was much  more to her liking and she showed her approval by promptly diving into the fresh spring grass and shoving the Holstein bottle calves out of her way. 

Her highness becomes a bit undignified though when the whistle is sounded and the grain bucket rattled.  Her addiction to this cracked grain ambrosia causes her to throw haughtiness to the wind and come a-running, belly swinging, udder flopping, tail flying in the wind. 










Watching her coming, I had flashbacks of my third pregnancy and the sounds of the Dreyer’s coffee ice cream container opening… Let’s just say the scene was somewhat similar…

Published in: on April 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm  Comments (4)  
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Calves in the barn, calf in the laundry room…

Something about spring coming makes me want to accumulate animals, much to my husband’s chagrin!  

It must be some primal urge to mother small creatures and since we are done having children, I have to take my mothering instinct to the corral…

That sounded really weird…


Because of my primal mothering instinct, and because the milk market has just tanked,  we now have 7 Holstein bottle calves in our barn…








Well, 6 Holstein calves in the barn and one sick calf in the laundry room…








What can I say? It’s cold outside, she needs supervision and I don’t feel like walking to the barn every 15 minutes to check on her…


This is also to my husband’s chagrin… I think he is really regretting taking me to the livestock sale this morning…

It’s like walking an alcoholic into a bar and handing them the bottle opener…

But he really loves me…really, really loves me… and it doesn’t hurt that he really loves beef too…


Not a big fan of sick beef in the laundry room though!

Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 6:25 pm  Comments (3)  
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Smorgasbord is actually a Swedish word for a form of dinner buffet…

I actually thought it was spelled Smorgasborg…I was incorrect according to Google…we is not spelin so good out her on de prairie

Every time I hear this word, I always think of the rat on Charlotte’s Web, dancing his way through the fairgrounds, greedy little eyes bugging out as he surveys the glorious leftovers that the fairgoers have left behind…

Everyone sing with me…

“A fair is a veritable smorgasbord, orgasbord, orgasbord…”

Ok, I’m back…

We get the same feeling on Smorgasbord night at our house…staring into the fridge  at the veritable (I jus’ luvs that word!) feast that has been left behind…

Actually, it more involves a crazy day, me too tired to cook (no, never!), and the lack of room in the fridge for any more leftovers…

Sometime we call this leftover night, but which would you rather present to your children?

“Children, tonight we are having leftovers…”  Silence…sounds of crickets chirping…

“Children, tonight we are having SMORGASBORD!”   Cheers, confetti, dancing in the streets! 

I rest my case…

No sp004ecific criteria here- if it’s not growing green things, passes the sniff test, and is vaguely recognizable, it’s fair game…





Here we have, from left to right, Chicken chili, Noodles with Alfredo sauce, Shepherd’s Pie (in back), Mashed Potatoes, Hot Dogs and Buns…

We have had a variety of meals this past weekend…can you tell?

The fun part of Smorgasbord is the combinations that ensue when this variety is put together…

My youngest picked a hot dog and mashed potatoes…



Or “a variety of ground meat types tucked snugly in a thin pork casing, resting on a bun of whole ground wheat flavored with touch of honey and accompanied by roasted garlic and herb mashed potatoes…”

Whew!  How do those menu writers do it?  That was hard work! I had to Google synoyms for hot dog wrapper…




My next child picked mashed potatoes and noodles with Alfredo sauce- she’s a carb lover and about as thick around as a string bean- take that, you Atkins diet people!


Course, I’m a carb lover too, and I’m a little thicker than a string bean…ok, alot thicker…






My visiting child, who comes over every day after school, and is affectionately referred too as “the extra kid”, picked Shepherd pie and Alfredo noodles…


Interesting combination of beef and chicken, but it rocked his boat, so who am I argue?






My oldest child picked a hot dog and Alfredo noodles– hmm, those noodles were pretty popular…gonna have to do those again…he actually ate 4 hot dogs and 2 servings of noodles but he’s 12 and has a hollow leg…








My St Bernard… well, she picked all of it…she got…dog food…she was very disappointed…


She is giving me her most hopeful, and yet, reproving look…

If I had audio, I would play her groans, they are downright pitiful…

You can tell she is starving and horribly neglected…




Sorry honey, four hungry children do not for Smorgasbord leftovers make…

Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 10:02 am  Comments (2)  
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Cowboy Caviar

Despite the title, this dish has absolutely nothing to do with fish eggs. 

I personally don’t know any self respecting cowboy that would eat fish eggs… now calf nuts, that’s a different story…


If you know of any, please let me live in ignorance….K?

This is party food, Super bowl food, BBQ in the back yard food, and super, super easy– qualifications that make every cowboy I know swoon with joy….do cowboys swoon?  Okay, jump with joy…….


Plus, Shhh, don’t tell the cowboys, but it’s actually good for you!

Until you get deep fried pieces of corn chip and dip it in it, but you can’t be good all the time…..


The Cast of Characters


Black-eyed peas are very high in protein and give such a great flavor and texture….make sure and rinse them thoroughly to minimize those negative effects that those crazy beans can bring on…..


Course, cowboys don’t usually care too much– it’s those around them that have to put up with singeing blue flame emanating from derrieres……and the hysterical laughter….


Open both cans of black-eyed peas and dump into serving bowl. Drain corn well and add into bowl as well.  I’m using my lovely heavy pottery bowl to serve it in-don’t remember where I got it, but it’s my favorite dip bowl….








Add one can of Rotel tomatoes, undrained- I used the kind with lime juice and cilantro….



At this point,  you could add black beans as well, or chopped avocado, or anything your little heart desires…..these recipes are always open to interpretation…. we have even added cooked, chopped chicken and turned this into a salad….Yummy!




Have your 7 yr old squeeze the juice of one lime into the bowl, complete with grunting and running commentary on how tough squeezing the lime is…..


It’s not quite the same without the commentary…..but if you don’t have a 7 yr old handy, it will still taste good, I promise….


She begged me to let her help, I promise….





Finely mince cloves of garlic….I used 6 or 7, but if you don’t want to ward off vampires in your sleep, like I do, you might want to use less…… add to bowl along with loosely chopped fresh cilantro…..


Recipe actually calls for fresh parsley as well, but I didn’t have any on hand, and didn’t miss it– so if you want to save a little cash, skip the parsley….



Bowl should look like this right about now— look at those colors….it’s like a still life…..pottery with peas…..Ok, maybe not….








Stir well, sprinkle in a little kosher salt to taste, maybe a little pepper if you are feeling adventurous…..



And serve with crisp, crunchy chips….I just ate half a bowl of this and looking at it still makes my mouth water…..



Course, if you are trying to do New Years Resolutions, like I so diligently am… (ha, ha, ha, he, he, he, ha, ha…*wipes eyes*…ok, I’m back now) you can serve this with veggies to dip it out with, or even all by it’s little lonesome self….

But I promise you, those cowboys will not be near as happy……



If you would like to see a different variation on this recipe, check out Pioneer Woman’s blog under Cooking

Warm fire, Hot coffee, Comfy couch….

There is nothing I like better in the winter than a warm fire, a comfy couch and a hot cup of coffee. 

This is because I have usually just spent a significant chunk of time in the freezing wind and horizontal snow, breaking ice in water troughs, pitching hay, fixing fence, feeding chickens, etc….

I know, I know- I have your full sympathy…..Thank God for laptops or I would never get anything done…..

This is my nesting time of year….the time to get paperwork done, to seach for supplies for the next spring, to maybe squeeze in reading a good book or too…Spring, summer and fall are so busy and hectic– this is our time to renew and refresh–


Storm 06

This is normally the winter scene from my kitchen window–except for this year, which has been unusually dry– still brutally cold though….

This was our first winter storm on the prairie two years ago…..Wow, were we ever in shock and awe!



But, alas, the fire does not magically appear in my hearth with the flick of a switch, and as much as I think that I would appreciate the convenience, there is just something lost in the experience. 

There would be no ash to empty, smoke in the house, sawdust on the floor, boxes of newspaper waiting to burn, ash on the floor, smoke in the living room, embers on the floor–


Wait, how does that switch fireplace work again?!?


Unfortunately, here on the prairie, trees are not quite as plentiful as they are in other places and we must make the pilgrimage 30 miles southeast to our friend’s house…..he has a dead forest in his back pa080sture and could hardly contain his glee when we asked if we could come and cut wood….


The tradeoff for a warm house is worth the free pasture clearing that he receives in return– plus, we buy hay from him too…

 I did think the back flip and jumping jacks were a bit over the top, though…..


 (I love this shot….for reasons I won’t go into now….suffice it to say, my man can do anything!)


And, it’s character building for our kids…..I can’t wait til they get to college….

I can just picture them sitting in their dorm room with their new roommate….

“What?!?!? You didn’t have to cut wood to keep your house warm?  You got to sit around and play Wii all day?  Whats a Wii?  You didn’t have to pitch hay to your horses when it was 5 degrees below zero?!?  You didn’t have to scoop pig poop outta your barn on 100 degree days?!?  I gotta call my mom!”





Look at them… innocent, so unaware, so happy…..


They are soooo gonna need therapy…….. we don’t have a college fund, we have a therapy fund….





The results of a hard days work– wish it lasted more than two weeks– but hey, for two weeks I have that enclosed porch I’ve always wished for!








The pay008off for a hard days work….. in addition to the above mentioned warm fire, hot coffee and comfy couch…..

8 Maids a Milking….



I had the honor of being asked to guest post on Zany Life + Crazy Faith as part of a series titled

 “The 12 days of Christmas”

Guess what day the Prairie rancher girl was? 

Yup, you guessed it…..8 maids a milking……

Check it out!

A Few of my Favorite Things….


For some reason, the song ” A Few of my Favorite things” from The Sound of Music, has been running through my head, non stop, for three days…..


Don’t know if it’s the season or hormones, but I decided the only cure was to share some of my favorite things….


If the song gets stuck in your head, maybe it will get out of mine…. not that it’s such a bad song, but come on, three days?!?!




My girls, my sisters, my friends…. ladies, what would we do without girlfriends?? 

We’d probably go postal alot sooner!!




 My little punks…. Man, I’m crazy about these kids… they are pretending to be city kids in CA….. they only look normal….

The look on my little ones face?

Yeah, that’s normal….for her anyway….she lives in purple fairyland where it’s all rainbows and dewdrops…..Honey, can I come too?











The view from our arena— I would love to take credit for this picture, but I can’t–

My litt100_0221le Kodak camera cannot keep up with my punk little sister’s Nikon d40— hence, my coveting for which I have to repent on a daily basis…


But this is part of our crazy herd…they love kicking their heels up after a good rain…I love watching them run…







 And last, budsc_0019t NOT least, my handsome husband… chaps……pardon me while I go and take a cold shower…..












Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

christmas-ornaments-044Do you want to be able to give your friends and family a handmade gift that will last for years to come?


Do you want every pore of your furniture, your walls, your skin and your dog to smell like cinnamon for days and days on end?

Do you want to do something fun with your kids that leaves lasting memories and is almost free?

Did I mention that you will smell like cinnamon?
Keep Reading…..

Fluffy Buttermilk Waffles

hay-auction-waffles-011You can have them for breakfast and make extra for the next week-

They freeze well too-

Here under Cooking with Loving Hands

Jack is missing….

rainbow-018-2Story here…..


We miss you, Jack–Come home soon…

Published in: on November 19, 2008 at 10:25 am  Comments (2)  
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