Today Dan the Man had to report for jury duty. This really puts a wrench in our operations here on the farm. We are just getting ready to get corn harvest underway. We have had such weird weather that the fields have been too wet to get into and the corn was not dried down enough to get started. Now that the conditions are perfect, Dan the Man is called for jury duty. Go figure.
He actually was called earlier this spring right during planting time so he was able to get his jury duty postponed until November. We are really hoping to get all the corn up before our vacation to Japan. We are going to spend Christmas with our oldest son, Nick, who is stationed there at Yakota Air Force Base. We leave in less than 4 weeks. With God's help we'll get everything done in time.
Dan the Man left me a simple list of chores to do today since I am the one left to run the place on my own. I'm praying that he does not get selected for this trail but my hopes are growing dim since he has not come home yet. If he wasn't so stubborn and would get a cell phone he could have called me at lunch and let me know what was going on.
Anyway, the list, like I said, was pretty simple, which was a good thing since I myself had to go into town for a doctor's appointment. And since I had spent more time on the computer before I got started with the chores, I was going to have to hurry to get done in time to make it to my appointment in time.
1. Feed the steers. Check, no problem.
2. Run the naughty cows (who keep insisting on getting into the corn) back in where they belong down on the creek. Better hurry and get down there since I still need to get into the shower, shouldn't take long. Get on the four wheeler and take off towards the creek. WHOA, who put that electric wire across the road!! Someone could "clothes-line" themselves with that if they are not careful. It's not even flagged or anything. Oh yeah, I put that there and that was on MY list of things to do. Wow, that was stupid, wonder if anyone saw me do that??
Now I need to add "fix the gate handle", that I just broke, to the list along with "mark the wire with something" so people don't run through it! When I got down to the creek I didn't see any cows out, so I drove the four wheeler all the way around the corn field looking for them. Sure did seem to be steering kind of weird, like it had a mind of it's own! After driving all the way around the corn field and seeing no cattle I assume they must have let themselves back into the pasture they are suppose to be in. What good girls they are!
2. Run the cows back in. Check
When I got back to the shop, I realized the reason the four wheeler was steering like "it had a mind of it's own" was because that is how it steers when the front wheel is flat. Oops! You have got to be kidding me!
Add "fill front tire (before Dan the Man finds out that I drove on it) with air" to list. Oh great, my list is getting longer and I still need to shower! I still have a little time I can do this.
2a. Fix the gate handle. 2b. Flag the wire. 2c. Fill the tire with air.
Time to take shower and fly into town. As I cross the creek on the highway, I see three cows in the corn. I'll have to take care of them when I get home.
2. Run the cows back in. UNCHECK
3. Fill the stock tank. Check
Got to the appointment at the exact time of the appointment. Got in trouble with doctor for not taking my meds like I should so now I have to go back in three months to test again. I tried to tell her my whole bathroom routine which includes taking my pills was interrupted due to the bathroom remodel. She wasn't very compassionate and told me that was not a very good excuse! LOL! Don't get me wrong, I love my doc and she is the best!
Back home to finish up Dan the Man's list.
So I took the four wheeler back down to the creek and ran the naughty girls back in. They must have known I meant business because they were waiting at the gate for me. They probably knew I was serious by the way I was flying down there on the four wheeler!
2. Run the cows back in. Check
4. Take corn sample into the elevator to get the moisture checked. The conversation with the elevator guy went something like this. I'm sure he is still rolling his eyes and feeling sorry for Dan the Man.
"Can you test this corn for me?" I hand over a whole big coffee can of the corn to the elevator guy. He dumps about a handful into his machine. (Why did Dan the Man tell me to take a whole coffee can when it only takes a handful? Now I feel a little stupid, oh well, not the first time nor will it be the last time!)
"It's 14.7" says the elevator guy.
"Is that good?"
"It's ok. What kind of truck do you have?"
"Uhhh, what do you mean?"
"How big is it?"
"Uhhh, I don't know, it's a farm truck, not a semi." (Is that what he wanted to know? and what does it matter what kind of truck we have?)
"How big is the box?"
"Duhh, I don't know, it's not much bigger than that one, I think, well, I'm not quite sure."
"How does it dump?"
"Hmmm, (all I know is that you push this knob under the steering wheel and it lifts up the box) there is a little door at the back that opens."
"Does the whole gate dump?"
"Ummm, I think so..."
Then he explains to me that the reason he is asking is because the only space they have left for corn is in a building that the trucks have to be small enough to fit into and still be able to dump. I tell him I'm kind of new at this and don't know a whole lot. I'm sure he already had that one figured out on his own. Then I told him I was Dan the Man's wife. Oh, he had already talked to Dan the Man and they had already established that Dan could take his corn there. Then I had to remind him that Dan the Man was doing his civic duty and we weren't sure when we were going to start hauling the corn. Dan the Man just wanted to make sure that the moisture wasn't too high. I spared the poor guy by not telling him that I would probably be the one driving the truck and bringing the corn!! LOL!
So we'll see how the rest of the week goes with me "running" the place! LOL!! Hopefully Dan the Man will not get chosen for this trial! I'll keep you posted! Time to get started on the nightly chores!
Just wanted to let you all know that I haven't posted anything these last couple of days because I am having troubles with uploading a video to YouTube! Ugh, I've been beating my head against the keyboard trying to figure out what is wrong. Why is it you can do something successfully several time and then all of the sudden what you have been doing doesn't work? I just don't get it. I've done all my videos exactly the same way from day one. Now all the sudden I have one that just won't upload. I've followed all the recommendations for trouble shooting and to no avail!
But, not being a quitter, I will and must push on. I WILL figure this out. I MUST figure this out because I want to do a special video for my family for Thanksgiving! If you read this and are the praying type, please pray that I will figure this out. I know it seems minute and perhaps ridiculous to make such a prayer request, but I need help and am getting no where by myself.
Okay people, you asked for it, now you are going to get it!
HOW TO CUT UP A CHICKEN!! Yee-Haw!
Why is it that our mothers thought that we didn't need to know how to do this? I know that my mother never taught me how to cut up a chicken. My stepfather taught me how to change a flat tire, but no chicken lessons from mom. Who did she think was going to teach me, my husband?! Ha, Ha! I'm sure she knew how to cut one up, so there was no excuse to not share this vital bit of kitchen knowledge with me. Too bad she isn't still with us or I would "grill" her over this matter. LOL!
First of all you need a fine specimen like this here Farm Fresh Pastured Poultry from the Open A Bar 2 Ranch. I hear these are the best chickens in the world, LOL!! Second, the chicken should be thawed, not frozen, of course. AND third, a sharp knife is key, not a little paring knife, but a big one that will get the job done, like a chef knife.
I did some extensive research on my favorite how-to source, YouTube! No kidding, need to know how to do something, search for it on YouTube. I found these two videos and lots more, but I liked the tips that each one of these offered. The first one is kind-of long so if you are in a hurry, your chicken is sitting in the sink and dinner has to be ready in less than 30 minutes, you'd better skip it until later and watch the second one. If you are just killing time, watch them both.
PS. I wanted you to notice how tiny and gross looking the chicken is in the second video. The skin is really yellow as well. Not at all like our nice big chickens with beautiful healthy looking skin!
And finally if you want to print something for future reference, click on the picture below and print it, Ctrl+P. After you are done printing it, hit your browser back button to return to the blog.
I made these muffins the other day and they were delicious! Can you tell that I like making muffins?! Make sure to make a double batch of these muffins so you can share some with someone you appreciate, could be a teacher, mail carrier, paper deliverer, or the school crossing guard. Enclose a note that says "Hope these sweeten your day! Thank you for all you do, you are truly appreciated." Children love being able to take something special to their teachers so not only will you brighten the teacher's day but you will also make your child feel special!
I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and it was submitted by Taste of Home's Fast Family Favorites.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped peeled apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons cold butter or margarine
(You know me, can't leave well enough alone, so I added about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans to the batter.)
In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
Not a whole lot going on around the farm today. It's snowing and it is very wet outside. Danny doesn't feel all that well, so we are just taking it easy and hanging out in the house. I thought I would throw together a little video of Whitey my Leg Horn rooster and his girls, the egg layers. I shot this video in October but never had the time to do anything with it. Several of you have told me that your kids really like the videos, so I'm posting this one for the kids. Maybe I can start a little series starring Whitey and the Egg Layers! We'll see how that develops. Hope your kid-o's like this video!
Remember that you can leave comments now. You may have to chose the anonymous option, but you can always include your name in your comment.
Well, I think we finally have most of the fence repaired after the escaped calves episode from my last post. Today we vaccinated our calves and banded the bull calves. We also turned the calves out to pasture. Hopefully, they will stay in and not get out!
The other day I had some bananas that we starting to turn brown so I decided that I better do something with them so I made muffins. I made this muffin recipe a couple of times this summer for the Farmer's Market and sold out every time I made them.
Did you know that you can freeze bananas if you don't have time to make some thing with them before they go bad? I do it all the time. Just peel the bananas and put them in a ziplock freezer bag then freeze them. They keep for several months and when you need bananas for a recipe, just take them out of the freezer and thaw them in the microwave and they are ready to use.
Kelly, this is the recipe for those muffins you liked so well at the Farmer's Market. If you like coffee and chocolate like my friend Kelly and I do, then you'll love these. I got this recipe from allrecipes.com and they were submitted by Shelley Ross.
Mocha Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
1 cup margarine
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules, dissolved in
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Blend butter or margarine, sugar, egg, banana, dissolved coffee, and vanilla in food processor for 2 minutes. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and soda, and blend just until flour disappears. Add chocolate chips and mix in with wooden spoon. Spoon mixture into 15 to 18 paper-lined muffin cups.
Bake for 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
I LOVE coffee, so I used 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water.
Personal note to self: Never say, "not much is happening around here" it only invites trouble which in turn creates an abundance of work!
I guess this is what I get for starting my last post with... "not much is happening around here."
The "trouble" arrived around 2:00 am on Saturday morning. Danny and I were snoozing quite comfortably in our warm toasty bed when Danny all of the sudden bolted upright in bed. I thought he was having one of his dreams, like the irrigating dream, where he tries to set irrigation tubes in bed, or the wolf dream when he actually growls like a wolf trying to frighten away coyotes! He has some pretty imaginative dreams sometimes which can be rather comical at times! But this time he wasn't dreaming, he had heard cattle bawling and thought that it was our cattle. On Thursday, we moved the cattle we had down on the creek, to a field just to the north the house. Danny thought that the cows had broke down the electric wire and were on the loose.
So he jumped out of bed and ran to look out the bedroom window. Through the darkness of the night and what little light there was from the moon, he could see cattle moving down the road heading south. "Get up! The cows are all headed down the road!" Not my idea of a wake up call! Who wants to get up at 2:00 am, get dressed and go chase cows around in the dark? Not me, that's for sure, but it's not a job that one person can easily manage in the day light, let alone in the dark and this is suppose to be a team operation, not a one man business (for better, for worse!) So I jump, well, it was more of an unwilling roll, out of bed and throw on my jeans and a sweatshirt over my jammies.
Danny instructs me to go close gates while he jumps in the pickup truck and heads south down the road after the cows. On my way to closing the gates, I see a few cattle in the field south of house, where cows are not suppose to be. After I get the gates closed, I run into the shop to fetch a spot light so I can see the ear tags of the cows in the field south of the house so I can tell which cows they are. Just about as I am reaching the cows south of the house, Danny is coming back in the pickup. He finds me and tells me that the cows headed down the road are NOT our cows, but a bunch of calves. We shine the spot light on the cows I spotted and find out that these ARE our cows but there are only two of them. We herd these two cows back to the field where they are suppose to be and check out who is all in this field.
Thankfully, it was a mild night and not very cold. After scoping out the field, we find that as far as we can tell (in the dark,) that all of our cattle seem to be there. That was a huge relief! We were still a little worried on the other hand because of all the calves that were on the loose. Sometimes if you have a group of unsettled cows running around, they will get everyone fired-up and we didn't want our cows to get fired-up. Danny figured that these calves had just been weaned and were looking for their mothers. This is one of the reasons we do the cross-fence weaning like I talked about in an earlier post. The calves are not totally separated from their mothers, they are just placed on the other side of the corral and can still see their mothers so chances are that if the calves do get out, they won't be going very far.
There wasn't much else we could do at this point and it was now around 3:00 am. The calves continued to wander around our place bawling and our cows were bawling right back at them, so it wasn't a peaceful night which made it extremely hard to fall back asleep. Just as we were starting to fall back asleep, my alarm went off at 5:00 am. Ugh, why didn't I turn that thing off? Danny is "slightly" irritated with me as he is letting me know that he was just starting to fall asleep. A couple of minutes later, the phone rings. I jump out of bed to answer it and it is one of our neighbors wanting to know if we had cattle out because he was on his way somewhere and saw some on the highway by our house. I told him I didn't think that they were ours, but would go check it out. So once again, I crawl out of bed and get dressed, get in the pickup and drive up to the highway. I didn't see any cattle on the way to the highway so I turn and head east for 1/2 a mile, no cows, so I turn around and head west and go a 1/2 mile or so past our road. No cows there either. So I turn around and head back home and as I get to the turn off to our road, there is a large group of calves coming down our road again, this time headed north.
When I got back home it seemed like there sure was a lot of bawling going on all around our place so I decided to get on the four wheeler and drive it around to make sure that our cows were still contained and also to see how many calves were on our place and where they all were. It was getting a little closer to daylight, so I could see things a little more clearly. I found that our cows were still where they were suppose to be and that there were calves scattered all over our place. The calves were also pretty wild and didn't let me get very close to them before they would start running away from me.
By the time I got back to the house it was close to 6:00 am. I hadn't been in the house for very long when the phone rang. This time it was another neighbor who ran a paper route and said that they had seen cattle on the highway by our house. I reassured them that it was not our cattle and thanked them for their concern. By this time, Danny was ready to get out of bed. We thought we might know who the calves belonged to so we called a neighbor to the north and asked if they had weaned some calves recently or if they might be missing some calves. I guess that they had brought in a load of calves late, like 11:30 pm, that night and some of the calves had gotten away from them and yes, the calves were theirs.
I was relieved that we had located the owners and they assured me that they had riders with horses coming over at daylight to start rounding them up. Danny had to get his chores done and go bale the last of our hay while the moisture was up so he could not wait for the guys to show up to get the calves so I would have to be in charge of getting them off our place.
Well, we finally had them all rounded up with the help of pickup trucks, the four wheeler and a couple of cowboys on horses by 11:00 am. We herded all the calves (except for one renegade who had to be roped later by a cowboy on a horse) into our corral with our cows. After we got all our cows sorted off from the calves, we were able to load the calves on a trailer and haul them back home. Whew, what a job. It went smooth, but it was just time consuming. By the time that was all done, I had a splitting head ache and was tired from lack of sleep and hungry since it was lunch time. The neighbor has told me that they had lost about 40-50 calves. We ended up only gathering 15 from our place. I have no idea where the rest ended up.
Danny got home shortly after the calves were loaded and everyone had gone home. After lunch we began the process of getting our place back in order. I think that every fence we had on our place had been broke somewhere by the calves. I already had been working on the fences all through the week and some places that I had repaired already, the little stinky calves had destroyed. We worked repairing the fences until dark. Then today we spent most of the day finishing up the fences.
I do want to mention that the neighbor apologized several times and thanked us for all our help in getting the calves back and also offered to help fix all the fence, but we told him that we could handle it on our own. Of course we told him we could do it ourselves before we had assessed all the damage! He also came back later on Saturday and told us that all the calves had been recovered except for one.
Not a whole lot going on out here on the ranch this week. Danny has been trying to get the last of our hay baled and I've been putting up electric fence and trying to finish our bathroom remodel. The weather has been fantastic this week, compared to last week. That is the thing about living in Western Nebraska. They say that if you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it will change. We had temperatures in the 60's and wind. Warmer weather almost always means there will be wind.
Today one of my chicken customers, actually the one who suggested that I start this blog, came out to pick up her chickens. We were talking and she reminded me of this funny story that I had told her and I thought that I would share it with you.
If you don't know by now, I do love cats. I wouldn't say I am a crazy old woman with a gazillion cats, but we do have 6 cats, that's another story for another day.
When we moved here Danny had two dogs who I got tired of letting in and out of the house every time I turned around, so we eventually installed a "dog door" in the back door. People always warned us to be careful with that dog door. Several warned us, "Wild animals might come in." I worried that perhaps a raccoon or worse yet, a skunk would decide to come for a visit through the door dog. But nothing ever did. Time passed and so did the dogs but we left the dog door in the door because the cats used it and it was convenient for them and for us. On occasion we had a couple of children use the door! And a couple of times, our neighbor's cat, who I think was sweet on my cats, came to visit a couple of times, but every time he came he would announce his visitation with loud meows. He was a real sweetheart but after the second time of me having to drive him home, he never came back to call on my girls.
But there was this one time... hence the title of this blog, when something WILD did make it through the door. It was around 5:30 am and I had been awake for about 15 minutes and was just getting into my morning routine. I still had sleep in my eyes, a cup of coffee in my hand and was just sitting down at the computer in my jammies and slippers for a little "me" time before anyone else woke up. I always enjoy this time of the morning, it's quite, still dark outside and everyone else is still sawing logs in their beds, including the cats.
All of the sudden, I hear something weird going on in the hall by the back door. I didn't think it was one of our cats, because they were all still in bed. So I get up from the computer and go to the hallway to check it out. Mind you that it is dark outside and dark in the hallway and the light switch is by the door. It took me a split second to realize that there was a cat in the hallway, not one of my cats, and it was jumping around like a drunk kangaroo, jumping as high as the ceiling. At first I thought it was the neighbor's cat, but he had never acted like that before! Then I realized that this must be a wild cat which can not figure out how he got in the house or even worse, how to get out of the house!
Since it was dark in the hallway, the cat could not see the dog door and was grasping for any straw as to how to get the heck out of the house. I stood there for a few minutes wondering what in the world I was going to do while the cat continued to scale the wall like I have never seen a cat do. How could I get to the door to open it or even turn the light switch on? This cat was going bazzirk! I yelled for Danny, but he was sound asleep and couldn't figure out what I was yelling about. He wasn't about to get out of bed, it was way too early for him to rise or shine!
Me yelling for Danny, or anybody to help, only freaked the cat out more! I decided what I needed was some protection from this possessed demon cat so I ran for the broom. As I left the hallway, the cat followed me into the kitchen. The next thing I knew, the cat had jumped up on top of the kitchen cabinets where I have my chicken collection displayed. There are ceramic pieces up there, tins, boxes, books and tons more junk. Picture if you would, the crazy cat up there, trying to get away having to navigate among all this stuff and not caring if he broke anything or not! All I could do was watch him scramble from one collectible to the other all the way across the row of cabinets. After what seemed an eternity, he finally jumped down and I ran after him with the broom.
The cat then ran into the bathroom that the boys use. Now picture this... he jumps on the counter which is full of the boys' bathroom stuff, toothpaste, shaving cream, a basket full of bathroom essentials, q-tips and other miscellaneous things. The cat is "spinning out" on the counter and the things on the counter are crashing to the floor. No way was I going to enter into that room while the cat was in there. So I had to stand helplessly in the hallway and wait for him to come out. When he did he saw me and then ran into Skyler's room. I yelled at Skyler to take cover under his covers so he pulled up his blankets and hid under his bedding. The cat of course saw the closet and made a beeline for it and the top shelf. Now this is a walk-in closet, but you couldn't have paid me a million dollars to walk in to that closet with that cat in there.
By this time, everyone is awake and wanting to know what the heck is going on but no one wants to get out of bed to help! Danny yells from the safety of our bed to open all the doors so the cat can run outside. Oh, good idea, now why didn't I think of that, besides for the fact that I was scared half to death and couldn't think! I run to open all the doors and hope that the cat "stays put" until I have them open. After opening the doors I am now standing in the doorway of the closet with my broom in my hand. After saying a prayer and asking the Lord for protection from this wild cat, I get up enough nerve to poke the broom at the cat. I don't know how many times I poked at him but he finally jumped out of the closet. I'm not quite sure what happened next, I think I had my eyes closed in case the cat decided to jump on my head, but the cat must have jumped down, ran out of the room and out the back door.
Crazy!! I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was happening I can tell you it was no laughing matter! And yes, we still have the dog door... for our cats!
Here's my favorite picture of some our cats when they were kittens!
(as always, click on the photo for a full screen view, use the back button of your browser to return to the blog)
Wish I would have realized last night, Monday the 2nd, that it was a Harvest Moon! But I caught it tonight. I need to do some reading up on my camera about night photography. My old camera, you know the ones that require film, would have captured this moon beautifully! I need to dig that camera out. Actually, it's been so long since I've used it, I don't even know if the stores still sell film! Surely they do, don't they?
Here's a nice quote I found. I was looking for one concerning the harvest.
“The harvest of old age is the recollection and abundance of blessing previously secured.” -Marcus Tullius Cicero
not really! I am so blessed to be living the life that I am right now.
Check out the video I made of my day.
Also, I read some where that if you burn a candle while you chop an onion, it will not make you cry, so I tried it tonight when I made dinner. I usually "bawl" when I cut onions and with the candle burning there was just a tiny amount of stinging, but not a single tear! So... try it yourself and see what results you get. Also another tip for the onion smell on your hands, rub your hands on your stainless steel sink to remove the odor. No kidding, this works!
I found this in an email someone sent me this week. I thought it was cool and wanted to share it with you.
THIS IS PRETTY NEAT, Place your mouse on the E below and drag to the U.
Even though you can't see Him, GOD is there for yoU When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!
On Saturday, I was invited to attend the Panhandle Women's Conference, a Christian Woman's Retreat. Wow, what a treat. I always love these things. If you have never taken the time to attend something like this, I strongly urge you to make time. You will not be disappointed that you did, I promise.
The speaker was Annie Chapman, a charming and funny woman from Nashville Tennessee. She was a wonderful speaker and really had a great message to share through stories and song. I could have listened to her for several days!
One of the things she shared with us is how much Jesus loves each one of us. Even when we are facing difficult times, the death of a loved one, an unexpected sickness, difficulties with our jobs, trouble with our spouses and feel like God just isn't there, we must remember that He is! We just have to be looking for Him, praying to Him, worshipping Him, reading His Word and obeying Him.
I love this band and this song. Maybe you need to know today that Jesus is there for you, no matter what you are going through or no matter what you have done.
I grew up in a small Western Nebraska town, Mitchell. My stepfather was a piano tuner and my mother was a legal secretary. I feel like I grew up under normal circumstances, what ever normal is!
I have lived several places and have held many different occupations from my first job, working at a doggie grooming salon, to fast food joints, waitressing at a country club to family diners, ski lift operator, administrative assistant, restaurant manager, piano tuner, bank teller, para for SPED kids in junior high school, construction worker, to my husband's hired hand.
My husband and I married in 1996 and have four boys. Nick who is currently stationed at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, serving our country in the United States Airforce, Colton who is currently attending South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Chris who lives in Kearney and works for Charter Communications and finally Skyler who is a senior at Morrill High School. We own and operate our own family run business, Open A Bar 2 Ranch, LLC which is an all natural beef operation and a pastured poultry operation.